Tourism: Services overpriced, poor quality


By Mario Andree

Accommodation costs at the newly emerging travel destination which the government calles the ‘virgin’ in the region, according to tourists are overpriced and service quality wanting. More than 8,000 graduates are required per year to sustain the industry, but only 1,500 are being turned out currently.

With the increasing number of tourists the hospitality industry increased its room rates to reap the benefit, however hoteliers were not providing value for money, tourists complained.

At a recent forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka it was claimed that the amount spent in the country for eight nights could be used to enjoy a 14 day vacation elsewhere in the region.

After the global financial crisis which crippled Western economies the tourists from the region was expecting value for money, an Austrian tourist pointed out.

According to tourists who participated at the event, in addition to prices of accommodation being relatively higher than the other regional destinations, the service quality too was poor.

They said that travellers did not mind spending a few extra dollars for better accommodation with good services, but in Sri Lanka only the room rates were high and the service provided was poor.

According to them for Sri Lanka to become a number one destination, despite several magazines having ranked the country as a top travel spot, service would require a greater deal of improvement.

According to a senior official representing the Ministry of Economic Development, for services to improve in the hospitality industry, with the number of new hotels increasing, would require more than 8,000 graduates per year.

Currently the Hotel School was providing the industry with 1,500 graduates per year, he said adding that the private sector investment to develop hotel schools was required to cater to the high demand from the sector.

The government targets 500,000 jobs directly and indirectly from the tourism sector. According to a study to provide satisfying service to a single tourist five employees are required.

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