The Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) yesterday raised concerns over the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) demanding payment by dollar for PCR tests conducted.
Issuing a statement, SLAITO said its members are puzzled as to why they have to pay SLTDA $ 40 for a PCR test which equals Rs. 8,000, whereas all Health Ministry-approved hospitals charge only Rs. 6,000 or less whilst the payment is also being made in rupees.
“The payment to SLTDA has to be made in dollar which is also a huge issue for our SME sector members. Tourism Minister has also agreed at many discussions that the payment should be made in Sri Lanka Rupees and SLAITO is made to understand that he has advised the Tourism Ministry Secretary several weeks ago to do so. However, despite many reminders, we still have no result,” the statement said.
“SLTDA does not have a mandate to collect funds in dollars from the private sector and keep a profit of Rs. 2,000 per DMC (Destination Management Company) client and pay private sector hospitals for PCRs without receiving approval from the Government authorities,” SLAITO claimed.
It also charged that tourists are being overcharged even before they arrive in Sri Lanka.
“If a family of five persons arrive and have to take two PCR tests that amounts to an excess of Rs. 20,000. We need to fulfil the mandate of two million tourists, but is this not possible when SLTDA misleads the potential tourists even before they arrive in Sri Lanka.”