The tourism industry is one of the main industries which can expect tremendous growth and most hoteliers foresee opportunities especially in the Northern and Eastern provinces to invest and capture a market share in these areas.
President, Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, Srilal Mitthapala told Daily News Business, that they have already signed and committed for the next season and most of the rooms have been already sold.
Compared to last year we hardly see an increase in occupancy rates this season but the real positive impact can be expected during next year.
The industry was badly affected in the past few years due to the war situation and most of the hotels were compelled to reduce their rates to survive in the business.
However, still there is an effect from the economic crisis in most European countries. Therefore, to sustain in the leisure industry it is essential to maintain low pricing rates. We are still not planning to increase the hotel rates but we are expecting to cater to a higher occupancy rate and increase the rates gradually.
With the victory of terror in the country, as an industry we have to re-position Sri Lanka as a new brand to the world.
In the past few years the industry was not allocated money for further expansion in hotel facilities.
However, during the next few years we are planning to invest specially on improving facilities for disabled travellers, which is currently inadequate, he said. Most tourists come from India, UK, France, Germany, Russia and Middle East countries and compared to last year, we are expecting a 10 to 15 percent growth in occupancy in the next season, he said.
Most tourists book their holidays well in advance with charter operators.
The trend is now changing, and a few up-market hotels have broken this trend and grabbed the business share during the past few years.
We cannot expect a major demand increase during the coming season but the demand will increase gradually within the next few years, said the Vice President, Tourist Hotel Association of Sri Lanka, Anura Lokuhetti.
We are quite happy that Sri Lanka tourism together with industry professionals are making a special attempt to attract more tourists to the country in the coming season.
With the dawn of peace and adequate promotions and enthusiasm of the hotel industry, it will help boost the industry and also help the tourist industry to be the largest foreign exchange earner in the country, he said.
Sri Lanka has the best facilities and natural beauty which could be marketed easily.
The tourism industry would be the best industry to develop the country as it has a huge multiple impact.
The improvement in the tourist industry will create more opportunities in agriculture, fisheries and cottage industries as well, he said.