Loans to tour guides at concessionary rates vital
By Buddhika Samaraweera
The Sri Lanka Institute of National Tourist Guide Lecturers (SLINTGL) pointed out it would be timelier to provide loans at concessionary interest rates to tourist guides facing difficulties due to the situation that has arisen in the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An official of the Institute said although the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) had launched a programme to provide tour guides with an allowance of
Rs 20,000, it was not adequate. The provision of this allowance should be appreciated but it would be better if a facility at a concessional interest rate was given, he noted.
He said presently there are around 2,500 registered tour guides and it would be appropriate to facilitate obtaining a loan without placing securities. Tourist hotels and travel agencies are able to obtain loans but we do not have that facility, he said.
When contacted, Chairperson of SLTDA, Kimarli Fernando said an allowance of Rs 20,000 is being paid to all four categories of tour guides registered with the SLTDA. According to Fernando, a sum of Rs 10,000 has already been paid and the balance will be paid after the General Election.
In addition, she said that the SLTDA would study the possibility of providing loan facilities for tour guides and formulate some programme. Giving approval and implementation of a programme are not enough as we need to make arrangements to ensure that they receive the loan, and therefore I hope to discuss this with banks and other relevant institutions in future, she added.