- Registered entities that have paid Tourism Development Levy to get first preference
- Estimated 144,000 employees to benefit based on 2019 EPF payment records
- Accommodation providers and DMCs could obtain facility without collateral
The Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has announced a concessionary loan scheme for struggling tourist establishments to fund salary payments of estimated 144,000 employees during next six months based on 2019 EPF payment records.
According to SLTDA, around 124,000 staff of accommodation providers and destination management companies (DMCs) could receive up to Rs 20,000 per person on monthly basis while estimated 10,000 employees of other tourist establishment could receive a maximum of Rs. 15,000, during the six month period.
The accommodation providers and destination management companies (DMCs) registered under SLTDA as well as other tourist establishments such as restaurants, tourist friendly eating places, spa & wellness centres, spice gardens, tourist shops and water sports centres are legible for the loan scheme, at 4 percent interest per annum and repayable in five-year period with a two-year grace period from the date of disbursement.
The SLTDA noted that accommodation providers and DMCs could obtain this facility without collateral, as it is provided under the Post COVID-19 Relief budget of the government. The funds would be directly remitted to the bank accounts of these employees via the Bank of Ceylon, based on their EPF records. Further, the SLTDA highlighted that first preference would be given to the registered entities that have paid the Tourism Development Levy and these loan disbursements would be limited to employers who have made EPF payments of their employees during 2019.
Meanwhile, the tourism authority also announced that SLTDA registered tour guides and tourist drivers are employed on per tour basis and not entitled to EPF/ETF would receive one-off payments.
Accordingly, the tour guides would receive Rs 20,000 as one-off payment and tour drives would receive Rs.15, 000.
In addition, the SLTDA also instructed the Ceylon Electricity Board and the National Water Supply and Drainage Board to delay collecting water and electricity charges from SLTDA registered accommodations for a six month period starting from 1st March to 31st of August.
“In the event electricity and/or water bills have been paid during this period, an additional period of credit to be given; to ensure 12 months grace period in total,” it added.
Following the grace period, these establishments would settle their cumulative bills based on a one-year instalment plan.
Further, the Central Bank (CB) is also expected to issue a fresh circular instructing banks and financial institutions instructing to extend the six months grace period given for vehicles leased for tourism purposes to twelve months without considering the existing lease agreement and without default charges during the grace period.