Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lankans cancel holidays, dine-ins


Hotels are experienci­ng some cancellati­ons from locals following the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases lately.

Sri Lankans had started to move out and enjoy a bit of the break and take up on some of the slashed hotel rates recently but the recent rise of the number of cases in COVID-19 resulted in cancellati­ons of weekend holidays, an official at the Jetwing group said. Jetwing has a number of hotels around the country.

“Generally weekends are full but this week we’ve had a few cancellati­ons,” the official said.

Local tourists are said to be cautious when booking their holidays even prior to the surge in cases and continue to request for informatio­n on the health guidelines and measures adopted by the hotels to ensure safety of guests.

Hotel staff wears face masks but when they inform guests to adhere to wearing masks in public places within the hotels some do and then some don’t, the official said.

Currently due to the number of local guests, the hotels have been fortunate to also provide service charge to their staff.

City hotels are also facing a problem since number of diners that started to come in has dropped due to the surge in COVID- 19 cases, City Hotels President M. Shanthikum­ar said.

Moreover, customers fear booking hotels for weddings as they are unaware of the situation in terms of number of guests that can be invited as there is no clarity on this.

In addition conference­s and gatherings have been cancelled as well, an official said adding most are using virtual conferenci­ng facilities.

Currently hotels are facing another issue since the repayment on the April 2019 loans on working capital and interest are due this September and as a result a request was made the government to grant a further moratorium of at least two years. He complained that not a single hotel has obtained the recently introduced loan from the government since banks drag their feet on making a decision.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) officials stated that they will be commencing a campaign aimed at attracting locals to hotels.

In this respect, authoritie­s have already called for tenders and carried out short listing of companies to be awarded the contract in order to commence work on the campaign by end next month. The three- month long campaign would kick off by about November. (SD)

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