Relief package for tourism sector to continue

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Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga stressed yesterday that the relief package given to those engaged in tourism ventures badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be provided.

This package was initially granted following the Easter Sunday terror attacks and then renewed for another year.

Therefore, it is still functional and it will be continued until the tourism sector is revived and returns to normal.

“Therefore, those engaged in the tourism sector should not have any doubts or fear of the relief package being discontinued,” the Minister said.

Under this package, a number of relief measures have been approved by the Government to sustain the lives of the people directly and indirectly involved in the tourism Industry and linked to establishments registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).Hotels, destination management and travel agencies registered with the SLTDA will be allowed to obtain a 5-year loan at a 4 percent interest rate, to pay a 20,000 rupee salary for workers.

The loan could be repaid in five years with a two year grace period.

Tourism related firms registered with the SLTDA including restaurants, spas, wellness centres have been given a credit facility to pay salaries of up to 15,000 per worker.

A one year moratorium will also be given for vehicles leased for tourism purposes.

Meanwhile, tourist resorts registered under the SLTDA have been granted a one year grace period to settle the accumulated water and electricity bills.

Tour guides and drivers registered under the SLTDA have been granted a one-time allowance of Rs.20,000 and Rs.15,000 respectively. Tour guides and drivers registered with the Provincial Councils are also eligible for this scheme.