As the hotel industry is forced to live with zero revenues with international travel becoming a long forgotten phenomenon in this Covid world, The Island Financial Review recently spoke with Sanath Ukwatte, President of The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) to find out how the whole thing is weighing on his mind.
Following are excerpts from the interview we had with him.
“THASL is recognised for the incredible work it has done to support tourism in Sri Lanka. No other association or industry body of any industry has done so much under so much pressure. The fact that THASL has managed to obtain almost everything we have asked from the government to support the industry is remarkable. No other industry body has managed that”.
“At the moment the entire tourism industry has collectively taken loans amounting to Rs. 350 billion. 80% is from hotels big and small. It’s not as big compared to the assets. Total hotel assets are worth around $10b at present valuations. This fact was mentioned by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa during the Budget speech recently. None of the hotels have defaulted on any loans before. Moratorium is only a temporary solution as interest is accumulating during the moratorium period”.