Hambantota hotels face closure
Association blames Tourist Board of neglecting small
Although tourist hotels in the Hambantota district have been
refurbished and are fully operational after the tsunami, hoteliers
lament that tourism authorities have not taken action to market the
Many hoteliers in the area are facing difficulties as they do not
have sufficient tourist arrivals and many hotels in the district are
facing closure due to the lack of business.
The Tangalle Tourism Association accused the Tourist Board of giving
promotion to the big and established hotels and not small hotels in the
Hambantota and Tangalle areas.
"There are 400 rooms available in the area but not even 10 per cent
of it is occupied. Before the tsunami we had tourist arrivals of more
than 50 per cent even though it was off season in other countries,
President of Tangalle Tourism Association K. Wedaarachchi told the Daily
"Even though we were given compensation with a one year interest free
loan we are unable to pay them as we do not have sufficient business.
And if we do not pay them it will be owned by the banks which we do not
want to happen," he said.
"Our hotels are not being advertised abroad. The Tourist Board goes
on international tourism trade fairs, like the World Travel Market (WTM),
ITB Berlin and the Arabian Travel Mart. But the Board does not represent
all tourist destinations in Sri Lanka.
The Yala Park invites locals once again
Only the famous and big hotels are being introduced and marketed in
them". "Our hotels are also Tourist Board approved, but we do not get
help from the Tourist Board Wedaarachchi, said. There are many locals
who have not visited this area and seen the beauty of Sri Lanka. We
would be happy if locals are encouraged to visit our hotels to help us
to overcome this situation.
"People in the district find it difficult to get on with their day to
day lives as they all depend on tourist arrivals," he said.
Although Yala was under threat tourists arrive to the Yala National
Park. However locals are reluctant to visit the park. This is again
mainly because of the misleading information that has been spread
throughout Sri Lanka.
More than 50 tourists visit Yala National Park daily and the Park
earns around Rs. 1.5 million per day from this, sources said.
"We have planned many projects to promote the Hambantota district, as
we have less tourist arrivals in the area. Even Sri Lankans do not visit
Hambantota. I would say it's mainly because of the false rumours spread
around Sri Lanka.
Hambantota is a safe place to have a holiday, Director General of
Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce Azmi Thassim said. He said they
are the first Chamber to promote the district around Sri Lanka.
We have already promoted a concept as "Deep South" to promote the
Hambantota district. We plan to promote 12 destinations in Hambantota.
We have also invited all other stakeholders in the area to promote
Hambantota as a destination.
"In future we are planning to promote more destinations, so that we
can attract more tourists into Hambantota for hoteliers in the district
to gain more business, Thassim said.