World Tourism Day brings hope of hospitality industry revival in Lanka
Sri Lanka possesses a high level of biodiversity with long coast lines and wildlife resources and is one of the best surf destinations in the world. Arugambay in the East Coast is listed at No.8 in Lonely Planet’s best in Asia. Its rich history also attracts a high number of tourists for heritage tourism involving visiting historical sites.
President Chamber of Tourism Industry Sri Lanka, A.M.Jaufer
Besides the world heritage sites the Government of Sri Lanka has declared a number of archeological protected sites and monuments within the country. Being one of the largest producers of tea in the world Sri Lanka is best known for the production of unorthodox tea.
Sri Lanka has 15 Tourism Zones and presently the SLTDA is reviewing the system to introduce new zones to the list. This will pave the way to provide necessary infrastructure for a sustainable development of the industry. Development of Colombo port city is expected to provide luxury accommodation with residential towers and an up market shopping mall coming up.
“However at present there are 3 million people who are dependent on tourism and the Chamber of tourism industry is looking for funding assistance for most of them,” said President Chamber of Tourism Industry Sri Lanka, A.M.Jaufer.
Tourist hotels around the island are the biggest hit due to the outbreak. A moratorium on loan and vehicle leasing payments was given to the tourism sector for one year. Since there has not been any improvement in the industry it is suggested that the moratorium be extended for a further one year.”
“Although there was reliefs given in capital payments the banks have been charging interest payments. The Tourism Industry has been paying an interest rate from 9% to 15% and it is suggested to totally remove interest payments or to reduce interest rates to 4%.”Tour Guides and Tourist Drivers were given a relief package as a onetime payment of Rs.20,000 and 15,000 respectively, since there has been no tourist business happening we would like to suggest the same payment to be continued for another six months till the tourism industry resumes operations.Consideration should be given to assist indirect suppliers to the Travel Industry such as suppliers to hotels, those engaged in Eco tourism, Adventure Tourism, manufacturers of handicrafts etc. “We also suggest the government introduce a pension scheme for the tourist service providers and Employees in the tourism sector to be insured for all sickness including all pandemic such as C-19. Tourist hotels around the island are the biggest hit due to the outbreak and a special loan scheme at 4% interest needs to be introduced for SMEs engaged in the Tourism Industry. Foreign Investors who are interested in tourism investment in Sri Lanka should be granted attractive tax concessions and duty concessions.He also suggested providing beach cleaning equipment to local authorities in Tourism areas and fully equipped fire brigades to local authorities in tourism areas.”“All booking engines commission too must reduce fees till the industry picks up and set up a C-19 hardship fund to assist tourist service providers who have lost their livelihood income.
Current overview of Sri Lanka Tourism
Registered Accommodation in Sri Lanka up to December 31 2019, Number of Establishments 2620. Number of rooms 40,365.
In addition to 407 hotel projects in final approval for construction of 20,951 rooms. Total investment value USD 3,781.5 million.
There are approximately 40,000 rooms not registered with SLTD unclassified including the informal sector. 5 star hotels 26, 4 star hotels 24, 3 stars hotels 26, 2 stars hotels 41, 1 star 38, Guest House 1,050, Heritage bungalow 4, Heritage Home 3, Home Stay 548, Hostel 10, Rented Apartment 70, Rented Home 5, Tourist Hotel unclassified 233, On this classified tourist hotel (1-5 Star) the highest inventory of 14,093 rooms, Restaurant 487.
All hotels 356.