Northern Tourism Hit Hard

Several hotels in the northern peninsula reported that occupancy rates in July were between 25 to 50 per cent.

General Manager of Jetwing Jaffna and North Gate, Christopher Ponnadurai said that the two Jetwing properties were at 40 – 50 per cent as of the end of July.

He hoped that occupancy would increase during the Nallur festival, scheduled for the first week of August, to around 50 per cent.

Last year, both Jetwing properties recorded a 70 – 75 occupancy rate in July and August.

Jaffna clock tower sri lanka

The clock tower in Jaffna

Despite Indian tourists showing interest in the northern peninsula, the destination was not included in the Sri Lanka Tourism promotion package that was designed targeting the market.

“The north needs to be on the map as there are many tourists, especially Indians who show an interest in the location,” says Ponnadurai. The General Manager made similar observations in March, early this year.

Managing Director of Subahas Hotel, Sangaran Hariharan, said he has witnessed a slight pick-up in business in July compared to the previous two months.

Set up in 1970, Subahas is Jaffna’s first registered tourist hotel and has survived through the most difficult times of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war. At present, the 29-bedroom hotel has an occupancy of 25 per cent, consisting of domestic tourists from Colombo and NGO officials.

Speaking about the financial relief package rolled out by the government, Hariharan said that it has been extremely beneficial to him in paying off his loans and sustaining the hotel during this period.