SL Tourism looks at renewable green energy as long-term solution to power crisis

As Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, mainly the hotel sector, is likely to get electrocuted with the second hike in electricity tariff, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said it is looking to bring in renewable energy options.

While noting that the tourism sector would have to adjust to the increase in tariffs as implemented by the government, the authority said it is currently having active discussions in introducing renewable green energy to the sector.

“Looking at it from the economic point of view, we (industry) will have to go with the hikes. But at the same time, we are looking at how renewable green energy can be introduced to the industry, for which we are having discussions on how it can be made affordable to the stakeholders,” SLTDA Chairman Priantha Fernando told Mirror Business. The SLTDA is exploring options where credit lines with preferential interest rates can be offered, so that the stakeholders can move on to rooftop solar.

“This will reduce their overhead costs considerably and the investment can be recovered in about five to six years,” he said while adding that there are no plans to offer renewable energy solutions for free.

Fernando went on to acknowledge that without support and credit lines, the tourism sector stakeholders would not be able to afford to embrace renewable energy options.

When questioned on how the industry is expected to grapple with the hike in electricity charges in the immediate and short term, Fernando said some proportion can be passed on to international visitors.

“The buying power of international tourists has increased, due to the depreciation of the rupee. So, to a certain limit, they (industry stakeholders) will be able to pass it on. The stakeholders will have to increase rates and pass it on,” he said.

Since the beginning of the year, room and food and beverage rates have increased significantly by tourism service providers in the country. With the depreciation of the rupee, increased inflation and escalating cost of utilities, the stakeholders were pushed to increase the charges to stay afloat. In a brief interview with Mirror Business recently, The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka shared that despite the increase, the stakeholders are still struggling to cover the operational expenditures, as revenues have not increased to expected levels as yet.