Sri Lanka Tourism begins destination brand recovery process

One week  from the deadliest terror attacks perpetrated in the country since the end of the civil war, Sri Lanka Tourism discussed measures taken to ensure the safety and security of tourists and outlined strategic plans to rebuild tourism stakeholder confidence to ensure the vital recovery of the tourism industry that supports one in 10 families in Sri Lanka.

“Sri Lankans are among the warmest and most nurturing people on earth, when guests arrive on our shore they become family,” said Kishu Gomes, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism. “And when the family is hurt, the entire community comes together to protect, nurture, mourn and grieve and heal together. This is our way and it has been our way from the beginning of time.”

He continued, “The promise of Sri Lanka is a promise of hope, of family, of deep awareness, of tolerance, of diversity, of sincere connection to humanity and nature and of generosity; we will live the promise of our motherland and we ask anyone who has ever visited us, relished our food, brewed our teas, cheered our cricket or just marvelled at the beauty of a full moon to become ambassadors of kindness and compassion everywhere they go. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, support and solidarity from people everywhere and look forward to welcoming the world back home to Sri Lanka.”

Chairman Kishu Gomes explained that it is important to review emergency response protocol in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Sri Lanka Tourism was focused on organising our response in emergency care and assistance, providing access to clear and accurate information as well as working with all national and local law enforcement agencies and foreign missions to ensure the safety and security of tourists.

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, they rolled out  an emergency response protocol; trained teams were deployed to the affected hotels, all hospitals and the airport to ensure that all tourists directly affected by the attacks received all the care, attention and assistance they needed.

Tourists already in country and those scheduled to arrive in the hours and days following the attacks were also an immediate priority. In addition to the help desk at hotels, airports and tourist information centres, Sri Lanka Tourism set up an emergency hotline to ensure tourists and their loved ones back home had access to accurate information and the entire suite of emergency services; updated information continues to be issued via local and global media, social media and foreign missions on a regular basis.

“Addressing security issues is a prerequisite for the revival of tourism and we continue working closely with all relevant authorities to support all foreign nationals in the country. Sri Lankan police and Tri forces are working tirelessly to ensure the safety and security of all tourists currently in Sri Lanka. This is absolutely our first priority,” said Gomes.

With one in every ten Sri Lankan families depending on tourism for their livelihood both directly and indirectly, Sri Lanka Tourism is focused on ensuring that the right groundwork is laid to drive an effective and efficient recovery for this critical industry.

“We cannot allow ourselves to become paralysed by fear, nearly half a million families across the island depend on us for their daily living; the impact on our economy must be mitigated. We are working to regain the confidence of global travellers and operators by demonstrating that Sri Lanka’s response to the incident is effective while reassuring future tourists that all appropriate steps are being taken by the Sri Lanka Government to prevent any future incidents and ensure the continued safety and security of tourists within the country,” said Gomes. He added, “We are grateful and humbled by the resilience and generosity of all the tourists who have chosen to continue with their holiday in Sri Lanka and we are privileged to continue to welcome hundreds of new tourists every day since the attack. We must ensure wider global tourism communities have renewed confidence in our destination by persevering and so to this end, all planned promotion activity will continue to ensure that our critical tourism industry is protected.”