Cruise ships return to Sri Lanka as security improves
ECONOMYNEXT – Cruise ships have begun calling at Sri Lanka’s ports as security improved and travel advisories are being lifted as authorities quickly arrested and shut down an Islamist terror network that had carried out the attack.
Aitken Spence Maritime, agents for Hapag-Lloyd, said the shipping groups MS Europa 2 cruise ship called at Sri Lanka’s Colombo and Hambantota ports on from June 05 to June 08.
The vessel had 309 passengers and 356 crew onboard.
"We are … delighted that Aitken Spence Maritime facilitated the first cruise ship to call on two ports of Sri Lanka after the unfortunate incidents that took place in April 2019," Iqram Cuttilan, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Maritime, said in a statement.
"It is also encouraging for the team to see their efforts materialise and with the Group’s active involvement in the leisure industry, the company will continue to offer comprehensive synergised services to cruise operators."
Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten had also selected Sri Lanka as port to for passengers to begin and end their voyages.
The cruise line will continue to make regular calls at Colombo, Hambantota, Trincomalee and Galle during the 2019/2020 season, Aitken Spence said.
Sri Lanka’s tourism arrivals fell 70 percent in May after Islamist suicide bombers hit churches and hotels in April as over countries slapped travel bans.
India and a number of European countries have since relaxed their earlier travel advisories to stop non-essential travel. UK relaxed its travel advisory on June 06.
Sri Lanka has said most members of an extremist Islamist group which apparently had links with Islamic State which carried out the bombings have been caught. Security had been tightened around the country.
The group was well-known to the authorities and had been tracked. (Colombo/June10/2019)