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SLAITO opposes sudden C-19 protocols by Sri Lanka Tourism

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FLASH BACK: Minister of Aviation, Nimal Siripala De Silva and former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunge welcoming Russia’s Red Wings airline inaugural flights at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport recently.
FLASH BACK: Minister of Aviation, Nimal Siripala De Silva and former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunge welcoming Russia’s Red Wings airline inaugural flights at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport recently.

Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) lashed out at the Sri Lanka Tourism, against the sudden ‘COVID Protocols’ put in place by Sri Lanka Tourism on arrival of Tourists to Sri Lanka.

“We are shocked and dismayed at the latest ‘Covid Protocols’ put in place by Sri Lanka Tourism, without any warning or discussion with the industry or health authorities,” SA:ITO said in a release.

“We believe this is a job for the health authorities and should be done after full analysis of the situation and in keeping with WHO advice.|Whilst talking about tourism being the ‘lowest hanging fruit’ for economic recovery, we in the industry believe that this protocol coming directly from Sri Lanka Tourism will only serve to kill the industry that was just beginning to raise its head after a year of turmoil. From a destination marketing point of view, many local and foreign tour operators have invested in promoting the destination following the removal of adverse travel advisories.

“Bringing in a new protocol creates another stumbling block and will discourage the foreign tour operators promoting the destination and losing faith in destination Sri Lanka. This protocol is a further impediment considering that the visa fee too, was just increased, at a time when competing destinations are giving free visas to encourage tourists. “We strongly urge the authorities to retract this protocol and await any advice from WHO and the Health Authorities, who are the ones responsible for health related protocols.”

Over 3 million lives or 15% of our population is dependent on the tourism industry and we strongly urge Sri Lanka Tourism to support these lives and not destroy them.

Meanwhile former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunge also raised concern on this issue and said that at a time when the world is OPENING up tourism Sri Lanka by implementing sudden ‘COVID Protocols’ are discouraging tourists and are CLOSING the door for tourists.

“With the recommencement of Russian flights Aeroflot after an uncalled for legal fiesco and also with introduction of new flights like Azur Air and Red Wings, Sri Lanka can expect around 45 flights per week bringing in over 15, 00 Russian tourists per month to Colombo and Mattala Airport. This sudden ‘COVID Protocols’ and also other health restrictions on Russian Arrivals will have a negative factor on them as well.”

He appealed to the Minister for Tourism Harin Fernando to look at this aspect.

 

Monday, January 16, 2023 – 01:00











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