Wednesday, February 10, 2010


By Harischandra Gunaratna

The General Manager Hilton Residencies Colombo Manesh Fernando yesterday predicted a tourism boom in the country in the next season and added that this will result in an economic boom in Sri Lanka.

"Every dollar earned by tourism will have a multiplying effect it is not only those directly engage in the industry but also people who are indirectly dependent on tourism will also benefit from this," he said.

Sri Lanka Tourism and other agencies connected to tourism are gearing up to meet the demand and new resorts are being built in the areas of Kalpitiya, Dedduwa , Kuchchuveli and a number of other places in the East Coast he pointed out.

During the last few years tourists were reluctant to visit the East coast due to the security situation prevailed at the time. But now they will come in large numbers to this area, he predicted. Fernando paid a tribute to the President, Security Forces, Police and the Civil Defence Force for ending the 30 year old war and bringing peace to the country.

"It was the President’s determination and the bravery of the armed forces which saw the elimination of terrorism and decimation of the LTTE," he said.

Now it is up to the industry personnel together with Sri Lanka Tourism to rebuild the industry.

Fernando was in favour of the minimum room rates introduced by the Tourism Ministry and said it was a positive move and a step taken in the right direction .

"If it was not introduced we would be selling a room at $ 30-$ 40 but now we can sell a room at much higher price depending on the property ," he said.

From Every dollar earned by the hotels 14 cents goes to the government coffers and 10 cents contributed to the service charge, he explained.

Our Sales have increased by 15%-20% in the last few months in comparison to the corresponding period last year, Fernando added.

On the other hand there is no back stabbing among the hoteliers and the Tourism Ministry is monitoring how it is being implemented with heavy penalties on those who flout it, he explained.

Asked about the problems faced by the industry right now he said one of the biggest issues is the lack of both skilled and unskilled personnel. The skilled personnel have found employment overseas when the industry was in doldrums and others have obtained employment in other fields, he said.

But he was confident those overseas will return when tourism boom begins and a higher service charge.

Sri Lanka Tourism has declared 2011 as the "Visit Sri Lanka" and Nepal also has declared the same year as their "Visit Nepal Year.

Asked how it would affect the tourism industry in the country, Fernando was of the opinion that Sri Lanka would not have any competition from Nepal and added "We have a lot more to offer as a tourist destination.

source -

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