Multiple blasts that rocked Sri Lanka during Easter celebrations actually failed to dent its spirit and the emerald nation is back and running on its feet, Sri Lanka's Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga today said.
"We would like to tell you that Sri Lanka is as much safe as it was before April 21 attacks," Amaratunga said. The minister accepted that such acts of terror do hit the business but the Lanka government has ensured that the safety of tourists will be ensured at all costs.
"India accounts for almost 20 per cent of tourists coming to Sri Lanka and we would like to take it further. We feel that by coming to Colombo Prime Minister Narendra Modi ensured that all fears are allayed. India has always offered a helping hand," Amaratunga said in an event that was organised to showcase the rich cultural heritage highlighting the tourism potential of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is fast emerging as a big tourist destination for people across the globe. Be it the pristine beaches across the country or mountains of Kandy that offers you a divine solitude, Sri Lanka offers all.
Sri Lanka by far is emerging as the most sought after tourist destination.
Sri Lanka wildlife also attracts many nature lovers and if you are tired of a jungle safari, the tea gardens of Lanka are there for you.
Minister Amaratunga and Sri Lanka High Commissioner to India, Austin Fernando urged the Indian tourists to explore Sri Lanka at least once.
“Even after the easter terror attack most of the tourists in Colombo were Indians. What another endorsement can we ask," Amaratunga said.
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Austin Fernando said that he has been in touch with the new External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and that India and Sri Lanka have been working closely to combat issues.
“India is a very important country to us. The biggest chunk of our tourism comes from India. Sri Lankan Airlines is rolling out special tourism packages for Indians, Indians have been great tourists over the years”, ambassador Fernando said.
Highlighting how tourists from India have played a pivotal role in Lanka's economy, Sri Lanka's Tourism Development Authority Chairman Kishu Gomes said, "An average Indian tourist spends over USD 1000 when in Sri Lanka, the figure drops to USD 700 for Americans and USD 500 for British. India is called a mid-income country but clearly they have better spending power”, he said.
Kishu Gomes also confirmed that many nations including China have withdrawn their travel advisory against Sri Lanka that was issued in wake of terror attacks.
"Come visit Sri Lanka. Explore its untapped beauty. Immerse your self in nature. We have ensured world-class facilities for tourists," he said.
Sri Lanka's Tourism Minister John Amaratunga also announced that his country was offering a lot of discounted packages for Indian tourists.
"This is a great time to visit Sri Lanka, the weather there is pleasant, hovering around 28-degree Celsius," Amaratunga said pointing to Delhi's nearing 45-degree Celsius heat.
Amaratunga also ensured that safety was highest on Lankan government's priority and they will do whatever it takes for the country to unlock its tourism potential.
Visit now to actually know what #SoSriLanka means!
(Inputs from Sidhant Mamtany and Himanshu Shekhar)