SL great place to visit – Cooray

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Despite the economic issues, Sri Lanka is still a great place to visit, said The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) past President, Hiran Cooray.

“This is a wonderful opportunity and time for international tourists to visit Sri Lanka. Despite the crises, the tourists are well-served by local hotels and tour operators,” Cooray said, speaking at a Media briefing.

He added “Foreign diplomats and ambassadors tell me that they haven’t received any complaints from their citizens about their stay in Sri Lanka. This clearly shows that foreigners visiting Sri Lanka are safe and are having a great time.

“The huge crowds at Sri Lanka vs. Australia cricket matches, paints a picture that despite the economic crisis, there are no hurdles for entertainment. The Pakistan tour is to follow. The depreciation of the rupee will not affect tourists, as they carry foreign currency.”

THASL President M. Shanthikumar said negative stories from news media and social media is affecting the tourism industry. “While the economic crisis needs to be reported, the media, activists, civil society, and politicians should also communicate that the tourists are safe and welcome in Sri Lanka.”

When queried regarding transport issues, private sector tour operators replied “Any tourist booking through tour operators registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) will not have any transport issues.”

The Sri Lankan tourism industry provides direct or indirect employment to over five hundred thousand persons, while three million people are dependent on tourism. The total inventory (rooms) in the country registered with SLTDA is over forty thousand, and there are also a similar amount of accommodation options available in the informal sector.

By Rajiesh Seetharam