Tourism industry pushes through delayed reforms as it plans tsunami recovery

A tsunami that wrecked Sri Lanka’s coast in peak tourist season is having its better fallouts, pushing through delayed reform plans while the sector bounces back. A tsunami that wrecked Sri Lanka’s coast in peak tourist season is having its better fallouts, pushing through delayed reform plans while the sector bounces back.

The Tourism Ministry said Thursday that it had just finalised plans to get the sector up and recovering, with a package of short term aid measures to help hoteliers.

Among the plans is a duty free scheme for hotel imports that has been on the cards for a while but shelved before, as governments fell and changed in two years.

With the tidal waves that wrecked part of Sri Lanka’s coastline, damaging 48 hotels, seven of which almost completely, the timing for the scheme couldn’t be better.

“We are asking the Treasury for duty free concessions to help hotels import damaged or lost property like electrical goods, kitchen equipment and furniture,” Tourism Ministry Secretary Dr. P. Ramunujam said.

“We have already developed the scheme for duty free concessions to allow hotels to upgrade, as well as soft loans from donors to rebu