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Sri Lanka to support small hoteliers

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourism authority wants to support small tourist property owners as part of plans to expand the island’s room capacity to cater to a steady increase in the number of visitors, an official said.

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority chairman Paddy Withana said the government will provide financial support and training for product development.

“We are looking at supporting smaller properties,” he told a news conference. “We’re providing training and have introduced regulations to bring smaller properties up to standard.”

The authorities are looking to support small properties of 10-20 rooms as bigger projects take time to build.

The island received almost 2.1 million tourists in 2016, below the target of 2.2 million, and has set a target of 2.5 million in 2017 and four million by 2020.

But existing room inventory is calculated to be inadequate to cater to the anticipated influx of visitors although several new hotels have just opened or are being built, including those by international chains.
Vithana said the tourist industry is one of the top foreign exchange earners and can have an impact throughout the economy, supporting employment generation as well as supply chains.
Janaka Sugathadasa, Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism Development, said the Treasury has allocated Rs500 million this year for an interest subsidy and tourist hotels which took loans to expand their facilities in 2016 are eligible to apply.
(COLOMBO, Jan 07, 2016)

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