- Requests minimum grant of Rs. 25,000 for next 6 months for 150,000 self-employed individuals who have lost jobs due to lockdown
- Urges two-month waiver of water and electricity bills for hotels and other establishments
- Commends efforts taken to control the spread of COVID-19
The Chamber of Tourism and Industry Sri Lanka (CTISL) has written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, urging the Government to provide a grant of Rs. 25,000 for the next six months for 150,000 self-employed individuals who have lost jobs due to the lockdown.
CTISL President A.M. Jaufer
These self-employed persons include tour guides, eco-tourism guides, handicraft sellers, tuk-tuk drivers, tourist drivers, boat operators, surfers, daily self-employed workers, and tourist vendors.
“We would like to urge the Government to introduce a suitable short- and long-term relief package for the tourism industry affected by the recent calamity. We are very much concerned for the wellbeing of the above category of people engaged in the industry, who have been severely affected,” CTISL President A.M. Jaufer said in the letter.
Noting that tour guides, eco-tourism guides, handicraft sellers, tuk-tuk drivers, tourist drivers, boat operators, surfers, daily self-employed workers, and tourist vendors have lost employment due to the lockdown, the Chamber forecast that these individuals and institutions engaged in the businesses will find it difficult to earn an income in the next six months. Thereby, the Chamber has suggested a minimum grant of not less that Rs. 25,000 be paid for six months for the affected individuals.
As for the hotels and other establishments, CTISL has requested the Government a two-month waiver of water and electricity bills be granted to support them during the hour of need.
The Chamber also noted that the details of such employees and establishments could be identified through the divisional secretary of the area.
It was pointed out that the tourism sector was subjected to lot of hardships from the 30-year ethnic conflict, tsunami, and the Easter Sunday terror attacks targeting tourist hotels and churches in April last year. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in lockdowns and curfews inflicting a total crippling effect on the industry, thousands of stakeholders and individuals have been affected.
CTISL also expressed its deep appreciation for the steps taken by the Government, health authorities, Tri-Forces, and Police in their efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.