Tourism sector of Sri Lanka has been severely impacted due to the worsening economic crisis, out-of-control fuel prices and power cuts in the island nation. Post pandemic, the sector is going to see its most vulnerable phase now as many tourists are returning back to their countries due to the economic uncertainty. Due to this, hotel occupancy in the island nation has fallen massively.
Protestors stood outside the Sri Lankan tourism department in Colombo and raised slogans against the government. Some of the placards read, “save tourism” and “appoint competent and credible people to make economic decision” on it. They demanded to save the tourism industry as it contributes to the country’s growth and gains forex reserves.
Due to power cuts and rise in fuel prices, hotels are using generators which run on diesel. If this situation lingers on, there will be massive job shortage in hospitality and tourism industry.
“If we don’t make some serious changes now, we are going to be deep down in a ditch,” one of the protestors was quoted as saying by India Today. “We have clients interested in coming to Sri Lanka from across the world. We have bookings coming in not only for this year but 2023 and 2024 as well, but none of those will get confirmed if we don’t get an acting order. We have to get an acting order,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority wrote to a popular hotel – Heritage Tea Factor Hotel regarding power supply issues in the hotel. “We are in the receipt of a complaint from a tour chauffeur who had occupied drivers' quarters attached to your hotel without electricity power when main power available in the area,” the letter stated.
It further read, “Your hotel is classified as a 4-star hotel by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority which was located [in] very cold area and supposed to have an uninterrupted power supply to the guests including driver quarters. Accordingly, it is your responsibility to deliver a similar service to guest accompanied chauffeurs as they are the important stakeholders in the tourism sector.”
The tourism sector contributes 12 per cent to the GDP of Sri Lanka and is the fifth largest source of foreign revenue in the country.
(With inputs from Ashutosh Mishra)
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