- Welcomes govt.’s import substitution policy and stable tax regime
- Urges govt. to tax foreign online travel agents
- Thanks govt. for extended time on loan moratorium
- Requests govt. to consider travel bubbles and corridors
The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) in a statement yesterday hailed Budget 2021 as a “pragmatic financial road map”, while praising the government’s moves to encourage local businesses via import substitution and for maintaining a stable tax regime.
THASL said such policy could create a level playing field for local entrepreneurs to compete against the foreign players. “We also request the government to implement a tax on foreign online service providers, including foreign online travel agents, in order for the government to earn additional revenue and to protect
the local agents and local entrepreneurs, as practiced in other countries,” a THASL statement said.
Meanwhile, the association thanked the government for extending the moratorium on industry loans up to September 2021 and the proposal for a government-guaranteed debt restructuring mechanism to prevent the collapse of the industry.
THASL also reiterated the need for simplifying the method of payment of municipality and local government taxes.
“This is a much debated issue and numerous court cases have been filed by hoteliers all over the county and the industry is eagerly awaiting for a final decision to this long outstanding matter,” the statement said.
The association also appealed to the government over the implementation of the Cabinet-approved wage support scheme for the most vulnerable section of the travel and tourism industry workforce, while calling for selective opening of borders under strict health guidelines and implement travel corridors and travel bubbles.
“As the worst affected industry, due to the pandemic, we expected from this budget a thumbs up for the Cabinet-approved wage support scheme for the most vulnerable section of the workforce. The industry once again appeals to the government for help to protect the income of thousands of workers in severe difficulty.
For the eighth consecutive month, the country has recorded tourist arrivals as zero. Therefore, THASL requests the government to reopen borders following strict health guidelines and implement travel corridors and travel bubbles between certain countries, in order to restart tourism and save jobs.”