Efforts underway to assist stranded tourists | Daily News

Efforts underway to assist stranded tourists

The Tourism Ministry on Wednesday said efforts were ongoing to assist over 11,000 tourists who were stranded in the country due to the closure of airports globally following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

In a statement, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), which is part of the Tourism Ministry said that as of May 4, a total of 11,389 tourists were currently in Sri Lanka and the government had requested them to register with the recently launched "Tourist & Expatriate Support Center" website.

Sri Lanka Tourism is also in the process of gathering details of all the international tourists, businessmen and expatriates engaged in the tourism industry of Sri Lanka in the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic in the country, the SLTDA said.

"COVID-19 was a severe blow to the Tourism industry which was still recovering after the Easter Sunday attacks last April. On March 12 when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, there were 76,224 foreign travelers in Sri Lanka," Sri Lankan Tourism Chairperson, Kimarli Fernando said.

"Immediately, a 24/7 call center was set up to assist tourists and with transportation issues in times of curfew, outbound flight tickets were allowed to be used as curfew passes to reach the airport. Sri Lanka Tourism is also liaising with the foreign ministry, embassies, airport authorities and airlines to facilitate safe departures," Fernando added.

Sri Lanka closed its international airports for all incoming passenger flights from March 17 as COVID-19 cases rose in the island country. (Xinhua)


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