Jan 20, 2017

Sri Lanka’s tourist transport service gets a face-lift

Sri Lanka’s tourist transport service is to be modernized to cater to the needs of an anticipated tourism boom in the coming years. 

With the aim of taking advantage of the situation Trascend Drive company has come forward to introduce a brand new Audi fleet for tourist transport field and it is being used at Cinnamon Grand and Cinnamon Lakeside hotels in Colombo at present for with a view of changing how city-dwellers travel in the future.

Sri Lanka’s inbound tourism transport sector is just surviving with a depleting vehicle fleet and the sustainable practices in the tourist transport service have been neglected up to now, tour operators said.

They blamed the Tourism Ministry and Treasury authorities for not making any attempt to strengthen the tourist transport service by providing incentives for service providers enabling them to increase the vehicle fleet and by introducing green environmentally-friendly cars and vans to attract tourists while protecting the environment.

The need to increase the tourist transport vehicle fleet has been brought to the notice of authorities by tourist transport service providers on many occasions but it went unheeded.

Tourism has been bouncing back in the country and a group of businessmen engaged in transporting tourists requested assistance to improve the sector.

Finance Ministry says new regulations with regard to leasing loans for vehicles will not be applied to transport service providers in the tourism sector. They will be able to enjoy 100 percent loan facilities buy vehicles through leasing.

The total investment by the tourist transport service providers in providing these facilities had been nearly Rs.3 billion, and these businessmen are requesting the government to grant them import licences with duty free concessions for the import of economical and environmentally-friendly passenger cars and vans for tourist transport, under the guidance of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Tourism.

They urged that duty free permit scheme should also be extended to tourist transport service providers who earn much needed foreign exchange for the country.

Tourist transport service providers’ are handling airport pickup, inland transport and eventually airport drop of over 80 per cent of the tourists who visit Sri Lanka.