Sri Lanka’s hotel industry braces for major crisis

By Indika Sri Aravinda

The hotel industry in Sri Lanka is fearing the worst after the Government was forced to ban arrivals from multiple countries yesterday.

The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) said that they anticipate a over 50 percent drop in occupancy over the next few days.

THASL Chairman Sanath Ukwatte told Colombo Gazette the hotel industry will find it difficult to recover from the latest crisis.

He said that some hotels will not be able to pay their staff salaries as they would be operating at a major loss.

Ukwatte said that the industry was still recovering from the Easter Sunday attacks last April and the coronavirus has had a serious impact on the recovery efforts.

Just last month THASL had urged the Government to consider extending moratoriums on all loans and interest granted by financial institutions for the tourism industry after the Easter Sunday attacks by a further period of one year as all expectations of recovery had been adversely affected by the outbreak of the Novel Corona Virus (2019-nCoV), resulting in large scale cancellation of bookings from China and concerns and reluctance to travel by visitors from other markets.

Ukwatte said that with a ban being enforced on visitors from countries other than China the hotels will face bigger losses and will not be able to obtain more loans.

Soon after the Easter attacks excess staff at most hotels were told to stay at home and were paid salaries but Ukwatte said he is not sure if all hotels will be able to do the same this time around.  (Colombo Gazette)


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