Payouts for tourist guides as government rolls out relief for tourist industry

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The government has introduced a relief package to the tourism industry to support the stakeholders impacted due to the coronavirus as the country has seen zero tourists since the pandemic hit Sri Lanka.

The cabinet of ministers this week approved a relief programme for the tourist industry and under this programme, a registered tourist guide will receive a one-time payment of Rs 20,000 while a registered tourist driver will receive a one-time payment of Rs 15,000.

Sri Lanka has not seen any foreign tourists arriving in the country since March 18, after it bolted its doors for passenger flights and ships, to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Registered tourist hotels and tour management companies will be allowed to obtain loans on a five-year repayment period under a four percent interest rate, to pay employees a salary of Rs 20,000 for six months.

In addition, registered institutions related to tourism that include restaurants cafeterias, and health centres, will also be able to obtain loans to provide employees with a salary of Rs 15,000 for six months.

From September 1, tourist-related institutions will be allowed to settle electricity and water bills payable from March 1 to August 31, under 12 instalments, according to the cabinet proposal.

The concessionary period given for the payment of leasing instalments in the tourist trade has been increased up to “12 months without any delayed charges”.