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MRR, only a temporary measure – SLTDA Chief

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The Minimum Room Rate (MRR) implemented among Colombo city hotels is only a “temporary measure” to boost up room rates, said Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Priantha Fernando in Colombo

“It will be taken off as soon as the city hotels room rates increase to a higher rate and tourists are comfortable with it,” he told Sunday Observer Business.

Top three source markets for Sri Lanka tourism

He, however, admitted that due to the implementation of the MRR there is a drop in City Hotels occupancies by around 30%. “However, due to the higher price they receive due to the MRR the hotels are compensated and do not lose out.” Asked if the MRR would have a negative impact on the foreign conference and banquet market he said that they have come up with a solution to this. “We have given authorisation for MICE groups to be given a 20% discount from the current rates.”

The destination marketing companies who bring in tourists to Colombo too could recieve a 10% discount on the room rate.

He said that due to some administrative issues with the Department of Immigration the ‘Free Visa on arrival’ policy implication for seven countries (India, China, Russia, Japan, Malaysia Indonesia and Thailand) will only be implemented from November 7.

He said that Sri Lanka will lose out on visa fee collection but it would be compensated by a higher number of arrivals.

Asked as to why Europe was not offered this free visa he said that European based tourists are not keen on the free visa but look out for a safer country sans any negative travel advisories.

He said that Sri Lanka tourism is bouncing back sooner than expected and they have received the arrival targets for 2023 end from 1.5 million to 1.7 million. “We have also observed that 14 airlines that backed out during the C-19 pandemic and during the economic crisis have resumed their flights back to Sri Lanka.”

The month of October attracted 109,199 tourists and up to the end of October the total number of tourists stood at 1,125,455. Excluding May (87309) all the other months had over 100,000 arrivals.

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