Sri Lanka hoteliers brace for tough winter

Nov 28, 2008 Sri Lanka’s hoteliers are bracing for a tough winter season with occupancy levels being hit by cancellations amid global turmoil while the industry was already struggling with weak arrivals, officials said.

Though hotels are pressured to bring down room rates, officials say they are hoping to give value added services and improve quality of service to maintain room rates.

Once prices are cut, it is difficult to push them up again. But there are fears that further pressure will come next year, when the current winter season ends.

“The concern now is when occupancy starts dropping in January February and March how to sustain the rates and to prevent a price war happening,” says Miththapala.

“Because the whole idea is that one should not try and reduce the rates but keep the rates differentiate and try to get the tourists to come here.”

Last year an internal conflict, the closure of the air port, and air attacks caused a down turn in the industry.

This year industry officials say they are hit by an overvalued rupee and a global downturn, where people with high air fares. An overvalued currency makes a domestic industry uncompetitive against foreign suppliers.

Overvalue