MP John Amaratunga observes ‘harmful effect’ from suspension of SriLankan Airlines flights to Europe

MP John Amaratunga observes ‘harmful effect’ from suspension of SriLankan Airlines flights to Europe

Written by Keshala Dias

15 Mar, 2017 | 8:52 pm

Minister of Tourism Development John Amaratunga says the suspension of direct flights to Europe by SriLankan Airlines has had a harmful effect on the country’s tourism sector.

Minister Amaratunga responded to questions raised by journalists following an event to deploy a new SLTB bus service to operate from Colombo – Fort to Ragama via Hekitta.

The conversation between journalists and Minister Amaratunga is as follows:

Journalist: “Minister, certain politicians and their allies are acquiring forest and state-owned lands. So, is your Ministry of Lands taking any measures in this regard?”

MP John Amaratunga: “That is a false story. We will not allow anyone to acquire lands like that. If they do, we will catch them by the neck and throw them out”.

Journalist: “Minister what is your vision for the future promotion of tourism?”

MP John Amaratunga: “It is the tourism sector which has the capability to generate the highest foreign revenue for the country. That has to be implemented properly. But there are several shortcomings right now. One is SriLankan Airlines, where it has suspended its flight operations to European countries, which is a massive loss to us. This has caused a significant drop in tourists coming into the country. We must recommence our flight services to those countries as quickly as possible. This is the only way in which we can attract a greater number of tourists to the country”.

Journalist: “So Minister, it has been two years since this government was elected. If there are so many issues, aren’t you taking any decision on these matters?”

MP John Amaratunga: “We have taken decisions. They have brought this institute to the point of bankruptcy. When we took over this institute it had been destroyed by the previous government. So, now, we have taken measures to restructure this enterprise. We have recommenced these activities”.

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