Over 359 lives were lost in the devastating Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka and in the days since.
And though the after-effects will continue to be felt, Sri Lanka tourism, which has been an important part of the Sri Lankan economy since the civil war ended a decade ago, released a statement announcing everything is running smoothly and the country is open for business.
Part of the strongly worded release stated, ‘there is no place for terrorism of any kind in Sri Lanka and whoever that is responsible for the Easter Sunday violence will be hunted down and punished in the strongest possible manner’, and then goes on to ‘warmly welcome all those who have planned trips to the country in the days, weeks and months ahead.’
Sri Lanka Tourism condemns acts of violence and terrorism
Following the acts of terror that took place on Easter Sunday, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) have continued to engage with high-level government officials and tourism stakeholders in order to assess the current situation and have taken necessary steps to ensure all possible assistance is provided to tourists in need of help.
Sri Lanka Tourism is deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless violence and unreservedly condemns these dastardly acts. We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to all the victims and their families, while wishing a speedy recovery to all those injured and currently receiving treatment.
In the immediate aftermath of the explosions Sri Lanka Tourism deployed trained emergency response teams and its representatives at hospitals, affected hotels and the airport to assist tourists in any way possible including hotel transfers, airline bookings, airport transfers, itinerary changes, hospital treatment, contacting their loved ones and reuniting missing family members through diplomatic channels.
In addition a 24 hour emergency support desk has been established and can be accessed as follows;
Emergency local hotline number to assist tourists currently in Sri Lanka – 1912
Emergency hotline to assist families of affected foreign nationals +94 11 2322485
The statement goes on to mention Sri Lanka continues to welcome tourists
Sri Lanka Tourism wishes to assure tourists who are already in the country and unaffected by the terror attacks that the police, tourism police and security forces are jointly implementing a comprehensive security plan to ensure their safety across the island including all important tourism sites. Meanwhile a security briefing was held on 22nd April for hotel owners and operators on the new safety measures that are being rolled out and to seek their cooperation in strengthening security at hotels and resorts.
Sri Lanka Tourism would like to reassure the world that the country is open for business and all possible measures have been taken to ensure the safety and security of tourists. Our world famous tourism sites, hotels, resorts and other tourist attractions will remain open as usual. There are no road closures or restrictions on movement anywhere in the island.
Sri Lanka is a proudly diverse nation which celebrates its multicultural nature. Since the end of the war a decade ago, Sri Lanka has enjoyed absolute peace and it will do everything within its power to maintain the peace that every Sri Lankan cherishes and rebuild what has been destroyed with renewed vigour. There is no place for terrorism of any kind in Sri Lanka and whoever that is responsible for the Easter Sunday violence will be hunted down and punished in the strongest possible manner.
Sri Lanka Tourism looks forward to warmly welcome all those who have planned trips to the country in the days, weeks and months ahead.