The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) yesterday welcomed the arrival of the first group of tourists to Sri Lanka since the country reopened its borders for tourism this week.
In a statement to the media, THASL President Sanath Ukwatte expressed optimism for the success of the pilot programme and said he is confident the hotels participating in the government’s post-COVID-19 tourism programme are capable and trained to handle tourism in the ‘new normal’.
«We have had several COVID-19 positive cases during this period and have successfully managed such cases with the highest health standards and in strong collaboration with health and military authorities. There have been no cases of transmission to the community from those who have quarantined in hotels,» said Ukwatte.
He pointed out that Sri Lanka has already provided quarantine accommodation to nearly 60,000 arrivals from over 130 countries since the airport closed to tourism in March, and hotels across the island nation have been actively participating in the quarantine programme led by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the military.
Ukwatte stressed that while the MoH and the Tourism Ministry have issued extensive and strict rules for hotels participating in the pilot tourism programme, hotels that are allowed to accept tourists in the new travel bubble concept are already vetted by the relevant authorities.
He shared that all hotels in the programme have also built-in isolation and medical centres to care for tourists diagnosed with COVID19.
Ukwatte said THASL is confident that Sri Lankan hotels, which have already managed thousands of quarantined individuals and several hundred COVID19 cases effectively, are geared and highly capable of managing any new cases that may be detected.
Commenting on the positive cases detected in the first charter flight that arrived from Ukraine this week, Ukwatte said, “I wish the three Ukrainian tourists a speedy recovery. We all want to see them successfully recover from this illness in the quickest possible time.”
“We are confident that with the care and attention provided by the medical authorities and our hotels that not only will we see an effective recovery for our visitors but also the beginning of the recovery of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry following two terrible years of back to back crises,” he added.