Sri Lanka determined to revive tourism industry

Books Wednesday 01/May/2019 13:42 PM
By: Times News Service
Sri Lanka determined to revive tourism industry

Dubai: One week after the deadliest terror attacks perpetrated in the country since the end of the civil war, Sri Lanka Tourism announced a number of measures taken in the country to ensure that tourists remained safe during their stay.

The country is determined to revive its tourism industry, which is a source of vital foreign currency and jobs on the island nation, and supports one in 10 families according to the authority.

Speaking in Dubai during the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), Kishu Gomes, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism, said, "We cannot allow ourselves to become paralyzed by fear, nearly half a million families across the island depend on us for their daily living; the impact on our economy must be mitigated. We are working to regain the confidence of global travelers and operators by demonstrating that Sri Lanka’s response to the incident is effective while reassuring future tourists that all appropriate steps are being taken by the Sri Lanka Government to prevent any future incidents and ensure the continued safety and security tourists within the country."

The Easter Sunday attacks killed around 253 people and wounded 500.

While most of the victims were Sri Lankan, around 40 foreign nationals were among the deceased. They came from around 15 different countries

Highlighting how teams followed emergency response protocol in the immediate aftermath of the attack, Gomes stated that trained teams were deployed to affected hotels, all hospitals and the airport to ensure that all tourists affected received the care and assistance the required.

Tourists already in the country and those scheduled to arrive in the hours and days following the attacks were also an immediate priority, he explained. In addition to help desks at hotels, airports and tourist information centres Sri Lanka Tourism set up an emergency hotline to ensure tourists and their loved ones back home had access to accurate information. Through its emergency services, updated information continues to be issued through local and global media, social media, and foreign missions.

"Addressing security issues is a prerequisite for the revival of tourism and we continue working closely with all relevant authorities to support all foreign nationals in the country. Sri Lankan police and Tri forces are working tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of all tourists currently in Sri Lanka. This is absolutely our first priority," Gomes added.

Additionally, several high-level cross industry working sessions that included both the public and private sector stakeholders were held in the country to outline ways of minimising the impact of cancellations in addition to maintaining and rebuilding the country's brand.

"The promise of Sri Lanka is a promise of hope, of family, of deep awareness, of tolerance, of diversity, of sincere connection to humanity and nature and of generosity; we will live the promise of our motherland and we ask anyone who has ever visited us, relished our food, brewed our teas, cheered our cricket or just marveled at the beauty of the full moon to become ambassadors of kindness and compassion everywhere they go," Gomes added.

"We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support and solidarity from people everywhere and look forward to welcoming the world back home to Sri Lanka."