The Central Bank has directed all finance companies in the country to consider the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority’s (SLTDA) licence as a pre-requisite for granting loans to any tourism-related business.
In a letter to Finance Houses Association of Sri Lanka (FHA) Chairman Krishan Thilakaratne, the Central Bank had said that under the Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005, it is mandatory for all tourism-related businesses in the country to register with the SLTDA before commencing business operations.
“This provision has been introduced to maintain the quality and standards to protect the country’s reputation as a travel destination,” the letter said. It also added that there were many tourism businesses operating in the country without licence from the SLTDA.
The SLTDA has also had discussions with the Central Bank to ensure that the commercial banks, too, consider the SLTDA licence as a pre-requisite for granting loans to tourism-related businesses.
The SLTDA is the governing body of Sri Lanka Tourism, recently set up as an enforcement unit to bring unregistered tourism-related business establishments in Sri Lanka into the regulatory framework of the SLTDA through registration.
In addition, the SLTDA is in the process of setting up countrywide committees to expedite the data collection process and submit a full report covering all districts to the enforcement unit. The authority also launched the Online Tourism Business Licensing System (OTBLS) last year to further facilitate tourism business licence issuance and renewal processes.
At the same time, the SLTDA has deployed a new cyber tool to track accommodation providers operating without a valid licence from the institution. This tool scans publicly available online data about tourism businesses and cross-checks them with the business licensing platform run by the State tourism authority.