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Outcry amongst industry stakeholders over scrapping of ‘Happy Hour’ by NATA

June 02, Colombo (LNW): Hoteliers, tourism authorities, and law enforcement expressed dismay at the National Authority on Alcohol and Tobacco’s (NATA) decision to eliminate ‘Happy Hour’ promotions, deeming it detrimental to the already struggling tourism sector and consumers.

In a circulated letter, NATA instructed hotels to cease offering discounts on alcohol, citing violation of the NATA Act No. 27 of 2006.

The directive, signed by Chairman Dr. Alan Ludowyke, warned of fines and legal repercussions for non-compliance.

The NATA said in its letter that this practice constitutes a clear violation of Section 37(2) of the NATA Act No. 27 of 2006 and that violation of such nature can be liable to a fine of Rs. 50,000, and each director of the offending establishment will be deemed guilty of the offence.

While NATA defends its decision as enforcing the law, industry leaders criticise it as detrimental to business and tourism recovery efforts.

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priyantha Fernando labelled it ‘absurd’ and vowed to escalate the matter to higher authorities.

Commissioner General of Excise M. J. Gunasiri acknowledges concerns, suggesting a review at the next NATA Board Meeting regarding the practicality of abrupt enforcement.

Despite attempts, NATA Chairman Dr. Alan Ludowyke remained unavailable for comment.

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