Rape, Murder, Bigger Than Human Rights
Rape and murder are far bigger issues to the European tourist than human rights (HR), an expatriate hotelier told this reporter.
It was only last year that a British tourist holidaying in Tangalle (which comes under President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Habantota “ electorate”) was murdered and his companion allegedly raped by a Government politico.
This was followed a few days ago by shooting to death two opposition JVP members in Katuwana, Hambantota.
Horscht Schmidtke, the German director of Casa Club, a 12 room city boutique hotel built at a cost of Rs. 400 million, said that HR is something relative to the European tourist, it’s not an issue that will affect tourism to the island, he said. Europe, led by UK and Germany, is Sri Lanka’s single biggest tourism market regionally. Casa, which charges US$ 200 per room per night, inclusive of breakfast, is fully occupied with European tourists, said Schmidtke, who views the current development of Colombo and the Southern Expressway, as steps in the right direction. He believed that there was room for the island’s tourism industry to grow further, saying that Sri Lanka is operating only at 30% of its capacity currently. Holidays are a religion to the European tourist, no matter what the circumstances are, like the current euro zone debt crisis, he still values his holidays, said Schmidtke. Casa which began operations in 2007 obtained its liquor license only this year, after a five year long wait. Not the best way to go for tourism development?
The hotel has begun making a turnaround beginning from this year, said Schmidtke.