The immediate requirement for rooms to feed the tourist industry with the rapid increase of tourists into the country has prompted the authorities to promote the home-stay and bungalow concept.
The recent past has shown that the rooms required to cope with the huge influx of tourists is far from sufficient. As a quick fix solution the Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT) has launched a programme, calling interested parties willing to provide accommodation to tourists to register with the bureau.
Speaking to the Business Times, SLT’s Head of Standards & Quality Assurance and Investment Dileep Mudadeniya, said ,” We are encouraging people from all over the country who are in a position to provide accommodation to tourists to register with us. However we will see that all these places conform to the standards set by us as requirements. The tourists who wish to stay in home are the ones that want to experience the country and culture first hand. What we see is that these are people who take perhaps two or three days off their tour to experience this. We have at the moment around 200 places which have applied for registration and awaiting approval.”
He said the Regional Development Bank (RDB) has come forward to provide limited loan assistance for the concept.” Ms. Janaki Kuruppu, Chairperson of the RDB, said “At the RDB we believe in ‘Empowering Sri Lankans’ to achieve economic development of their families. We are the only 100% government-owned bank serving the real SME sector, with a reach of over 200 service points in rural Sri Lanka alone.
We are always on the lookout for ventures that will appeal to our target customers. We feel the type of household that will go for this ‘Home-Stay’ concept will be very much within the reach of our customer base and will be a great opportunity for them. This is the only way that the country's macro economic growth can be shared with the common people."
Finally elaborating on the scheme, Mr Mudadeniya said,” those interested can submit fresh proposals for approval for setting up Home Stay/Bungalow units in suitable locations but this will be under the supervision Sri Lanka Tourism. We will be providing a training for all Bungalow and Home-Stay owners covering areas such as on-line marketing, house keeping, cooking with focus on guest satisfaction, kitchen hygiene, storage of food, garbage disposal, preparation of authentic cuisine and emergencies.
The home-stay concept could help us bridge the gap in our accommodation shortage. This is a win win situation as the industry gets a lot of rooms in a very short time and the tourists get a new experience of Sri Lankan culture and life first hand.”