SLTDA plans to find out the number of unregistered accommodation providers in Sri Lanka
HOSPITALITY INSIDER – Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera proposed that online reservations engines and websites can register hotels and similar establishments offering accommodation only if they are registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).
The minister made this statement at the 2019 budget reading in March and noted that the establishments offering more than five rooms need to be registered with the tourism regulatory body by April 1, 2020.
The minister’s proposal will affect many establishments that have been selling accommodation facilities through OTAs such as Booking.com and Airbnb for years. Accordingly, this proposal hopes to integrate the SME tourism sector into the formal economy.
Senior officials at the SLTDA, said that they are in the process of carrying out a comprehensive research to understand how many supplementary accommodations are available at present that haven’t registered with the regulatory body. The SLTDA has formulated an enforcement unit headed by a former a DIG of Police and plans to enforce the policy effective from 1st October 2019 and will penalise owners of unregistered accommodation facilities by way of fine or imprisonment.
Booking.com declined to comment on this when contacted by Hospitality Insider.