In light of the devastating bombings that killed hundreds of people in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, the country’s tourism board has released an update for travellers.
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (Sri Lanka Tourism) said they will continue to engage with high-level government officials and tourism stakeholders in order to assess the situation and have taken all necessary steps to ensure all possible assistance is provided to tourists in need of help.
“Sri Lanka Tourism is deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless violence and unreservedly condemns these dastardly acts,” the tourism authority said.
“We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to all the victims and their families while wishing a speedy recovery to all those injured and currently receiving treatment.”
In the immediate aftermath of the explosions, Sri Lanka Tourism deployed trained emergency response teams and its representatives at hospitals, affected hotels and the airport to assist tourists in any way possible including hotel transfers, airline bookings, airport transfers, itinerary changes, hospital treatment, contacting their loved ones and reuniting missing family members through diplomatic channels.
Sri Lanka Tourism said it wishes to assure tourists already in the country and unaffected by the attacks that the police, tourism police and security forces are jointly implementing a comprehensive security plan to ensure their safety across the island including all important tourism sites.
The authority also confirmed a security briefing was held on 22nd April for hotel owners and operators on the new safety measures that are being rolled out and to seek their cooperation in strengthening security at hotels and resorts.
“Sri Lanka Tourism would like to reassure the world that the country is open for business and all possible measures have been taken to ensure the safety and security of tourists,” the tourism authority said.
“Our world famous tourism sites, hotels, resorts and other tourist attractions will remain open as usual. There are no road closures or restrictions on movement anywhere on the island.
“Sri Lanka is a proudly diverse nation which celebrates its multicultural nature. Since the end of the war a decade ago, Sri Lanka has enjoyed absolute peace and it will do everything within its power to maintain the peace that every Sri Lankan cherishes and rebuild what has been destroyed with renewed vigour.
“There is no place for terrorism of any kind in Sri Lanka and whoever that is responsible for the Easter Sunday violence will be hunted down and punished in the strongest possible manner.
“Sri Lanka Tourism looks forward to warmly welcome all those who have planned trips to the country in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
Meanwhile, DFAT has released fresh warnings to Australian travellers, advising they should reconsider their need to travel to Sri Lanka.
According to the Smart Traveller website, terrorists are likely to carry out further attacks in Sri Lanka.
“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Security has been stepped up across the island. A State of Emergency and night-time curfew remain in place,” the warning reads.
The Easter Sunday attack targetted three Sri Lankan churches and four hotels predominantly in Colombo. The death toll has been downgraded from 359 to 253, with authorities citing difficulty in identifying body parts led to an inaccurate number, according to Al Jazeera.