Sun, 24 Oct 2021 Today's Paper

Viral video by tourist: What he said is misleading, fabricated, SL clarifies

13 October 2021 12:59 pm - 73     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Referring to the recent video by a tourist that went viral on social media, the Airport & Aviation Services Sri Lanka said that what was said in the video is misleading and not the real picture at the airport.

Posting a video on social media recently, a tourist from US has claimed that he was forced to leave the country barely five hours after he had arrived saying the country was under lock-down and was offered no services.

He said the public transportation was not available and hotels and restaurants were also not in operation because of the lock-down.

Responding to the claims made by the tourist that he had booked a taxi service via a third-party website and it was not available once he came down to Sri Lanka, Shehan Sumanasekara, Director Chief of Operations (All Airports) and a Board member at Airport & Aviation Services Sri Lanka said they could not take any responsibility on third party services.

“However, if the reservation was not available when he arrived in Sri Lanka, he could have easily got a cab from the airport arrivals lobby, since we have ten travel counters with many taxi services,” he pointed out.

“In addition, if the tourist had not booked a hotel, he could have consulted our tourism counter at the arrival lobby from where he could have booked a hotel,” he added.

Mr. Sumanasekara said all the facilities were available and the relevant video was misleading and fabricated and it is not the real scenario in the country and at the airports.

Moreover, he said all the airports in Sri Lanka are fully opened for tourists and they only need a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to boarding the aircraft.

When the Daily Mirror contacted Mr. Sumanasekara to inquire about the progress of the probe into the incident, he said the final report of the investigation was handed to the State Minister D.V. Chanaka this morning by the Chairman of the Airport & Aviation Services.

“The content of the probe is that the video was misleading and fabricated and it paints a different picture to the real one,” he added. (Sheain Fernandopulle)


US tourist left SL after 5hours stay

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  Comments - 73

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  • Cisco Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:17 PM

    But damage control is very ineffective as most people believes person earlier said is correct.

    Cisco Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:17 PM

    But damage control is very ineffective as most people believes person earlier said is correct.

    Cisco Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:17 PM

    But damage control is very ineffective as most people believes person earlier said is correct.

    Cisco Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:17 PM

    But damage control is very ineffective as most people believes person earlier said is correct.

    Ranga banda Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:19 PM

    Airport taxi , hotel counters and bank outlets are run by racketeers connected with politicians. There are many touts loitering in the arrival lobby with the help of politicians to make quick money. What the tourist said was correct. AASL; Make the airport a user friendly place before trying to coverup every constructive criticism. Cut down the red tape and stupid bureaucratic nonsense. Like the tourist said..Get your act together AASL.

    practical solutions Wednesday, 13 October 2021 03:02 PM

    Yes. Even from a distance allow the Prius or salon type uber or pick me taxis to line up in a queue like in other countries. a new comet will just hop into one. During the war this may have had challenges. Now adapt.

    Anthony Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:19 PM

    We do agree with all what you say, firstly we should take more care of foreigners even if they have booked through third party and helped him out, and later dealt with the third party. Sri lanka is well recognized where hospitality is concerned and this should be our first priority at the Airport.

    SL Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:20 PM

    looking for an insurance claim?

    Dee Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:31 PM

    Long and short of the story- these are the type of tourists we intend to get down. Come with prepaid budget package. No funds to even take a taxi in an emergency! I don't have 7 brains. But I sure know where this country is heading!

    sumedha Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:48 PM

    that was a damn quick report- in just 2 days. Wish all other committees appointed from time to time also work like this

    George Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:48 PM

    Severe, severe damage to SL income already done. Silence is Golden. Improve facilities, mannerisms and conduct of all airport officials.

    Kandy Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:50 PM

    Mr. Director, it is true that he could have requested assistance if he was jet lagged after travelling for thousands of KM

    Tourist Wednesday, 13 October 2021 01:59 PM

    #Anthony: it is not very hospital letting tourists pay 40 dollars for one PCR test, 120 dollars for one tourist visa, force them to stay in a 1 level hotel and call tourists names by local people in the streets. We don't feel welcome at all in Sri Lanka.

    prabath uduwella Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:02 PM

    Don't come to Sri Lanka if you can't pay for your stay. Poor thing.

    Be Fair Wednesday, 13 October 2021 02:20 PM

    Damage Control is critical. He flew on a long flight probably on a discounted ticket. Any seasoned traveler would have used common sense and acted. We need upmarket clients, not cry babies where the Contribution to our economy is not significant, this guy seems that

    Lalith Wednesday, 13 October 2021 02:40 PM

    Was the tourist contacted and his story clarified before rushing to conclude on what was supposed to be thorough investigation?

    Joseph Wednesday, 13 October 2021 03:10 PM

    Another western conspiracy

    Thimothy joseph Wednesday, 13 October 2021 03:22 PM

    So he is mad to buy a ticket paying almost double the price than it was, fly to sri lanka, see the airport and go back. When have you guys ever accepted anything and found solutions? Pathetic

    FUK junta Wednesday, 13 October 2021 03:27 PM

    As long as there is no law and order, who will come to this goons land? This Junta has created our country as hell on earth.

    BuffaloaCitizen Wednesday, 13 October 2021 03:50 PM

    Oh how sweet, it is normal for Sinhalese to deny deny and deny when something constructively bad is stated in Sri Lanka.

    Sam Silva Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:42 PM

    Why are you targeting any ethnic group. The denial mentality runs in all ethnic groups including you.

    lk Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:52 PM

    you need to get over your racial bias in looking at everything.. your jungle mentality is for the past.. learn to live in a multicultural world, or go live in your cave.

    Antany Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:02 PM

    This could be a part of propaganda to put the country in financial hardship to change the government.

    Raymon Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:18 PM

    Think about it . Does someone come from USA to return back within 5 hours? How much money he would have spend on the trip ?. Definitely something went wrong and cover up is not the best thing . Own it and make necessary changes .

    Tikiri Banda Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:27 PM

    There must be some truth in what the tourist says judging by the fact that AASL has charged Air Condor additional $48.00 for no fault of the airline but due to the faulty credit card payment machine at the the AASL.

    Tourist Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:29 PM

    To Prabath Uduwella: also rich tourists from Europe, US or Australia don't like to get ripped off.

    Mandayan Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:41 PM

    Shooting the messenger!

    Arnold Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:45 PM

    I hope the guy never comes back. If he comes he will be called to CID and BBQed.

    jayt Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:52 PM

    First of he was set up by spies . Don't you know Sri lanka has been in the hit list of global spies? Who are advisers to Indian and Tamil?

    Punchi Banda Wednesday, 13 October 2021 04:56 PM

    The tourist are lying, the Tamils including the Tamil diaspora are lying, the UNHCR is lying, the overseas politicians in Suda countries are lying everyone is picking on poor little good paradise Sri Lanka

    roobarbie Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:03 PM

    OK then Mr Sumanasekara, answer this question. Why have you abandoned the PCR testing at the airport and sending uncontaminated passengers home, soon after Hiru reported on the hotel mafia business and got the minister to chnage the system. The facility has been left abandoned, and all the money spent for it appears to have gone into the businessmens pockets, with no doubt a commission to the Minister. Sri lanka is infested with corruption and the experience of this american may well be right. The country, its rulers, government servants at high levels, and busineesmen are all mentally sick.

    Nish Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:26 PM

    Blaming the victim appears to be the game as usual in SL. Tourists are charged a hefty Visa fee to start with. Then another charge for PCR tests and exorbitant amounts in entrance fees. What hospitality are you talking about? You need to travel the world to see the difference. SL is one of the most expensive places in Asia, and why bother coming there. This all is happening while corrupt politicians and their goons make millions in kickbacks. This is not going to change in near future. Don't come back to SL at all.

    Lankan Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:32 PM

    Officers in the airport don't care about tourism and tourists . The way they treat Sri Lankan migrant workers is evidence to say how they behave... They are busy to collect bribes from all sides in the air port .That is why they do not have time look after people like this . Please find who take bribes in the air port and punsih them so that you can boost our our tourism ..

    Tour guide Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:41 PM

    Nish: I completely agree with you.

    blackwater Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:48 PM

    yes yes he is telling lies only our 225 donkeys speak the truth

    Dirk Thys Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:52 PM

    What a wimp if you travelled around the world to go back after 5 hours????? what was in this guys mind. No money no honey. Was he thinking he could sleep at the beach and hitchhike to it. And get free meals for singing a song.

    Esther Cohen, European Jew Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:53 PM

    jayt: Surely the tourist is a Jewish spy!! And his real name is not George but David.

    Terrence Wednesday, 13 October 2021 05:56 PM

    Govt should tactfully handle this matter instead of casting barbs at this tourist who has expressed the truth as he will not gain in any way we need to take corrective steps in not allowing outside drivers to escort these tourists

    Riza Wednesday, 13 October 2021 07:34 PM

    Stop making excuses, own up to the mistakes for we all know management at airport is crap. Most officers who work are crude and rude due to lack of English and training. Damage is already done.

    Lanka putha Wednesday, 13 October 2021 07:35 PM

    He is a cia morsad row and a sas agent. Try to damage mother lanka's image

    Sambo Wednesday, 13 October 2021 07:46 PM

    People make reservations and come because they don't want to be waiting as time is time is important for them unlike in Sri Lanka where you get in to the train and they there is a strike and we have to go by bus. We know the chaos in the airport and have experienced many mishaps.

    maha Wednesday, 13 October 2021 07:52 PM

    The authority cannot wash hands allowing third parties to cheat foreigners. If promoting tourism in SL, must protect them got caught to local cheaters. And also, reasonable pricing for foreigners without discrimination.

    Rani Wednesday, 13 October 2021 07:59 PM

    Mr Sumansekera as a Sri Lankan living abroad it is very difficult to find information for tourist to come there. I myself wanted to hire a car without a driver recently and many companies did not respond and ones that responded said to come to Seeduwa to get the car. If you want tourists to come to Sri Lanka as we badly need them for the economy please sort your system first. Try ringing a Sri Lankan embassy abroad - they are not so helpful either. Customer service is key here. Not about having money for someone it is about showing our hospitality to our guests. Sri Lanka says they are open to tourists and we all know the country is in semi-lockdown.

    Samantha Wednesday, 13 October 2021 08:07 PM

    Sri Lanken officials are crooks and incompetent. Tourist said was the truth. Poor service as usual. Everything is a struggle. Only if Rajapaksa, then every thing is delivered.

    Sr Wednesday, 13 October 2021 08:16 PM

    By blame the tourist you just made it worse. You should never blame the customer but try to correct your errors.

    Lasith Wednesday, 13 October 2021 08:46 PM

    If anyone has been to US, - will understand that your average American is not too smart! Amazes me every time! Easier to complain, rather than work things out, isn't it?

    Dash Wednesday, 13 October 2021 09:24 PM

    I landed on Sunday at 2:35am and didn’t have such experiences. The health officer was polite and so was immigration. Picked up a few bottles from the duty free and proceeded to customs. Again, the customs folks were nice and polite and then caught a taxi. Even the cop outside greeted me. Was out of the airport in about 1 hr. Now to the bad part: had to tell off a local who cut in front of me at the immigration queue. The information website gave wrong information but even that got it resolved when I contacted the embassy in Ottawa. This is my honest experience from last Sunday (Oct 10)…

    Siri Wednesday, 13 October 2021 09:31 PM

    When has SL government ever accepted mistakes and shortcomings? Instead offenders are assigned to hold their own enquiries. Result - stagnation, while people are kept like frogs in a well.

    Dee Wednesday, 13 October 2021 09:48 PM

    Can we take him to CID and grill, fry or maybe BBQ him?

    German Wednesday, 13 October 2021 10:34 PM

    Rani, you are right. Here in Europe we don't get any proper information about the situation in Sri Lanka at all. We are fully vaccinated, but do we still need a PCR test? Do we have to go in quarantaine? Can we stay at hotels of our own choice? Are we allowed to travel around? Are we allowed to visit restaurants, wildparks, temples etc.? So how can we take the risk and travel all the way to Sri Lanka when even travelagencies here are not informed?

    N SENA Wednesday, 13 October 2021 10:43 PM


    vince Thursday, 14 October 2021 12:39 PM

    ok. Why did you nottakea bus?

    Anthony. R Wednesday, 13 October 2021 10:47 PM

    Let's accept constructive criticism of the tourist rather than denying true facts highlighted. The arrival lobby at the BIA, the Taxi, Hotel, and other counters are controlled by touts, with political connections. The AASL should get its act together and make the Airport be a user friendly place, and this stupid bureaucratic nonsense stop. We are a proud nation Renowned for our Hospitality, and we should give priority for our Hospitality, and accept what the tourist said and make it a better place. That will boost our Tourism.

    Riza Wednesday, 13 October 2021 11:00 PM

    Customer is always right - 1st rule of customer service!

    Paul Mercer Wednesday, 13 October 2021 11:02 PM

    SL was in lockdown. As a tourist over here it was impossible to find a restaurant or a bar open. You cannot have it both ways Fernando. They are still not open!

    S. P. Ramkumar Wednesday, 13 October 2021 11:21 PM

    Out of few some bloody fools are trying to damage our country's image in Globally, As aTamil I request all foreigners can come without fear. This is the safe heaven,

    Truth Thursday, 14 October 2021 06:55 AM

    Be a Sri Lankan first and then a Tamil. There are a type of Tamils who pretend not to know Sinhalese language in Sri Lanka but converse fluently among themselves when they land in Chennai.

    Ranaweera Thursday, 14 October 2021 12:51 AM

    Despite the vast majority of the readers who agree with the foreigner due to their slave mentality, I agree with the statement made by the authority that the tourist was making a misleading statement. He appeared to be an experienced traveller and it is highly unlikely that he arrived and could not find transport and hotel. It could be a case that the third party could not come to the air port if that third party was an individual private driver guide. SL was never under any lockdown as so many people were moving on the roads as reported by media. An experienced traveller would never ho back unless there was a life threatening terrorist attack situationin the country. So instead of blindly accepting foreigners say we should start questioning things first. That is what Lord Buddha taught us. Looks like majority has no understanding of that basic principle.

    Perera Thursday, 14 October 2021 11:48 AM

    Has the teachings of Gautama got anything to do with it? Why bring religions to every damn thing?

    cheers Thursday, 14 October 2021 02:20 AM

    coming from USA he does not know the standards I am sorry that shows his standards where he is coming from and such a disgrace to a country like USA

    cheers Thursday, 14 October 2021 02:23 AM

    Ranaweera you are spot on and I salute you for your comments some of the readers opinions are very un sri lankan

    dot Thursday, 14 October 2021 04:14 AM

    Wow this tourist could get a return flight in 5 hours all organized for a long flight back .. ..sometimes with flight delays we stayed longer at the Airport even in domestic flights here in Australia took it in stride ,and that in normal time ,Like to know the name of the Airline obliging him in double quick time ..for it was such a hassle to organize a flight when we changed itinerary in the past .sensational news .

    Lalith jayasinghe Thursday, 14 October 2021 06:29 AM

    I agreed all explanation and comments given by this state bureaucrat in a prefect settings around the airport. His words expose his anger towards this visitor and how most typical Sri Lankan respond to even simple complain. First he has to understand , this gentlemen is a visitor to Sri Lanka and no matter what he say, he is a customer. Remember customer come first and customer always right. That's the basic principal he not understood. First apologize to visitor invite him to come back again, promise to address his concerns and guide through his journey when he is visit Sri Lanka next time. Visitor will be the happiest visitor and you will be the winner.

    Shan Thursday, 14 October 2021 06:55 AM

    There is a high chance that tourist has fabricated all this or had a motive to do so .

    Sambo Thursday, 14 October 2021 08:35 AM

    A very good reputation of the tourism of this country. Look what happened to the Lufthansa flight that made a emergency landing as it could not make it's destination to Male due to heavy winds. They were asked to pay 748$ by airport duty manager as landing costs and it took more than 1 and half hours to pay by credit card as all the credit card machines were out of order and for that delay they were charged another 48 $ and the announces to the passenger because they have not paid 48$ the airport authorities are not allowing them to take odd. GB SL!

    Sunil Thursday, 14 October 2021 09:16 AM

    This is a wake up call for all concerned.

    Juanis Perera Thursday, 14 October 2021 09:21 AM

    The Airport is a hell-hole not only for tourists, but for locals too. Airport cabs are run by a mafia - never get into one. Many touts at the arrival zone make themselves a nuisance and take some innocent unsuspecting traveller for a ride - yes, the airport is a hell-hole.

    Atheïst Thursday, 14 October 2021 09:55 AM

    Ranaweera: what Lord Buddha taught us? Are you serious, hahaha.

    Lion Thursday, 14 October 2021 09:55 AM

    Just stop this American thrash from coming into the country. He clearly came for some other agenda.

    ANURA NANAYAKKARA Thursday, 14 October 2021 10:53 AM


    Ahamed Mukthar Thursday, 14 October 2021 12:26 PM

    I am not sure . Most of the Tourist from the West are Back packers. If you see most of the videos on Sri lanka made by Tourists Most of them talk about paying minimum and taking maximum out of the trip. This has been going on for some time. I dont see it changing in the near future.

    John Thursday, 14 October 2021 12:31 PM

    And why foreign spouse have do a nonsensical medical test a $ 75,- to get a spouse / resident visa? To make Sri Lanka saver or to robe money from us? Is there a family law? Sri Lanka do not respect foreign spouses.

    Felicia De Silva Thursday, 14 October 2021 01:07 PM

    I was in Lanka last 2 weeks. All I realized was the people in the country are too lazy. Most of them are a sleep or having a drink while we are working so hard to earn our living. Having said that, as we land the country they instantly figure out that we have come from some where and trying their very best to rip us off from the shop keepers, Tuk Tuk to institutes like Ceylon Water Electricity Board @ Negombo to be precise. The locals seriously need to own up and grow, please....

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