Before you read on, on behalf of MW Tours and Travel Weekly, we’d like to address the prescheduled promotional EDM that went out this morning promoting travel to Sri Lanka.
We are deeply sorry to anyone who found the EDM insensitive and for any offence caused. Nobody could have foreseen the devastating events that took place over the weekend, and we did not intend for the email to go out this morning.
We would like to extend our sincerest sympathies to anyone affected by the attack.
Hundreds have taken to social media to extend their support for the Sri Lankan people since news broke of the devastating Easter Sunday bombings.
World leaders and travel industry players alike have expressed their heartbreak and confirmed the safety of their tour groups.
The death toll reached almost three hundred people yesterday following a string of explosions set off across three Sri Lankan churches and four hotels predominantly in Colombo on Easter Sunday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed two Australians, a mother and daughter who were living in Sri Lanka were among the dead and two other Australians were injured.
I can also confirm two other Australian citizens were injured in the attacks. They have received medical treatment for their injuries and are recovering. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of those who have passed away and the injured.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) April 22, 2019
G Adventures and Intrepid Group have both released statements confirming all travellers and group leaders in the region are safe.
Both adventure travel companies have waived change fees for travellers with future bookings who wish to postpone and G Adventures has advised all their tours currently taking place in Sri Lanka have been rerouted to avoid Colombo.
Sri Lanka is a beautiful country that, without doubt, has endured a turbulent past. This horrific attack on innocent lives is devastating, and our thoughts are with the local people and visitors whose lives have been irreversibly impacted.
— G Adventures (@gadventures) April 21, 2019
The small-group tours company said it had advised its travellers to contact family and friends to confirm they are safe, but the government has temporarily blocked social media networks and messaging apps so communications may be delayed.
“We cannot allow this wave of division to further separate humanity. We must use this tragic loss to unite us,” said G Adventure founder Bruce Poon Tip.
“It’s my belief that compassion for all people, combined with an understanding of different backgrounds, religions and cultures, has the potential to be the fastest path to peace.”
Shangri-La Colombo, one of the hotels affected by the attacks, has posted a statement to Twitter expressing its deep sadness and shock.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked by the attacks in Colombo and we will continue to work closely with local authorities and emergency services to provide our fullest assistance and support to all affected parties,” the statement said.
— Shangri-La Colombo (@ShangriLaCMB) April 22, 2019
World leaders were united in condemning the attacks and expressing their condolences to those affected.
“Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels,” US President Donald Trump tweeted. “… We stand ready to help!”
Spoke to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka this morning to inform him that the United States stands by him and his country in the fight against terrorism. Also expressed condolences on behalf of myself and the People of the United States!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2019
“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating,” New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said in a written statement.
“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.”
“We are deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. We firmly condemn these odious acts. We stand by the people of Sri Lanka and our thoughts go out to the loved ones of the victims on this Easter Sunday,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
We are deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. We firmly condemn these odious acts. We stand by the people of Sri Lanka and our thoughts go out to the loved ones of the victims on this Easter Sunday. https://t.co/NytqQP9aE7
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 21, 2019
Pope Francis also commented on the attacks during his Easter Sunday message to tens of thousands of people in St. Peters Square.
“I learned with sadness and pain of the news of the grave attacks, that precisely today, Easter, brought mourning and pain to churches and other places where people were gathered in Sri Lanka,” he said.
“I wish to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence.”