- Allege tourists being overcharged by SLTDA
- Say SLTDA has no mandate to collect funds in US dollars from private sector
Local tour operators represented by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) yesterday expressed their displeasure over tourists being pushed to pay US$ 40 for a PCR test, and urged steps should be taken to charge for the tests in Lankan Rupees (LKR) instead.
“SLAITO members are puzzled as to why they (tourists) have to pay SLTDA US$ 40 for a PCR test, which equals Rs. 8,000, whereas all MoH approved hospitals charge only Rs.6,000 or less. And this payment is being made in Sri Lanka rupees,” said SLAITO in a statement to the media yesterday.
The Association said that although the Tourism Ministry has agreed, after a series of discussions to charge in Sri Lanka rupees, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has not taken any measures to implement the same.
“The SLTDA does not have a mandate to collect funds in US dollars from the private sector, keep a profit of Rs.2, 000 per DMC client, and pay private sector hospitals for PCRs without receiving approval from the government authorities,” SLAITO charged.
According to inbound tour operators, tourists are being overcharged even before they arrive in the country.
“If a family of five persons arrive and have to take two PCR tests each, that amounts to an excess of Rs.20, 000,” the Association pointed out. It went on to stress that fulfilling the target of attracting two million tourists is impossible when the SLTDA misleads potential visitors even before they arrive in the country.