Sri Lanka tightens security, plans travel insurance to boost arrivals

ECONOMYNEXT  – Sri Lanka is planning travel insurance for tourists and has tightened security at hotels and tourist attractions while making rapid progress in closing down a terror network which carried out bombings on Easter Sunday, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said.

"The government is also considering a travel insurance scheme, the quantum will be worked out," Minister Amaratunga said.

"The industry has suggested 100,000 to 150,000 dollars of cover. Already we have had cabinet approval."

Some global travel agencies had stopped selling Sri Lanka over the reluctance of insurance companies to provide cover, Sri Lanka Association Inbound Travel Operators Haritha Perera said.

Amaratunga said security forces were making progress in arresting those responsible for the Easter Sunday bombings.

Security had been tightened at hotels and tourist attractions to improve security.

Officials are planning to communicate the improving security to the diplomatic community, to persuade them to relax travel advisories.

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Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomez said 37 travel advisories had been issued. In May, which is the so-called off-season for beach tourism, about 40 percent of last years’s visitors or around 1700 to 1800 visitors were arriving, despite travel advisories, he said.

Perera said most of them were independent travellers using international booking engines.

Amaratunga said promotional campaigns are also planned with price reductions.

Talks were also underway with international airlines to negotiate lower ticket prices. (Colombo/May08/2019-SB)