By Charumini de Silva
The Government has decided to introduce a COVID-19 safety standard compliance certification for star class hotels, as a move to reassure tourists considering Sri Lanka for their next holiday post-pandemic.
“We are in the process of introducing a COVID-19 safety standard certificate initially to the five and four-star hotels. The tourists will only be able to book accommodation in these hotels that are compliant and recommended,” Tourism Ministry Secretary S. Hettiarachchi told the Daily FT.
He said the Ministry of Health will have the authority to issue the compliance certification. “It is a joint initiative by Sri Lanka Tourism and Health Ministry. Five and four-star hotels that are complying with international best practices outlined by World Health Organisation (WHO) and Health Ministry of Sri Lanka have a better chance to obtain the certificate,” he added.
The Secretary also said the tenders were called recently to outsource the certification process. The certification will ensure these hotels have implemented the guidelines recently issued by the Ministry of Health to commence operations post-COVID-19.
Under phase two, the COVID-19 standard compliance certification will be extended to three and two star-hotels as well as for resorts and boutique hotels.
The Daily FT learns that tender awarding is scheduled for tomorrow and certification to be completed by 1 August, coinciding with the reopening of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) for foreign travellers.
Following inquiries, the Secretary is planning to hold discussion with Provincial Councils on how the certification can also be extended to the homestays units, particularly in Ella. “We plan to have the discussion next week and see how the program could be funded through the 3.5 million euro European Union (EU) grant to uplift the SMEs depending on the industry,” Hettiarachchi said.