Colombo, July 3 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga on Monday warned of stern action against anyone caught harassing tourists who visit the island country.
Amaratunga said he had held a meeting with the Inspector General of Police and other senior police officials and police patrolling would be increased in the tourist areas.
However he said, no serious complaints against tourists had been recorded to date and the government would take all steps possible to ensure the safety of the travelers.
“Not a single complaint has come to me. This is a sabotage. There have been some cases of harassment but not to the extent what some people are saying. Not even the embassies have complained to me,” Amaratunga said.
“Normally what happens is that those who face any issues have to complain to the embassies and then we are notified. I admit there have been complaints here and there that tourists have been pulled and they have been forced to get into a taxi where the tourists have managed to scare the perpetrators off. But other than that there have been no major incidents of rape etc.,” the Minister added.
He further said Sri Lanka was depending on the Chinese and Indian market to boost its tourist arrivals and the country was expecting an influx of tourists during the season period, starting September.
“Our concentration now mainly is on the Chinese and Indian market. This is mainly because there are directs air links between Colombo and several cities in China and India. We hope to achieve a larger number from these countries,” Amaratunga said.
Sri Lanka’s Tourism market has seen a positive growth since the end of the country’s civil conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels which ended in May 2009.
Tourism has become the second highest earner of foreign exchange and Amaratunga said that with the launch of new hotels in the country, they hoped to bring in 45,000 rooms in the coming few years.
Last year over 2 million tourists arrived in Sri Lanka and this year the government is expecting 2.5 million arrivals.