Tour operators welcome extension of debt moratorium

Saturday, 27 March 2021 00:06 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) yesterday thanked the Government for extending the debt moratorium for the tourism industry by six months, whilst appealing for further deliberations with the banking and financial industry to ward off the unprecedented crisis.

The moratorium’s extension was part of the Central Bank’s financial relief for the COVID-19-affected tourism industry.  

“We express our sincere gratitude to the Government and the Central Bank for giving us temporary relief to solve our financial burdens. The moratoriums have provided tremendous and immediate relief for tourism stakeholders and helped the banking industry to regularise tourism-related loans,” SLAITO said.

The members also thanked the Tourism Minister for his intervention to extend the moratorium by six more months as well as for all Sri Lanka Tourism members for their support in this regard.

Pointing out that key tourism source markets such as the UK, India, China and France are having international travel restrictions, they said that their members are facing major financial issues and difficulties in restructuring the companies without knowing when those markets are going to operate at full potential to Sri Lanka.

“The supply chains from the key source markets are closed and it is very uncertain when we will be able to operate business as usual,” they said. 

However, SLAITO hopes they can negotiate with banks to restructure the unpaid interest in lieu of the moratoriums.

“The present proposal to convert it to a loan with 7% interest will be an added debt burden for the tourism industry stakeholders. In this regard, we would like to start a conversation with the authorities to have a win-win situation for all financial institutes as well as tourism stakeholders,” they said.