Although efforts are being made to woo more tourists to Sri Lanka by both the Government and the private sector still bitter experiences were being reported sporadically by some foreign tourists travelling in Sri Lanka.
A reader in a letter to the Daily Mirror revealed two of his British friends had to undergo such a bitter experience, while they were in
“Two friends of mine visiting from Britain faced an unfortunate incident on the way and had to spend three hours at the Department of Immigration, where they went to get their visa extended for two days,” the letter read.
“They got into a trishaw on Kinsey Road to get to their destination. The driver, when paid as they came to the end of the journey, said he had no change for Rs. 500 note. The lady got off the trishaw, while her husband drove with the driver, who stopped some distance away and got off, saying he would bring the change.
“He stopped in an alley and never returned. My friend waited for about half an hour and thinking his wife would wonder what had happened found his way on foot to the place where his wife had been dropped off.
“Inside the Department of Immigration, although a friend had telephoned a contact to help them, they were sent from pillar to post, to various desks before finally they got their visas extended after a wait of three and a half hours.
“Apparently, several other tourists were also accorded the same treatment and were heard saying that they would never return to Sri Lanka,” the reader said in his letter.
“This is hardly the way to woo tourists. There should be a more streamlined method and less red tape to deal with tourists, with a separate section for them.
“We hope the Ministry of Tourism will take this matter up with the Immigration Department and see that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.
“The Tourist Police should also be on duty outside the Immigration Department to see that tourists were not taken on a ride by unscrupulous trishaw and taxi drivers,” the letter said.