Colombo, May 30 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister on Tuesday said that despite the devastating floods and landslides which hit the island country this week, it was safe for tourists to arrive as waters were receding.
Minister John Amaratunga, addressing a media briefing here said that after obtaining all the details from the Hotels Association, it came to light that no tourists had been affected by the disaster and neither were any hotels damaged.
He said that Sri Lanka had received some cancellations, but things were now returning to normal as there was no threats of further flooding.
“The storm has now moved away so things are getting back to normal. Relief is also pouring in from other countries. Tourists can visit Sri Lanka without any fear,” Amaratunga said.
He added that tourism revenues would not have to be adjusted and the government was confident of achieving its targets this year.
Amaratunga also said that the Tourism Boards who were attached to the Ministry, would donate Rs.500,000 each to purchase items for the victims of the floods and landslides to construct their homes and for their livelihoods.
In addition the Hoteliers Association and other tourism agencies will also provide aid and relief materials for the affected victims.
Meanwhile Amaratunga said that the threat of a dengue crisis looming in the island country following the floods was also under control as the government had appointed a task force that would visit each village to ensure that there is no spread of dengue or any water borne diseases.
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Hoteliers Association, Sanath Ukwatte said that hotels were taking prompt action in helping the victims of the disaster and they too had set up centers to collect relief items.
He also said that Sri Lanka had not faced any major tourist cancellations due to the floods and all hotels were operating as normal.
“May and June are traditionally low months for tourists. So tourists arrivals have dropped and we have not had any major impact due to the adverse weather or the floods. I am sure that together we can overcome this problem,” he said.
President of SLAITO, the institution handling inbound tourism, Harith Perera, said that May and June being the lowest months, it is fortunate that the tourism industry did not bear any major impact.
“If these floods had occurred during the high tourist season, then the impact would have been major,” he said.
He also said that no tourist sites were also affected by the floods and rains and the itineraries were going on as usual.
During the present floods and landslides, key tourist areas visited by foreigners, namely the coastal belt of the south, east and west, the sacred city of Kandy in the Central Hills, the cultural triangle and the commercial city of Colombo were not affected and easily accessible by road.