- Certification will include unique QR code to check information, prevent companies producing fake documentation and allow consumers to report any violation of guidelines
- 35 more hotels in Central Province, Eastern Province and North Central Province will be assessed in next 2 weeks
- Drop in original number of applicants as hotels opted for quarantine facilities
By Charumini de Silva
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) will issue ‘Safe and Secure’ compliance certification next week to over 40 hotels keen to resume operations post-COVID-19.
“Of the many applications received, we responded to 107 and completed 65 audits. Of that 15 failed and over 40 recommendations were made and the balance preparations are being made. We hope to issue the compliance certificates within next week,” SLTDA Tourism Planning, Development and Investor Relations Director Dr. Prasad Jayasuriya told the Daily FT.
The certification will include a unique QR code for each entity which will enable to check information and prevent companies producing fake documentation.
In addition, the QR code on the certification provides the consumer to report on any violation of the guidelines outlined by the health authorities and SLTDA.
Dr. Jayasuriya said under the first phase of the initiative, all hotels from Colombo to the coastal belt up to Yala had been evaluated, as health authorities were confident in reopening in these areas to improve local tourism.
Noting that the evaluations and issuance of compliance certificates were still in progress, he said another 35 hotels in the Central Province, Eastern Province and North Central Province would be assessed in the next couple of weeks.
Dr. Jayasuriya said there was a drop in the original number of hotels that applied for the certifications, which later converted into quarantine hotels. “Once the hotel applies for the certification process, they get a long list of questions, followed by a physical appraisal — but only around 50% responded as many opted for quarantine facilities,” he added.
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.
As part of recovery efforts, the SLTDA initiated this compliance certification process to enhance cleanliness and hygiene practices for 650 tourism-related entities and individuals covering service providers as well as activity/attraction places in the first phase currently in operation.
SLTDA is investing over Rs. 7 million in the first phase and the first assessment will be free of charge. If the free-of-charge first inspection is failed, the hotel will have to bear the cost the second time.
SLTDA also presented the tourism operational guidelines in line with health protocols in consultation with all tourism stakeholders and under the guidance of the Health Ministry and WHO. The audit firm will issue the compliance certification after strict inspection and auditing process under the purview of the Health Ministry.
SLTDA data depicted the dismal ‘0’ for tourist arrivals in the months of April, May, June, July, August, September and October — a direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The historic development is in view of Sri Lankan borders closed for tourists, a move applied by most countries in line with measures to stem the spread of the COVID-19.
The Government terminated the arrival of all passenger flights and ships into Sri Lanka from 18 March.