All tourist hotels to be classified

All tourist hotels registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) will be required to become classified under the latest regulations, the SLTDA officials said yesterday.

From left: SLTDA Standards and Classifications Director Chandana Wijeratne, SLTDA Director General Malraj Kiriella and SLTDA/SLTPB Chairman PaddyWithane Pic by Pradeep Dilrukshana“All tourist hotels in the country will have to be classified,” SLTDA Standards and Classifications Director Chandana Wijeratne said.

Currently there are 344 hotels registered with the SLTDA, of which only 113 have been given a star classification.

The Extraordinary Gazette No. 1963/28 finally legislated the classification standards this April, which had been drafted hand-in-hand with but failed to be legislated with the Tourism Act No.38 of 2005.

Until now, a classification standard created in 1966 was in operation. While the gazetted system has almost no amendments from the draft in 2005, SLTDA Director General Malraj Kiriella said that managing to legislate the new classification standard after a lapse of 11 years was a great improvement.

“Now we have to maintain these standards because the tourists today are looking at quality,” he said.

Stars are granted under classification standards based on a combination of minimum requirements and an additional point-based system on nonmandatory criteria.

The new standards include points awarded for environmentally sustainable practices and good treatment of hotel staff, which has garnered approval from industry experts.

It is learnt that several hotels which had been classified as five-star under the outdated standards had been downgraded, as they had failed to gain enough points due to inadequate environmentally friendly practices and staff benefits.

This included hotels from one of the largest leisure groups in the country which has made environmentally friendly practices one of its marketing cornerstones.

Meanwhile, Kiriella said that the boutique hotels too would require classification. However, this could result in ultra luxurious boutique hotels which have five-star facilities and services getting a one-star classification due to not meeting the requirements for a minimum number of rooms or other small technicalities. The new legislation also requires hotels to be reclassified every three years, compared to a lifetime classification in the past, while the hotels which are not following the regulations, falsely advertising star classifications or failing to pay licensing fees will receive a Rs.100,000 penalty.

“We will be setting up an enforcement unit to track down any infractions,” Kiriella said.

A five-star hotel will have a registration fee of Rs.25,000 and a licensing fee of Rs.10,000, while a one-star hotel will have a Rs.5,000 registration fee and a Rs.2,000 licensing fee.

Source : http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx#

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