- 35 of the first ever recipients are inland properties and 28 are beach resorts
- Collective room strength of certified hotels are over 6,000
By Charumini de Silva
Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) yesterday said 63 hotels accounting for 6,187 rooms have received ‘Safe and Secure’ compliance certification to resume operations post-COVID-19.
“As part of recovery efforts, we initiated this compliance certification process to enhance cleanliness and hygiene practices. It is a pretty decent number to pass all the stringent measures introduced by the authorities,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando told the Daily FT.
In June, the Government decided to introduce a COVID-19 safety standard compliance certification for all SLTDA-registered entities in a move to reassure tourists considering Sri Lanka for their next holiday post-pandemic. A month later, SLTDA awarded KPMG Sri Lanka the contract to issue ‘Safe and Secure’ COVID-19 safety standard compliance certification to registered accommodation and service providers.
The audit firm issues the compliance certification after strict inspection and auditing process under the purview of Health Ministry.
Fernando said the collective room strength of certified hotels are over 6,000. Of the total 63 hotels, 28 were beach resorts and the balance were inland properties. These include five-star, four-star, three-star hotels, guest houses, boutique hotels, home-stay units, individual villas and tourist hotels.
The 28 beach properties are located in Galle, Batticaloa, Kalutara, Hambantota and Matara, while the 35 inland properties are located in Colombo, Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Monaragala, Gampaha, Galle and Matara.
The process of evaluating and issuing compliance certificates is continuing. “There was a slow-down in the process due to the sudden resurgence of COVID-19 within the country, but now we have expedited the process,” she added.
Although a reasonable number of entities have received the compliance certification, Sri Lanka Tourism Chief was of the view that not everyone will want to commence their operations in the immediate future.
The certification will include a unique QR code for each entity, which will give the ability to check information and prevent companies producing fake documentation. In addition, the QR code on the certification provides the consumer the ability to report on any violation of the guidelines outlined by the Health Authorities and SLTDA.
SLTDA is investing over Rs. 7 million in the first phase. SLTDA have stated that the first assessment will be free-of-charge. If the establishment fails the free-of-charge first inspection, the establishment will have to bear the cost for the second inspection. SLTDA also presented the tourism operational guidelines in line with Health Protocols in consultation with all tourism stakeholders and under the guidance of Health Ministry and WHO.