Govt rebuts Canadian travel advisory | Daily News

Govt rebuts Canadian travel advisory

Sufficient stocks of Essentials here:
Erroneous, outdated advisory - Ministry:




Food security and law and order are the topmost priorities of the Government, and the availability of all essentials is considered as a vital part of the Government’s functions, the Foreign Ministry said, reacting to a recent Travel Advisory issued by Canada for Canadians travelling to or in Sri Lanka.

In a press statement yesterday, the Foreign Ministry stressed that high priority is given to ensuring that all essential items continue to be available to the public including tourists at all times and there are sufficient stocks of food items.

The Canadian Government, issuing a Travel Advisory for its citizens in Sri Lanka last Thursday, asked them to keep supplies of food, water and fuel on hand, claiming that the deteriorating economic situation in Sri Lanka is affecting the supply of basic necessities and the delivery of public services. It also referred to several other aspects including safety and security, terrorism, demonstrations and civil unrest, crimes, women’s safety and inter-communal tensions.

Countering this Advisory, the Government yesterday stated that it includes erroneous and outdated information and does not reflect the actual situation in Sri Lanka. The Foreign Ministry said that it has taken steps to apprise the Canadian authorities of the ground realities of the country.

“It is important to note that even though Sri Lanka’s economy has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is making every endeavor to reinvigorate its economy this year, through the implementation of several prudent policies,” the Ministry’s statement added.

“Sri Lanka has successfully overcome the immediate challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now in a state of normality with all public service, corporate and business, and educational activities functioning normally without interruption, in accordance with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The nationwide inoculation programme has been commended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and almost 90 per cent of the eligible population has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. A campaign has been launched to provide the booster dose of the Covid vaccine to the population above 20 years of age.

“Despite the pandemic, Sri Lanka has received several international accolades in the tourism industry including CNN’s “Where to Travel in 2022”; the Global Wellness Institute; Conde Nast Traveller 2021 Reader’s Choice Awards as well as other endorsements received previously in 2019 by Lonely Planet and National Geographic Travel. The Government looks forward to more tourists visiting Sri Lanka from Canada and elsewhere with the gradual normalisation of travel globally,” the statement read.

“With regard to the security situation, the Government of Sri Lanka maintains a minimum presence of the military in the North and the East to ensure security and stability in keeping with national security imperatives and this is similar to such presence elsewhere in the country. There is no arbitrary arrest and detention of persons by the Police or the Security Forces” the Foreign Ministry noted.

It is noteworthy that during this period, there has not been even a single terrorist related incident in Sri Lanka, due to the enhanced vigilance and proactive measures taken by the relevant security authorities. There is no civil unrest in the country. Sri Lanka has a long democratic tradition with strong institutions, and a vibrant civil society. Freedom of association and assembly are safeguarded with peaceful demonstrations occurring in Sri Lanka as in any other country where liberal democratic norms and traditions prevail. The Police have allowed and continue to allow such peaceful demonstrations to take place unimpeded. These demonstrations do not in any way hinder the comfort, movement, safety or activities of tourists,” the Ministry emphasised.

“Specific attention is being paid to the safety and security of women tourists with measures taken to strengthen the presence of Police, including Tourist Police, in all regions. Under this programme, the Police presence is being increased in all popular tourist destinations in the country with a greater presence of women Police Officers in Police stations. Emergency numbers of Tourist Police regional units, local Police, and other Emergency units such as hospitals, are available online to be accessed by travellers to Sri Lanka,” it remarked.

“Sri Lanka is an island nation with friendly people with a high level of education, knowledge of English and literacy, and incidents of harassment or violence against tourists or foreigners are extremely rare,” it added.

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