Following Sri Lanka’s successful containment of COVID-19, Sri Lanka Tourism has been collaboratively exploring avenues of re-positioning Sri Lanka as the world’s number one destination with an excellent health care system, by introducing extensive health and safety protocols to ensure a ‘Safe and Secure’ traveller experience.
Through an extensive consultative process with all stakeholders within the tourism sector, a comprehensive operational guideline with health protocols has now been made available as of June 2020. Version 1 of the guidelines includes arrival and departure procedures, airport and travel options within the country and guidelines for accommodation, tourist facilities, travel operators, tourist attractions and responsibilities of local authorities interacting with tourists. Several relief measures to the tourism industry stakeholders have been given. The COVID-19 health certification scheme for the accommodation sector will be certified by MOH and going forward by an independent audit firm. More details will be available at www.sltda.gov.lk in the coming week
Building on the existing relationship with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sri Lanka Tourism reached out to UNDP Sri Lanka to extend technical and management assistance to the Sri Lankan tourism sector in its post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.Accordingly, work is underway with UNDP Sri Lanka to develop a Resilient Roadmap for the Tourism Sector, a comprehensive travel app ‘Visit Sri Lanka’, immediate donor coordination and procurement support, and co-hosting a roundtable discussion with partners on the Roadmap and way forward.
Understanding the importance of working together to create a resilient tourism industry in the country, Sri Lanka Tourism together with the Minister has been in close contact with all stakeholders including departments, provincial and local authorities, and tourism associations in order to streamline the procedures that have been put in place. This included meeting with The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), Sri Lanka Association for Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), Association for Small & Medium Enterprises in Tourism (ASMET) National Tourist Drivers Association (NTDA), Chauffeur Tourist Guides Lecturer Association (CTGLA), Sri Lanka Institute of National Tourist Guides Lectures, and many universities and regional organizations.
With the decision to reopen all international airports in August 2020, Sri Lanka Tourism was quick to inform the same along with other promotional communication material being developed to cater to key markets in line with easing travel restrictions from around the world. These included exclusive interviews with Aljazeera TV and RossiyskayaGazeta- a leading Russian newspaper, and a feature at the upcoming Trip.Com tourism promotion event in Shanghai, China and the Virtual Sri Lanka Tourism Conclave in India.
Through strategic partnerships and networks, Sri Lanka Tourism has also been given free coverage for a month through a partnership with BBC Global News. In this ‘new normal’ Sri Lanka Tourism has also been invited to share insights and strategic direction for the tourism sector through virtual webinars organized by Cinnamon Hotels, Advocata Institute and Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference, Exhibition & Event Organisers (SLAPCEO). A bilateral meeting was also held with the Indian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, to look at new avenues of partnership to invite tourists from India who are interested in the RavanaYathra and Buddhist tourism options offered by Sri Lanka Tourism.
Working closely with the Ministry of Defence, Sri Lanka Tourism is looking to strengthen the Police Tourist cadre stationed across the country to further ensure the safety and security of all travellers. In this light, a comprehensive survey has also been carried out to understand the readiness of tourist entities and employees in welcoming tourists back to our island nation.
“Sri Lanka Tourism looks to create and strengthen a resilient tourism industry by working together with stakeholders across all sectors to achieve a ‘Safe and Secure’ destination of choice for travellers” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Ms. Kimarli Fernando stated.