International Trade and Export Development Minister Prof. G. L Peiris said that Sri Lanka expects to attract more than 600,000 tourists in the coming winter season.
According to statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the country’s graded accommodation capacity, from a survey in 2008, was 14,793 rooms.
The report also showed that in 2008 there were only 258 tourism accommodation providers by units.
Sri Lanka does not currently have the capacity to serve such a high number of tourist arrivals.
Addressing this fact, Prof. Peiris said on Thursday that the country was working on a development plan to increase the accommodation capacity to fulfil the need for more capacity which would arise.
"Already some of the hotels are under construction in zones the government has identified as potential tourism sites. Further, there are temporary lodging facilities being provided to tourists," he said.
He pointed out there is an issue in the Northern Province which cannot provide accommodation for both local and foreign tourist.
"The lodging facilities in the provinces are highly unsuitable and it has been noted that lodging providers charge high rates from lodgers.
"These rates are sometimes higher than the rates five-star hotels in Colombo charge and the facilities are of very poor standard," Peiris said.
"The government would address this issue in the coming months to prepare for the expected number of arrivals, about 600,000, visiting the island," he said.