Tourism and Lands Minister Harin Fernando addressing the gathering. Also pictured are Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Chalaka Gajabahu, SLAITO President Nishad Wijetunga, Thilak Weerasinghe, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Priantha Fernando, and Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management Chairman Shirantha Peiris. Picture by Bandula Allahakoon.
The government was mooting strategy to provide the required fuel and energy requirements of the hospitality industry, asserted Tourism and Lands Minister Harin Fernando addressing the SLAITO AGM held last Friday in Colombo.
Right now, the government needed USD 1.8 billion to survive the next three months which it did not have and the situation was such that if one took a risk in this situation, it could go either way, go positive with more chances for it to go negative.
However, the minister said there were a lot of positives around them, particularly with G7 countries and the UK willing to lend a helping hand.
Fernando said he had a very interesting meeting with Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera where he had spoken about the fuel and electricity issues which was much concern to all tourism stakeholders and expressed his confidence that they could pull the energy issue through.
The Minister said they would come out with a plan to overcome the fuel requirements of the hospitality trade and for that, they would request two to three locations in the country as fuel stations for the Tourism Ministry to have sufficient fuel loads.
He however said that initiative would take time and until such time they would assess the immediate litre requirements district wise and inform the tourism stakeholders how the operation would start to work for generators he said there was some good news as the Electricity Board would try not to cut supply at least for a few months.
Meanwhile, as the Land Minister, Fernando said that they were working with a few companies and had discussions with one of the biggest companies in China to generate power within three months. The required land would be leased out to them and on the government’s part, there would be no investment.
He also promised to provide government lands adjoining hotels for solar generation projects in those respective hotels.