Sri Lanka should say goodbye to fossil fuel-based cars to attract tourists serious about reducing their carbon footprint: CTGLA

By Sanath Nanayakkare

Chauffeur Tourist Guide Lecturers Association (CTGLA) of Sri Lanka seeks the support of the President, Minister of Tourism and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to help them replace their old fleet of vehicles with new hybrid and electric vehicles in order to attract environmentally conscious visitors to Sri Lanka.They request the government to solicit financial support from institutions such as JAICA, USAID, Australian Aid, ADB, World Bank and IMF, and also to explore the possibility of facilitating soft loans from commercial banks to its members to initiate green travel in Tourism.

“Our Association which began 30 years ago represents about 1,500 chauffeur tourist guide lecturers who are trained and licensed by the SLTDA, and this profession has been recognized by a Parliamentary Act. Some of our guides speak a number of foreign languages and all our members provide a very important service to the industry and bring in foreign exchange to the country”, Ranjith Sudasinghe, vice president, CTGLA told The Island.

“While we appreciate the effective measures the government has taken to take the country out of its crisis. However, since we lost our livelihoods due to Easter Sunday incident and Covid 19 Pandemic, we have had to wait a long period of time to recover unlike other tourism destinations in the world. In addition, our earnings were further affected due to strikes, protests and agitations, and earnings in the winter season are not encouraging as anticipated. Such long, lean periods have affected our members greatly. We are going through the difficulty of maintaining tourist vehicles with little or no income for more than three years now. Our members have invested more than 5 billion rupees on these vehicles and they pay all government taxes. However, at the end of the day, the return on investment is barely enough to maintain the vehicles up to the industry- required standards,” he said.

“In this context, we consider it prudent to replace the existing fleet for the next seasons with cost-effective environment friendly, hybrid and electric vehicles. If the government makes policies for a Green Tourism Transport program, funding assistance could be obtained from above mentioned international institutions as they are keen on promoting such green initiatives”, he pointed out.

“Some tourist vehicles were sold or repossessed by leasing companies due to loan defaults which were beyond our control during the lean period. So the lesser number of available tourist vehicles could pose a threat to the industry in the near future. The Ministry of Ministry and SLTDA have informed the Finance Ministry about this potential risk, therefore, we urge the authorities to also consider giving relief to CTGLA members by way of concessional duty for the importation of vehicles for tourist transportation,” Sudasinhe said.

, Business, ,

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post