Sri Lankan tourism authority extends support to SMEs in tourism amid COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-07-16 20:14:23|Editor: huaxia

COLOMBO, July 16 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said on Thursday that it will extend its support to the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and hotels in the tourism sector to seek COVID-19 health certification to host tourists in the future.

In a statement, the SLTDA said SMEs are considered to make up over 60 percent of the country's tourism industry as over 50,000 SME entities are involved in tourism and contribute to the economy by providing employment and foreign exchange to the country as well as a diverse experience to the visitor.

The statement added that most of the SMEs in the past were unable to register due to strenuous documentation requirements. To assist them in obtaining a provisional license, they would now need to submit an online application with limited documentation together with photos and a registration fee.

The SLTDA is also developing a process to ease and relax some of the guidelines without compromising the quality.

"Tourism is undoubtedly one of the most affected industries in the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and to help the industry, the cabinet approved a series of relief measures to tourism service providers registered with Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority," the statement said.

Sri Lanka's tourism suffered a severe blow, as authorities closed the country's international airports in March to prevent a further spread of the COVID-19 virus, which has to date infected over 2,600 people in the country.

Authorities said it is considering re-opening the airports next month after completion of the repatriation process and by bringing the COVID-19 spread completely under control. Enditem