Spruced Up

Hoteliers in once conflict areas of the north and east can apply for low cost funding of up to Rs. 50 mn to refurbish properties damaged at the height of war.rnrn

ldblquote We are processing the applications, but five hotels in the East have already received the low interest loans
dblquote , Tourism Minister Gamini Lokuge said Tuesday.rn

rnA 20-month ceasefire has seen a spike in tourist arrivals and growing, with hotels fast running short of rooms to house them. rn

rnThe first half of this year saw a 24.4 percent increase in arrivals over 2002, to 259,887 of mostly high spending Indian tourists.rn

rnldblquote We have a capacity of 14,000 rooms that can support 6 lakhs of people. We will be adding 3000 rooms in the coming season with circuit and private bungalows
dblquote , Lokuge said.rn

rnTargets are to reach 25,000 rooms by the end of this decade, with the government stepping up efforts to encourage new development, declaring select areas as tourist zones.rn

rnThe Tourist Board has