Colombo: One week on from the deadliest terror attacks perpetrated in the country since the end of the civil war, Sri Lanka Tourism said it has taken measures taken to ensure the safety and security of tourists and outlines strategic plans to rebuild tourism stakeholder confidence to ensure the vital recovery of the tourism industry that supports one in 10 families in Sri Lanka.
‘Sri Lankan’s are among the warmest and nurturing people on earth when guests arrive on our shore’s they become family’ said Kishu Gomes, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism. ‘And when the family is hurt the entire community comes together to protect, nurture, mourn and grieve and heal together…this is our way and it has been our way from the beginning of time.’ He continued ‘the promise of Sri Lanka is a promise of hope, of family, of deep awareness, of tolerance, of diversity, of sincere connection to humanity and nature and of generosity; we will live the promise of our motherland and we ask anyone who has ever visited us, relished our food, brewed our teas, cheered our cricket or just marveled at the beauty of a full moon to become ambassadors of kindness and compassion everywhere they go. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support and solidarity from people everywhere and look forward to welcoming the world back home to Sri Lanka’
Gomes said that It is important to review emergency response protocol in the immediate aftermath of the attacks; Sri Lanka Tourism was focused on organizing our response in emergency care and assistance, providing access to clear and accurate information and working with all national and local law enforcement agencies and foreign missions to ensure the safety and security of tourists.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack’s we rolled out our emergency response protocol; trained teams were deployed to the affected hotels, all hospitals, and the airport to ensure that all tourists directly affected by the attacks received the all the care, attention and assistance they needed.
Tourists already in the country and those scheduled to arrive in the hours and days following the attacks were also an immediate priority. In addition to the help desks at hotels, airports, and tourist information centers Sri Lanka Tourism set up an emergency hotline to ensure tourists and their loved ones back home had access to accurate information and the entire suite of emergency services; updated information continues to be issued via local & global media, social media, and foreign missions on a regular basis.
‘Addressing security issues is a prerequisite for the revival of tourism and we continue working closely with all relevant authorities to support all foreign nationals in the country. Sri Lankan police and forces are working tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of all tourists currently in Sri Lanka. This is absolutely our first priority’ said Gomes
With one in every ten Sri Lankan families depending on tourism for their livelihood both directly and indirectly, Sri Lanka Tourism is focused on ensuring that the right groundwork is laid to drive an effective and efficient recovery for this critical industry.
"We cannot allow ourselves to become paralyzed by fear, nearly half a million families across the island depend on us for their daily living; the impact on our economy must be mitigated. We are working to regain the confidence of global travelers and operators by demonstrating that Sri Lanka’s response to the incident is effective while reassuring future tourists that all appropriate steps are being taken by the Sri Lanka Government to prevent any future incidents and ensure the continued safety and security tourists within the country,’ said Gomes
Several high-level cross-industry working sessions that included both the public and private sector stakeholders have been conducted with the objective of outlining the strategic framework of the recovery strategy accompanied by a phased out action plan with the clear aim of minimizing the financial impact of cancellations and to maintain and rebuild the country brand and manage the long-term impact of this tragic incident.