Colombo: As Sri Lanka continues to recover from the horrific Easter Sunday attacks that disrupted a decade of peace on the island, the country's main tourism body is emphasising how the country is moving forward. Sri Lanka, senior officials have said, is preparing for the recovery of a vital industry that employs thousands and remains a vital component of the economy.
Kishu Gomes, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism, said, "We have already taken all possible steps to demonstrate that Sri Lanka’s response to the incident is effective and credible. We are now aggressively planning to reassure the world of our levels of preparedness and setting the groundwork for future reputational recovery work by reassuring tourists that all appropriate steps are being taken by the Sri Lankan Government to prevent any future incidents and ensure the continued safety of tourists within the country.
"As we do this we are developing a holistic reputation recovery plan based on data and research for each of the key markets, this will be followed by an intensive global marketing campaign to further accelerate the recovery process."
Sri Lanka Tourism has launched a number of initiatives to help industry stakeholders.This includes new safety and security measures, aggressive promotion strategies, and the deployment of an emergency response protocol.
Additionally, they have hosted a number of international travel bloggers with a combined following of over 1.5 million people on the island to help educate and promote the country's lesser known attractions. On a special itinerary prepared by Sri Lanka Tourism, the visitors toured Jaffna Dambulla, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, and Negombo, giving their audiences a real-time look at what travelling through the greater part of the country is like.
Sri Lanka's Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga, said, "Tourism is a strategically critical sector in Sri Lanka’s ever-expanding economy. It’s now the third highest revenue generator for the country and it is estimated that 500,000 individuals depend on it. From the fishermen, to the farmer to the tuk tuk driver to the king coconut seller on the roadside, they all benefit from the tourism industry.
"On the flip side, thousands of people are directly employed in the hospitality sector. Therefore, many Sri Lankans from various walks of life are stakeholders of the tourism industry. We have seen darker days but have always bounced back, better and stronger. Our resilience as a nation is unrivalled. This is our strength and we will show the world that Sri Lanka will once again be the top destination to visit."