Advertisement
Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Assures Hoteliers Financial Aid, Reviving Tourism

President Sirisena acknowledged during his meeting on Monday with the country's hoteliers, that the tourism and hotel industries were worst hit after the string of powerful blasts ripped through three churches and as many luxury hotels on Easter Sunday.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Assures Hoteliers Financial Aid, Reviving Tourism
President Of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena | File Photo
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Assures Hoteliers Financial Aid, Reviving Tourism
outlookindia.com
2019-04-30T13:49:57+05:30

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, has assured the hoteliers that they will be given financial relief by the government to revive the lucrative tourism industry, hit by the country's worst terror attack on Easter Sunday that killed 253 people, including 40 foreigners.

Tourism accounts for about five per cent of Sri Lanka's economy, with India, Britain and China being the main markets.

India is the largest source market for Sri Lanka, which received 2.3 million tourists from around the world in 2018.

Around 450,000 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka last year, and the island nation was expecting the total Indian tourist arrivals to cross one million in 2019.

President Sirisena acknowledged during his meeting on Monday with the country's hoteliers, that the tourism and hotel industries were worst hit after the string of powerful blasts ripped through three churches and as many luxury hotels on Easter Sunday, killing 253 people and injuring more than 500 others.

The bombs tore through three five-star hotels in Colombo, which were, The Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri La and the Kingsbury. Forty foreigners, including 11 Indian nationals, died in the attacks.

Sirisena requested Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy to provide "maximum financial relief" immediately to the hoteliers, Sunday Times reported.

Hotels Association President Sanath Ukwatte, said hoteliers had invested large sums of money in the development of the hotels and requested the government to provide a moratorium or waiver on the capital and interest for a period of at least two years.

During the meeting, the hoteliers also asked the government to hire the services of a professional public relations and communications unit to send out one message to the world.

President Sirisena agreed to appoint a Cabinet sub-committee to look into the requirements of the hoteliers, the report said.

The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Ministers, ministry officials and members of the industry.

The Easter Sunday blasts were the first time that tourists were specifically targeted.

Following the bombings, the US, Britain, Australia, India and Israel warned their nationals against visiting Sri Lanka.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera recently told reporters that tourism will be the worst affected.

"We expect a 30 per cent drop in arrivals and that means a loss of about USD 1.5 billion in foreign exchange," Samaraweera said, adding that the country could take up to two years to fully recover from the deadly bombings, which shattered a decade of peace in the country.

Mount Lavinia Hotel south of the capital, a popular site for the tourists, has said there have been a large number of cancellations.

Galle Face Hotel top official Chandra Mohotti also said, "there will be huge cancellations".

In his first reaction to Sunday's blasts, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the tourism industry will be hit by the blasts.

"There will be a downward trend, Tourism will get affected. There may be fund outflows," he said.

The industry officials said the rebound from the attacks would depend on the security measures to be adopted.

Sri Lanka's tourism industry faced a difficult time until a decade ago, due to the three-decade civil war with the LTTE which claimed at least 100,000 lives.

However, in recent years the island nation has emerged as a top tourist destination in Asia.

(PTI)

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

'Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani': Shah Rukh Khan As The Symbol Of Indianness

'Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani': Shah Rukh Khan As The Symbol Of Indianness

SRK’s persona evokes the kind of Indianness that denies categorisation into singular, exclusive identities. And thrives on making others feel welcome.

Army Jawan, Two Cops Wounded In Heavy Exchange Of Fire In Valley

Army Jawan, Two Cops Wounded In Heavy Exchange Of Fire In Valley

Police detenue to identify hideouts in Poonch fail to extract arrested Pak militant used as guide, after coming under heavy fire from militants

T20 World Cup: India Have Edge Over Pakistan - Stats Preview

T20 World Cup: India Have Edge Over Pakistan - Stats Preview

So far India have won all their five matches against Pakistan in T20 World Cups since 2007 - all of them under the leadership of Dhoni.

Global Desi: Raj Or Rahul, SRK Is Equally At Home In New York Or Patiala

Global Desi: Raj Or Rahul, SRK Is Equally At Home In New York Or Patiala

Marking the transition between old and new India, SRK’s characters and his stardom represent Bollywood as simultaneously Indian and global.

Advertisement