Hands over 18 certificates to tourist-friendly eating places in Kandy
Intends to position SL as an upmarket destination, targets high-spenders
SLTDA to inspect eateries in Galle and suburbs of Colombo next
Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga yesterday said certification and standardisation of tourism-related services was now a necessity and no longer an option that could be ignored.
Handing over a total of 18 certificates to tourist-friendly eating places in Kandy, he stressed that the growth of the tourism industry depended on the quality of the products and services on offer.
“A good or a bad experience can influence thousands of potential visitors through social media. While some of our restaurants have become world famous for their unique quality, others have become equally famous for their poor quality. There should not be any compromise on hygiene, food quality and service. In this backdrop, standardisation is a must,” he added.
While acknowledging that the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has already covered Colombo and Kandy, he asserted that directions have been given to expedite this program to cover all other tourist destinations in the country. “We are far behind time, whereas we should have covered the entire country by now. Once certified, SLTDA must take steps to constantly monitor these establishments,” he stated. The objective of the project includes upgrading the basic standards of eating places in tourist zones, creating awareness over the necessity of providing standard food services at all eating places in the country and encouraging them to upgrade service standards on par with international standards.
Amaratunga pointed out that once tourists start to patronise the certified establishments, other eating places will be encouraged to fall in line.
“Our intention is to position Sri Lanka as an upmarket destination targeting high-spenders. If we are to attract the high-end market and optimise tourism revenue, keeping it in line with the Government’s strategy, our products and services must be geared to cater to this segment. Then only can we demand a premium for what is offered,” he pointed out. The Minister called on the industry to work towards making Sri Lanka a world-class destination not only for its many attractions but also for its quality restaurants.
SLTDA Director General Malraj Kiriella outlined that out of a total of 25 tourist-friendly eating places in Kandy, 18 were awarded certificates, where 13 were categorised as being A grade and the balance five were given a B grade.
According to him, a rigorous procedure was carried out by SLTDA officials, independent inspection officials assigned by SLTDA and officials of the Kandy Municipal Council.
Noting that the certificates received by the SLTDA will be displayed at the entry point of all eating places in Kandy, he said it would be beneficial to foreign and local tourists coming to witness the world-famous Esala Perahera next month.
Kiriella said they intended to begin inspections at eateries located in Galle and Colombo’s suburbs in the next phase of the project.
“SLTDA will constantly follow up the project to ensure that eating places which have already received grades are maintaining standards and those that fail will be downgraded or their grades will be cancelled,” he stressed.
He also noted that they would continuously educate the eating places which were not selected for the shortcomings to rectify their shortcomings and fulfill their requirements to be eligible for the certification next time.
SLTDA initiated the certification program in 2015 and in the first phase 25 eating places in Colombo Municipal Council area received certificates last month to encourage the upgrading of food safety, hygiene and service of eating places supply food for foreign and local tourists.
Pix by Ruwan Walpola
This article originally appears on DailyFT.