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Chamber of Tourism and Industry appeals for relief for SMEs

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The Chamber of Tourism and Industry has appealed for urgent relief for small and medium enterprises in the sector who have been seriously affected following the Easter Sunday terror attacks. The appeal was handed over by Chamber President A.M. Jauferto Tourism Minister John Amaratunga recently. 

Following is the full text of the appeal by the Chamber of Tourism and Industry:

Asyou are aware our tourism industry has been severely affected consequent to the recent Easter Sunday terrorist attacks.The small and medium stakeholders in the industry,such as internal airlines, cabs, taxi and three-wheel drivers, (popular tuk-tuk service) tour guides, small vegetable and fish suppliers to the hotels and restaurants, small shop owners, surfing board suppliers and supporting labour helpers and material suppliers to the construction industry in the hotel sector, tour operators and those engaged in the sale of gem and jewellery to tourists,etc. are the immediate affected people.

In addition to the above, small staff ofhotels are also suffering due to this unfortunate situation since they have lost avenues ofmaking additional income from guest service charges, tips, etc. During the tourism season, more tourists visit the Pasikudah, Arugambay, Nilaweli areas in the Eastern Province. 

Hon. Sir, I wish to take this opportunity to make the following requests with the intention of granting little relief to the people who are engaged in this industry. We are confident that as the Minister of Tourism Industry and Wildlife you will consider taking appropriate action to minimise the hardships and problems faced by these people as early as possible. 

We are asking stable institutional support and recognition of the contribution we are making to this industry in order to sustain our country’s economy andalso generate more employment within the industry. 

Some mechanism should be implemented to either waive off the loan taken through the banks or similar relief such as reduced interests and opportunities to apply for loans in order to uplift the standard of the stakeholders who engage in small and medium scale business in the tourism sector, such as financial assistance and support.

Tsunami loan scheme under the ETB credit line to be waived off especially because this loan was given to mostly tourism sector enterprise.

We also appreciate the security provided by the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air force, Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka PoliceDepartment and Special Task Force.

Finally Sir we are confident that his Excellency the President together with the Hon.PrimeMinister will take every effort to rebuild the tourism stakeholders with the support and assistance of Foreign Ambassadors and High Commissionersto ensure the vital recovery of the tourism industry. Sir we know that you understand our industry and that you have a passion for tourism. We are confident that you will implement the above suggestions and formulate practical solutions.


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