UK security minister pledges support to revive Sri Lanka tourism
ECONOMYNEXT – The United Kingdom’s Minister for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace pledged support to revive Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, badly hit by Easter Sunday’s suicide bombings which killed over 250 people, including 8 British nationals.
“I have discussed our current travel advice and been clear that we hope to see the Sri Lankan tourism industry return to full strength,” he was quoted as saying in a statement from the British high commission.
“We will do all we can to help the Sri Lankan authorities with this,” Wallace said after a two-day visit to Sri Lanka.
Wallace met President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, other government ministers, military and religious leaders, senior government officials and leading figures from the Sri Lankan tourism sector.
He discussed the impact on Sri Lanka of the attacks on three churches and three hotels carried out by Islamists extremists.
Wallace also discussed how to address the security threat, identify what further support the UK can provide and received an update on the ongoing investigations, the statement said.
He visited the Cinnamon Grand and Shangri-La Hotels, sites where British nationals were killed in the attacks and met hotel staff, and visited the St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, and laid wreaths at all three sites.
“The attack on innocent worshippers and tourists sought to sow division and hate and it must not be allowed to succeed,” Wallace said.
“In times like this friends support each other. I visited, on behalf of the UK government, to offer that support and stand in solidarity with the Sri Lankan people.”
(COLOMBO, May 03, 2019-SB)