President Ranil Wickremesinghe has authorised the issuance of soft liquor licences to all hotels and restaurants registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), as well as tourist establishments located in designated areas.
The President, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, Economic Stability, and National Policies, said in a special statement that the decision to issue licences for soft liquor (such as beer and wine) sales was made as a flexible strategic move to boost the tourism sector, in accordance with Article 25 and Article 32 of the Excise Ordinance.
As a result, beginning on 28 July, all SLTDA-registered star-class hotels, boutiques, historic hotels, tourist hotels, tourist guest houses, tourist hostels, tourist bungalows, camp sites, historic bungalows, historic residences, tourist restaurants, food courts, and tourist apartments will be conditionally permitted to sell soft liquor. The licence must be renewed on an annual basis.
The cabinet approved a proposal initiated by Tourism Minister Harin Fernando to promote tourism-related activities with greater flexibility last month. President Wickremesinghe at present has approved the issuance of soft liquor licences to entities providing tourist services and lodging for a yearly fee of Rs. 25,000.