Crisanthe De Silva, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka says

Sri Lanka is safe, open and needs your support

_A Monitor Report1 Jul, 2019 | 448 Views|-+
Dhaka : Sri Lanka has returned to normalcy after the tragic events of Easter Sunday that interrupted a decade of peace and prosperity in the island. Now, Sri Lanka Tourism is illustrating what Sri Lankans are best at_ moving forward.

With authorities' strategic operations carried out to contain the situation and the arrest of those responsible, Sri Lanka is rapidly returning to regularity and the industry is readying itself for what would have been a record year of growth for the tourism industry.

As part of Sri Lanka's plan for destination recovery acceleration through focused and strategic marketing and aggressive promotion strategies, the High Commission of Sri Lanka held a tourism promotion and discussion programme at the embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh on June 18.

Crisanthe De Silva, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, Sameera Dayasekara, Second Secretary of Sri Lanka High Commission, Chinthaka Weerasinghe, Regional Manager and Shermal Perera, Country Manager from Sri Lankan Airlines, Aruna Rathnayaka, General Manager of Sri Lankan Airline's GSA were present among others on the occasion.

Among the invitees were experts of the travel trade industry_ Mohammed Jalaluddin Tipu, MD of Talon Corporation Ltd., Md. Zahirul Alam Bhuiyan, CEO of Discovery Tours and Logistic, Md. Iftakhar Alam Bhuiyan, CEO of New Discovery Tours and Logistics, Md Rezaul Karim, CEO of Sky Holidays, Kashef Rahman, CEO of Travel Booking, Ajit Kumar Saha, CEO of Lexus Holidays, Misbah Al Ahmed Mazumder, Manager of Ace Aviation, Khawaja Billal of Bex Trade Holidays, Md Rashedul Huda, Deputy Manager of Wings Classic Tours and Travels Ltd and Kazi Wahidul Alam, Editor of The Bangladesh Monitor.

The purpose was to call upon the travel trade partners in Bangladesh ensuring them the country is now safe and secure. Thus they can continue their operations to promote Sri Lanka as a desired tourism destination in the region.

At the programme, Crisanthe De Silva, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka explained that in the immediate wake of the attack, the full force of Sri Lanka's highly experienced Tri forces were deployed across the island and it is confirmed that all the suspects of this small but deadly cell have been identified and apprehended.

Sri Lanka Tourism is working with the Air Force and Airport authorities to minimise the inconvenience caused by these improved security procedures, mentioned the High Commissioner.

These improvements are reflecting well, given that Airport arrivals data indicates that Sri Lanka is welcoming an average of 1500-1800 daily arrivals since April 21.

Updating hotel security protocols without harming the convenience of the guests is another focus of the government currently. Enhanced security protocol has been deployed by the hoteliers association along with Sri Lanka Tourism that are rolled out across core areas.

The discussion also aimed to solve any operational barrier the stakeholders of Bangladesh are facing in this regard.

A key problem for the tour operators in Bangladesh turned out to be high airfare of SriLankan Airlines. It is not competitive compared to flights to other destinations in the region such as Thailand, Indonesia etc. Also, paying in cash for the flights is a hassle and there is no seat allocated for their holidays’ sale either, the tour operators pointed out.

In response, the Regional Manager of SriLankan Airlines said that they have lessened the price of their flights as much as possible. Anything more could risk the sustainability of the flight operations.

In this regard, the High Commissioner said that the packages, SriLankan Airlines is offering can come in handy. The airfare and packages combined, become competitive to other Asian countries which can be a possible win-win situation for all.

Nonetheless, making the process of booking holidays seats have to be made more hassle free because modern travellers seek convenient travel. Card payment has to be offered. Lastly, seats have to be allocated for holidays sales so that none fails to book.

The High Commissioner promised to make strong recommendations to the airline about these challenges and have possible solutions ready by July.

Lastly, Crisanthe De Silva, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, concluded, "And now that the country is safe after Easter Sunday attacks, our world class resorts, pristine beaches, Sigiriya, parks, royal kingdoms, ayurvedha retreats, luxury boutiques, tea shops, street food hawkers, sapphire stores, virgin rain forests, majestic nature trails, famous tea gardens, gourmet restaurants, theatres, handloom stores and last but not the least, our hearts are open."

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