September 22, 2019
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    Lifting ‘State of Emergency’ a huge boost to tourism industry Featured

    August 25, 2019

    The lifting of Sri Lanka’s ‘State of Emergency’ on Thursday will give a huge boost to the revival of tourism, which took a major hit after the Easter Sunday terror attacks.Tourism industry officials said that, even though several countries had relaxed their Travel Advisories (TA), these TAs are still at the Category 2 and Category 3 level, which denotes “Be Cautious” when travelling to Sri Lanka.Some countries such as Russia had, however, not relaxed their TA.


    Former President of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Travel Operators, Mahen Kariyawasam, said the removal of ‘Emergency’ rule is a very positive move and would help in the recovery of tourism efforts.“Even though many countries had relaxed their TAs, they were at a category where government officials are not advised to travel (to Sri Lanka). A forthcoming major business conference is unable to invite government officials from other countries for this reason, which would now help in their participation,” he said.
    President of the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka, Trevor Rajaratnam, said the move would send a positive message to the rest of the world, that Sri Lanka is open for travel. “It’s a huge positive move and will also help airlines, which depend on more inbound travellers,” he added.Sri Lanka Convention Bureau Senior Manager Achini Dandunnage said that, although the TAs were relaxed, the ‘State of Emergency’ was a deterrent to business travellers. “With the lifting of the ‘Emergency’, hopefully, TAs will be further relaxed,” she said.
    An Ella Street Food Fiesta was organised recently by the Department of Industrial Development - Uva Province‘Emergency’ rule permits the government to mobilise the armed forces on the streets, among other security-related measures.Meanwhile, the Bohra International Convention, with the arrival of 21,000-25,000 followers of this minority Muslim community, from 40 countries, to be held from September 1-10 at the Bohra headquarters at Bambalapitiya, is another positive boost to business tourism. This is the largest single gathering of foreign visitors to Sri Lanka.

     

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