This follows Finance Minister Rajapaksa meeting representatives of the hotels, travel agents and airline industries individually on Friday on how they could promote the leisure industry.
India is Sri Lanka’s largest tourism market and the government should promote Indian tourists here as they should bring in large numbers, the Chairman of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) Sanath Ukwatte has told Minister Rajapaksa at a meeting on Friday.
He had also implored the Minister to create international awareness about the Covid vaccination program which is deemed among the best in the world, among the 21 countries which have placed Sri Lanka on the Red List, which will bring tourists in large numbers to Sri Lanka.
He said that the recently introduced incentives for the “summer season” would also serve as an incentive to upgrade the industry.
The Hotels Association Chief had also requested the Minister to continue with the debt restructuring program and to also effect the statutory changes which will exempt VAT from the tourism industry as it is an export- status industry.
Among some of the other requests that the hoteliers have made have been: the exemption of interest on the outstanding bills to the Ceylon Electricity Board for a period of three years and to have other industrial levies similar to other industries, to have one bar license ( a consolidated license) even for hotels which have multiple bars.
The hoteliers have also proposed to do away with discriminatory taxes which have been levied all this time. The minister has proposed that a Joint Cabinet Memorandum be prepared by the Ministries of Tourism and Local Government.
There has also been a proposal for the hotels also to be taxed at the same rate as the other industries as well.