Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
Hotel occupancy stats disappear from SLTDA’s monthly bulletin
Hotel industry statistics which indicate occupancy levels of hotels and resorts located in key tourism hotspots in the country, have not been included in the customary monthly statistical bulletins of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) since January 2013.
The hotel statistics in the monthly statistical bulletin were last updated on the SLTDA website in December, 2012 although the tourist arrivals by month and country of residence have been updated on the website every month up till June.
The December data showed that room occupancy rates for all star categories in 2012 was par below to those figures of 2011. Foreign and local guest nights also indicated a similar trend.
According to many tourism sector stakeholders, despite the increasing tourist arrivals to the country during the last couple of years, the quality of such arrivals have been on the decline.
Head of the leading hotel operator, Aitken Spence recently said that instead of high spending tourists, Sri Lanka is attracting higher number of lower-end budget tourists who do not regularly patronize star-class hotels.
At the same time, it is perceived that, Sri Lanka’s hotel room rates are much higher priced in contrast to rates of those in the region such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia etc.
Sri Lanka’s Investment Promotion Minister also recently stated that local hotels are overcharging for rooms in an attempt to cash in on growing visitor numbers after a decades-long war.
Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said some hotels had hiked up room rates 10-fold since the end of the war in 2009 without improving service.
Describing the rates as unrealistic, the minister was quoted as saying that existing hotels which were charging $50 to $60 suddenly increased rates to $600 and charged that these high rates are destroying the entire tourism industry.