Bargain Basement — Budget 2004

Giving a leg up to the local tourist trade, the government plans to develop Maskeliya and Puttalam as a future hotspot for the travel trade.
Finance Minister K N Choksy says the lagoons in these regions will be developed to be a major resort area, with funds pumped in to expand the Bentota resort stretch.rn

rnChoksy estimates tourism arrival numbers to rocket up to 750,000 by 2006, with average daily spend to touch US$ 100, as against the current figures of US$ 65. rn

rnldblquote This will require further investment to upgrade and raise the current 14,000 room capacity to an estimated 20,000 good quality rooms,
dblquote he said. rn

rnldblquote We had previously intended to introduce a hotel room tax of 10 percent on the room charge for all hotels classified as three stars and higher by the Ceylon Tourist Board. But have decided to defer imposition of this tax,
dblquote Choksy said.rn

rnThe previous budget slapped a one percent turnover tax on all organisations registered with the Sri Lanka To