The Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Mrs. Kimarli Fernando, has put forward a proposal to provide vaccinations for the tourism industry with the hopes of resuming all Sri Lanka tourism activities as normal. The Minister of Tourism Hon. Prasanna Ranathunga has approved this proposition and together with the Ministry of Health a special vaccination program will commence in the coming weeks.
Stakeholders of the tourism industry are now registering and sending in information to the program. All employees of the Safe and Secure certified hotel amounting to 12,503 employees have now registered. Along with the registered tour guides: 2737 and tourist drivers: 1816 who play a significant role in tourism industry will receiving the jab to fight Covid-19. Moreover, all staff members of all four tourism institutions and the Ministry of Tourism totaling, 658 individuals are added to the program.
A main priority of the authority being the health and safety of the overall tourism industry, Sri Lanka Tourism is experiencing impeccable feedback from the industry stakeholders on this initiative. With a total of 17,714 persons coming forward with their information to register for the vaccination, the thriving revival of Sri Lanka Tourism is not far along. A total of 5,048 tourist arrivals were recorded by February this year, out of which 9 positive Covid-19 cases were confirmed. Community spread was mitigated with the safety protocols put in place and through this initiative not only will it safeguard and protect the health of the tourism industry as a whole, but further will bring Sri Lanka one step closer to being the safest country for tourists.
Mrs. Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism stated that “the revival of the tourism sector is our primary focus. In doing so, we proposed the special vaccination program, with the support of the tourism and health ministries we will implement the project. We aim to safeguard the stakeholders of the industry and work towards a fairly normal set-up”
Ms. Dhammika Wijesinghe, Director General, Sri Lankan further went on to mention “Attaining a normalcy of operating like pre-pandemic times and uplifting the industry during these periods will have a positive impact on the country’s economy. Thus far, the safety of our people is a core mandate; hence we look forward to working together with the respective ministries and the stakeholders to successfully conduct this action”.