Govt has taken all measures to make SL safe destination - Premier | Daily News

Govt has taken all measures to make SL safe destination - Premier

Series of financial relief packages introduced successfully
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Tourism Minister John Amaratunge, State Minister of Tourism Development, Ranjith Aluvihare and other officials at Temple Trees yesterday. Pictre by Gayan Pushpika
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Tourism Minister John Amaratunge, State Minister of Tourism Development, Ranjith Aluvihare and other officials at Temple Trees yesterday. Pictre by Gayan Pushpika

The government has done everything to make Sri Lanka safe destination for tourists to travel, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said at Temple Trees yesterday.

The PM assured that all suspects involved in the Easter blasts have been rounded up (or either killed) and more precautions are being taken to ensure that security is in place in just two months. He said that several religious festivals such as the Dalada Perahara in August and other events would take place soon and adequate security measures are in place for them.

The Premier said that in a bid to protect the stakeholders of the tourism industry, series of financial relief measures were successfully introduced. In addition the airlines flying to Colombo were offers concessions in ground handling, landing rates and given fuel concessions and these too would help the speedy recovery of the industry.

The hotels rates too have come down and tourists should make use of this opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka tourism even after the blasts kept on receiving globe encouragement from travel magazines as the best place to travel in 2019.

He said that they were expecting 2019 to the best year for Tourism in Sri Lanka with the expectation of highest revenue and highest number of arrivals. “However we are now experiencing the steady progress in arrivals from 400 per day from two months to around 1,100 per day and this is encouraging.”

Controller General Immigration, Pasan Ratnayake when ask by Daily News said that the revenue loss for the department due to low arrivals up to now due to the Easter blasts would be around Rs. 1.2 billion and a further Rs 4. 3 billion due to offering free visas for six months for 48 nations.

He also said that special arrangements would be made at the airport to felicitate this process. He also advised foreigners using this facility to register online prior to coming to Sri Lanka. “The free visa would be for one month.”

Asked by ‘Daily News’ from the Prime Minister as to how the government was going to compensate the loss, the Premier said that it would be balanced by the higher number of arrivals and the economic benefits that are expected from offering free visa.

Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunge said that the tourism recovery was better than what they expected. “Arrivals in May which was 37,000 increased to around 117, 000 end of July and we will touch the 1.9 million arrival mark this year.”

Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Kishu Gomes said that they will fall US$ 800 million short of the projected revenue from tourism for 2019. 


 

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