Business Times

Sri Lankan homes to generate room capacity for tourism industry

By Sunimalee Dias

Sri Lanka’s home stay concept initiated by the tourism industry is due to be launched next month and expected to generate about 1000-1500 rooms immediately.

Sri Lanka received 654,000 tourists in 2010, which is expected to top 750, 000 this year. In this regard the home stay and bungalow programme is expected to generate about 1000-1500 rooms immediately, a media release states.

The industry has received 348 applications with 125 of them obtaining registration amounting to 360 rooms in 16 districts, Assistant Director Standards and Quality Assurance Bhagya Mahavithanage stated.

Commenting on the types of tourists showing an interest in this concept, she noted that currently students, researchers, budget travellers and FIT travellers especially from Europe who intend on having a truly Sri Lankan experience have created a demand.

Government plans are to ensure the additional number of rooms to be provided through this concept apart from the hotel rooms available, will help achieve the 2016 target of 2.5 million tourists.

Sri Lanka Tourism has identified three types of home stay programmes; either living with a family, a Bungalow ready to receive tourists with minimum guest services such as caretaker/cook/house-keeper; and a fully furnished rented house or apartment with/without service personnel for a period of less than one year.

All houses should fulfill the minimum requirements including having one or more rooms for accommodation, with each room having separate attached bathroom facilities. Home stay owners will be provided with free marketing on the home stay webpage that will provide an financial benefit to the family through tourism; gain financial value for locally grown food crops; and becoming an ambassador for Sri Lanka.

All owners will be provided a training from Sri Lanka Tourism in a bid to educate themselves of the dos and don’ts of dealing with guests from welcoming them to housekeeping, food preparation and hygiene to food and beverages, first aid and security.

Etisalat and Expo Lanka are involved in the marketing of this programme through the website. The Regional Development Bank (RDB) has initiated the “Sancharaka Sathkara” credit loan facility with a repayment term from one to six years.

This concept is a well-known accommodation category in Europe and even in India and it was noted that visitors to Sri Lanka are familiar with it.

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