The Sri Lankan government’s decision to raise the minimum room rates(MRR) for hotels in Colombo city is a controversial one. Some argue that it is necessary to elevate the city as a high-end tourist destination, while others believe that it will discourage tourists and hurt the recovery of the tourism industry.
There are several arguments in favor of the MRR. First, it is argued that the current room rates in Colombo are too low and that this is sending the wrong message about the quality of the city as a tourist destination. Second, it is argued that the MRR will help to improve the standards of service in Colombo hotels, as they will be forced to compete with each other to attract high-end tourists. Third, it is argued that the MRR will generate more revenue for the government, which can be used to improve tourism infrastructure and promote the city as a tourist destination.
Hospitality expert Aruna Rajamanthri argued that it will discourage tourists from visiting Colombo, as they will be able to find cheaper accommodation in other cities. Second, it is argued that the MRR will hurt the recovery of the tourism industry, which is still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Third, it is argued that the MRR is unfair to small and independent hotels, which may not be able to afford to raise their prices.
Pros and Cons :
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to implement the MRR is a complex one. There are both pros and cons to the policy, and the government will need to weigh these carefully before making a decision.
In my opinion, the MRR is a risky policy. It is possible that it could help to improve the quality of hotels in Colombo and attract more high-end tourists. However, it is also possible that it could discourage tourists and hurt the recovery of the tourism industry. I believe that the government should carefully study the issue before making a decision.
Here are some additional thoughts made by a number of experts who spoke to Lanka Newsline on the matter:
- The MRR should be implemented gradually so that hotels have time to adjust their prices.
- There should be exceptions for hotels that are offering special deals or packages.
- The government should provide financial assistance to small and independent hotels that are struggling to raise their prices.
- The government should also invest in tourism infrastructure and promotion to make Colombo a more attractive destination for high-end tourists.