Destinations

Sri Lanka “very much open for business”, says tourism minister

Sri Lanka’s Minister for Tourism Development has assured the travel industry that the country is ready to welcome visitors following the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks.

John Amaratunga said the progress that has been achieved in the recovery process for Sri Lanka has been “remarkable”.

“Our security forces have been able to completely neutralise the terrorist threat. The healing process has also achieved much ground and things are fast returning to normal,” he said in a statement issued by Sri Lanka Tourism.

“I can assure tourists that we have taken all precautions to ensure their safety in all parts of the country. Hotels and airlines have come out with never to be repeated offers, so now is the time to visit the country.

“I must state that none of our tourist sites were affected and remain ready to welcome visitors. Sri Lanka is very much open for business.”

Sri Lankan tourism minister John Amaratunga

In its latest update to the media, Sri Lanka Tourism said the security threat is completely contained and there is no further threat of coordinated attacks, with the country having returned to normalcy.

Tourist arrivals have been steadily rising since the terror attacks, with a total of 30,203 visitors recorded between 21 April and 12 May.

However, by the end of 21 May, total tourist arrivals were reported to be at 40,527, marking an increase of 10,324 more tourists to the country within a period of nine days.

Sri Lanka is also showing confidence by forging ahead with planned events such as the World Surf League (June and July), the West Asia Baseball Cup 2019 (July), the AIESEC International Congress (July), the Colombo International Logistic Conference (August), and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (September).

In addition to the general tourism activities carried out by Sri Lanka Tourism, there will be briefing sessions arranged in key global markets.

Furthermore, Sri Lanka Tourism has initiated a program to work with local TV channels to promote local tourism/destinations among the general public.

The country’s tourism board is also currently awaiting cabinet decision to activate a short-term PR and adverting campaign to send a clear message to the international community that Sri Lanka has returned to normalcy.

As a part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen its digital-first marketing strategy, Sri Lanka Tourism will be attending a prestigious international travel bloggers and social media influencers’ event next month in Italy.

The key purpose here is for Sri Lanka Tourism to network with and invite prominent UK and European-based travel bloggers, content creators and social media influencers to visit the country on familiarisation tours covering key locations and lesser known attractions.

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