in line with the Budget proposals for 2017, a loan scheme under the Enterprise Sri Lanka was launched for homestay operators across the country.
This loan scheme would assist people to construct annexes to their homes with all required facilities or construct small tourist homes.
These homes, annexes should be constructed or renovated based on green concepts with focus on promoting green energy.
However, in this time’s budget proposal paragraph 87, it indicated that after April 01, 2020, only such places which are registered under the Tourist Board and has room facilities of over five rooms could seek approval for online bookings.
As there is a translation error, the Finance Minister has instructed the officials to rectify it immediately.
Accordingly, the minister had clarified that what it should have read was that based on the 2019 budget proposal no. 87, home stay operators with over 05 rooms with all facilities should register with the Tourism Development Authority by April 01, 2020. Failing which, they would not be given approval for online bookings.
Number of rooms not an issue:
However, the minister noted that home stay operators with less than three rooms who are engaged in providing accommodation to tourists on a small scale need not be alarmed as this proposal would have no impact on their businesses.
Under this loan scheme, loans could be obtained upto Rs. 5 million with a repayment period of seven years. As the government pays 50% of their loan interest, the home stay operators are required to pay only 6.75% interest.
The home stay project has been initiated with the aim of promoting tourism and for the loans obtained to construct such tourist rest houses an interest of 6% would be charged on homes.
This loan can be obtained from the Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank and the Regional Development Bank, Lankaputra Development Bank, HNB, Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank, DFCC Bank, NSB, Pan Asia Bank and Seylan Banks. Further information could be obtained from the Enterprise Sri Lanka counter at the above mentioned banks or the Tourism Development Authority.
The government has allocated Rs. 60 million for the payment of loan interests.