In the face of prevailing COVID-19 pandemic the Government has taken every possible measure to provide all required facilities notwithstanding the health related restrictions imposed to ensure safety of the public. As the tourism sector is a vital component of the national economy of this country, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa called on the entrepreneurs in the field to get ready to embark on a new journey by overcoming challenges.
The President made these remarks during a discussion with the representatives of the tourism sector held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (17). Heads of line institutes in the tourist industry and leading entrepreneurs were present.
Attention was paid to give priority to the personnel such as hotel employees, tour guides and drivers under the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination programme. It was stated that there is no requirement to quarantine service providers when the tourists are not tested positive.
A decision was taken to shuttle the infected tourists to the hospital in Koggala managed by Lanka Hospital (Pvt) Limited and Sri Lanka Army. President instructed officials to pay due attention to direct the tourists as per the approved tourism plan.
The President advised the relevant officials to take necessary measures to improve facilities for tourists and to take into account the comments made by them when they depart for their respective countries.
The entrepreneurs stated that they will take all steps possible to achieve future goals under proper strategies as the government has already provided necessary reliefs.
During the discussion it was revealed that according to the figures, the percentage of COVID-19 infected tourists, who arrived in the country during the outbreak, is less than 1%.
Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation Basil Rajapaksa said that the advantage of Sri Lanka ranking at the 10th place in the COVID-19 Performance Index for its successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic can be utilized for the promotion of tourism industry. He further stressed that the individuals, who are engaged in tourism should take necessary measures to uplift the industry by adhering to the health guidelines, during this challenging period.
Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga, Acting Health Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana, State Ministers Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle, D.V. Chanaka, Secretary to the President P.B.Jayasundera, Ministry Secretaries, Heads of State Institutions related to the tourism industry, members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Prevention and other officials participated in the discussion.