Mr. M. Shanthikumar was unanimously appointed as the President of THASL for the 2nd year.
A veteran in the industry with over 40 years of operational and management experience in hoteliering. He has been an active member of addressing industry issues over the years and held the position of President, Colombo City Hotels, prior to his appointment as the President THASL in 2021 succeeding Mr. Sanath Ukwatte who now serves as the immediate Past President of the association.
He is supported by senior industry leaders who are in the executive management committee of The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka.
Since taking office, Mr. Shanthikumar has lobbied with the Government leadership and concerned authorities to get relief for the hotel sector which has been impacted with a triple blow since 2019 with the Easter Sunday attack followed by the pandemic with border closures and now the political and economic crisis which has hit the country impacting tourism due to the unwarranted negative publicity in the International media.
Tourism is a key player in driving foreign exchange in to the country and is the 2nd highest foreign exchange earner. Hotel investment is by far the highest in the entire tourism sector and carries over 70% of the tourism workforce. Tourism saw a steady growth in terms of arrivals, revenue generation and development for over a decade and as an island nation over 12% of Sri Lankan population is estimated to be dependent on Tourism.
President THASL has been very vociferous in calling on the Government to take note of the above and to assist in sustaining the industry for the coming years. THASL has called upon the Government to grant an extension on the moratoriums for a further period of 12 months until end 2023 and a restructure of the term loans and working capital loans at low interest rates. Requesting the Government to bring all industries to a level playing field has been another push by THASL as the Local Government taxes and the Electricity tariff to the hotel sector is far higher than what is charged from all other industries.
The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka ( THASL) together with The Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators ( SLAITO) is jointly working and lobbying with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau ( SLTPB) to carry out promotional campaigns in key source markets to increase demand during the critical juncture as the private sector is a key contributor to the government Tourism fund. This is in addition to the joint private sector promotions done by the two key associations and the promotions done by individual hotels , hotel companies , other accommodation providers and small , medium and large inbound agents on a regular basis in overseas markets.