Home » MRR on entire country to hit Russian market, jeopardize beach hotels

MRR on entire country to hit Russian market, jeopardize beach hotels

by Gayan Abeykoon
April 3, 2024 1:26 am 0 comment
Members of the three associations

The proposal to introduce the Minimum room rate (MRR) to the entire country (after implementing it in City Hotels) will drastically reduce the Russian market and have huge negative impact for beach hotels and Russian charters too will dry up said Vice President: Nalin Jayasundera of  Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators, (SLITO) at a special press conference held at the Ceylon Chamber yesterday.

He said that Russians are a price conscious segment and with the implantation of the MRR, the hotel rates would go up by a minimum of 30% and this will drive them away to other destinations which would be cheaper to them. “Since most of them are patronizing beach properties, these  hoteliers will find occupancies drying up.”

He also said that currently a Sri Lanka 14 day tour package costs around USD 1,800 and when the MRR is introduced it will shoot up to around USD 3,000 driving tourists to other competitive destinations, like Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

President of the Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference, Exhibition & Event Organizers, Imran Hassan said that MRR has driven away all major MICE events specially from India to other destinations. “The 500 member high profile doctors’ conference from India scheduled for Colombo was taken elsewhere while SKAL, a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, event to be held next year is still pending due to MRR.”

He said all the five star hotels like Shangri-La, Taj, Cinnamon and Hilton are opposing this and only few run down hotels are for it. “Over 2,000 new four to five star hotels including ITC Colombo, Cinnamon Life, Intercontinental and more would be added to the Colombo city hotel inventory and it will be tall order for them to find guests due to the increased price created by MRR.”

President SLITO Nishad Wijetunga (representing Destination Management Companies) said that in two leading travel sector events President Ranil Wickremesinghe said he does not support the MRR but authorities still keep patronizing it. He also said that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world to implement a MRR. He said they summoned this press conference to remind authorities that they had made a promise to abolish the MRR on March 31 subsequent to it being introduced in October 2023.

Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism Sri Lanka (ASMET) official Prebudda Jayasinghe said that the MRR has a huge negative impact for small hotels as well and Indian arrivals and city hotels have already shown a sharp dip.

Shirajiv Sirimane

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