- Nine categories of affected entities and persons identified
- Requests for a grant not less than Rs. 25,000 to be extended for at least 6 months
Sri Lanka’s strongly hit tourism sector has once again reached out to the government seeking further assistance, and the latest appeal is to extend short and long-term relief packages for the affected entities and self-employed persons.
As the closing of international borders and island wide curfew due to the pandemic resulted in the tourism sector to come to a complete standstill, supporting sectors too took a massive hit and are currently struggling to meet expenses such as payroll, due to the lack of a revenue inflow.
In that context, the Chamber of Tourism and Industry had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa asking for immediate assistance to be extended to those affected, including those who have lost employment, for a period of at least six months.
In addition to the impacted entities, self-employed persons who are struggling have been categorized into nine groups, which are; Tour guides, Eco tourism guides, Handicraft sellers, TukTuk drivers, Tourist drivers, Boat operators, Surfers, Daily self-employed workers, and tourist vendors.
According to the Chamber, over 150, 000 individuals have no means of income due to the stoppage of work, and restriction of movement brought about by the pandemic.
“It is forecasted that these individuals and institutions will find it difficult to earn income during the next six months. Hence it is suggested that a minimum grant of not less that Rs. 25,000 be paid for six months for the affected individuals,” the Chamber of Tourism and Industry said in its letter to the government.
While the chamber would share the list and details of the entities and individuals engaged in the tourism sector across the country, it said the same can be identified and confirmed through the Divisional Secretariat.
It also requested that a two month waiver of water and electricity bills be granted to hotels and other premises to help ease cashflow issues.
In addition to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the local tourism sector has been facing issues in the recent past. The Easter Sunday deadly terror attacks that took place in 2019 was the first impact that shook the industry since the end of the 30-year war. Just as the industry was recovering from the impacts of the 21/4 terror attacks, the lockdown inflicted a crippling blow, affecting sector stakeholders. (SAA)