The Cabinet of Ministers approves the  tourism relief package for  the support  of 144,117 persons affected by the Covid -19 epidemic The proposal was submitted to the Cabinet meeting held today (10)  by Hon.Prasanna Ranatunga, Minister of Industrial Export, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation on the instructions of H.E President, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Accordingly, steps will be taken to grant a loan of 4% interest to pay salaries of hotel (accommodation) sector and DMCs/Travel Agents’ staff registered with Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) as at March 2019 at a rate of LKR. 20,000 per person per month over a period of 6 months. Based on ETF / EPF records, the loan granted by state banks has a grace period of two years. It should be paid within 5 years.

Also, the Cabinet has approved to provide loan package to pay salaries of employees of other establishments registered under the SLTDA including; Restaurants, Tourist Friendly Eating Places, Spa & Wellness Centers at a rate of LKR. 15,000 per person per month over a period of 6 months.

In addition, the Cabinet has granted approval to provide a payment of LKR. 20,000 per person to Tour Guides and a payment of LKR 15,000 per person to Tourist Drivers registered with SLTDA. These allowances are one-off payments.

The Cabinet has granted approval to allow the settlement of Cumulative Electricity and Water Bills from 01 March – 31 August 2020 in 12 equal installments with effect from 01 September 2020 for Registered Accommodation entities at SLTDA as at March 2019 and to request Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) not to disconnect supply until such time.

The Cabinet approval has been granted to increase the current six months grace period given for all tourism related vehicle leases to twelve months.

Minister of Industrial Export, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation, Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga stated that a sum of LKR. 15,883 million was needed to provide a loan for 131,497 hotel employees to pay a six month salary. The Minister also stated that a sum of LKR. 156 million was needed to provide the one-off payment of LKR.20, 000 and LKR. 15,000 for 9216 Tour Guides and Tourist Drivers. Hon.Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga further stated that this relief package was prepared considering the requests made at a discussion held with various stakeholders in the tourism industry last week.

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