ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will issue soft-liquor licenses to tourist hotels and restaurants under rules issued by President Ranil Wickremesinghe as Finance Minister, in a boost to tourism sector and government revenues.
The new rules are effective from July 28.
The beer and wine license will be issued by the Department of Excise following a recommendation from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority to hotels and eating places in identified tourist areas.
Under the license which is priced at 25,000 rupees, has to be renewed annually and only beer and wine sales to be consumed within the premises.
It is part of a ‘flexible strategic’ move to boost the tourism sector, a gazette notice said.
The relaxation will also boost government revenues from tourism with easier access to alcohol as well as revenues of smaller hotels and restaurants, analysts say.
The license will be voided if the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority approval is revoked.
Star class hotels, boutique hotels, historic hotels, tourist hotels, tourist guest houses, tourist hostels, tourist bungalows, camp sites, tourist restaurants and food courts will be issued the license.
They will be prohibited on selling on full moon poya days continuing a practice started by ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
After 2015 Sri Lanka steeply raised alcohol licenses putting many small businesses in difficultly.
In most East Asian nations beer is freely available to tourists. (Colombo/July29/2022)