Sri Lankan hotels in bid to raise earnings despite tourism downturn

Jan 15, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan city hotels have announced plans to impose tough rules to raise standards and deliver a better service to tourists with the aim of earning more money after a recent rate hike. “The tourists go to a hotel with an expectation and it (hotel) is doomed if he sees no running hot water, broken sinks or cockroaches,” declared Cornel Perera, chairman of the City Hotels Association (CHA).

“The classifications (standards) will take away the fears of tourists.”

The island’s tourist industry is looking for ways to overcome the difficulties caused by a downturn in visitors owing to escalating violence between security forces and Tamil Tiger separatists.

The CHA plans to bring in international experts to formulate a regulatory structure for hotels to improve the yield from tourist visits.

The new standards will be formulated using the island’s own values and capabilities to benchmark Sri Lankan hotels against their own, Perera told a news conference Monday.

The standards are essential to maintain a higher yield as opposed to merely increasing numbers.

“City hotels have to concentrate on satisfying customers and accommodation, food, hygiene, (worker) attitude