The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) announced the launch of a loan scheme for homestay operators across the country, in line with the Budget proposals for this year. All categories in the homestay sector namely homestays, homestay bungalows and rented apartments will be eligible for the loan scheme launched under the guidance of the Treasury and the SLTDA.
The loans schemes, the SLTDA said, will help homestay operators upgrade their properties to attract more tourists. Developing the homestay sector is a key priority identified in the three-year Tourism Strategic Plan (TSP) adopted by the Sri Lankan Government.
“Applicants can obtain their forms from any branch of People’s Bank or Bank of Ceylon and the banks will send the applications to the SLTDA which will work with the Treasury to facilitate the loans . The applicant can receive money from the nearest state bank,” SLTDA Director General Upali Ratnayake said.
He said the homestay operators receiving the loans are required to register themselves with the SLTDA before commencing commercial operations after upgrading. “Prior registration is not required to apply for these loans. Operators can register their properties before commencing commercial operations after renovation and we have also introduced concessionary registration fees to facilitate this process,” Ratnayake said. He also added that the interest of the loans will be subsidized by the Government.
“They will be issued at 14% interest. But, 6% of the interest will be paid by the Treasury,” the Director General said. “Any homestay operator can obtain more information on the loan scheme from our hotline 2426800 ex.250. We believe the homestay sector will play a key role in taking the tourism sector to its strategic goals by 2020. Therefore, we encourage all homestay operators in Sri Lanka to make use of the loan scheme and upgrade their standards,” Ratnayake added.