Tourism returning to normal - PM | Daily News


Tourism returning to normal - PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday noted that the tourism industry was returning to normal in the wake of the many necessary measures that have been taken to strengthen the security of the country with a view to ensuring a calm and peaceful atmosphere.

Parallel to these security measures, the country’s tourism industry is gradually improving and raising its head after the Easter Sunday attack, the Premier observed.

The Prime Minister made these remarks while participating in a media briefing held yesterday by the Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Ministry to announce the visa fee exemption programme yesterday at Temple Trees. The new liberalised entry visa is applicable to 48 countries, including all the major tourism markets. Accordingly visitors of these countries are issued tourist visas free for one month. If they extend their stay further then only an additional fee has to be paid.

Addressing the media, the Prime Minister said that all the persons directly and indirectly involved in the Easter Sunday attack were in custody now.

“Within two months of the attack the security forces took all the suspects in the attacks into custody and accordingly around 200 persons, who were directly and indirectly involved in the attack, are now in custody. Investigations are being conducted to improve security further and to maintain this prevailing situation,” he added.

With the improved security measures all the cultural and religious events are being conducted as usual, he pointed out. “The Kandy Dalada Perahera and several other Esala Peraheras are being conducted in several parts of the country, Vel ceremonies of the Hindus are being conducted in Jaffna and Colombo. Christian festivals are being conducted at Tewatte, Thalavila and Madu. All other cultural and religious events will be conducted as usual,” the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister highlighted that special security plan has been implemented to ensure security during the Kandy Esala Perahara season.

“We achieved the highest ever volume of tourist arrivals this year prior to the Easter Sunday attacks. Anyhow, the situation is coming back to normal with the measure taken by the government. Under these measures airport levies have also been brought down,” he added. Parallel to these measures, room charges of tourist hotels have been reduced and discount packages introduced, he said.

The Prime Minister said that all the tourism ratings of the world have not downgraded Sri Lanka even after the attack. It indicates that the country’s popularity as a tourist destination remains.


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