Written by Staff Writer
06 Jun, 2019 | 9:57 pm
Colombo (News 1st): The politicians are increasingly concerned about controlling false news. However, they seem to be less concerned about the false promises that they, themselves make to the people.
Are they trying to curtail and control the media from time to time, by labelling it as false news, because the media continues to reveal the false promises that they make?
The tourism industry has also fallen prey to the false promises of these politicians who are more worried about covering their actions rather than working in the interest of the public. A report issued by the Tourism Development Authority reveals that when compared with equivalent figures from April last year, the number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka have declined.
However, the Tourism Development Authority is yet to release data of tourist arrivals during May 2019: the month that was affected the most by the 04/21 attacks. The decline in tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka is clearly evident through data obtained from the Department of Immigration and Emigration.
During April 2018, 187,235 individuals had arrived in Sri Lanka on tourist visas, while in April 2019, this figure had declined to 173,297. During May 2018, 150,495 individuals had arrived on the island on tourist visas, while in May 2019, this figure had dropped to 55,771, recording a decline of approximately 63%.
Against such a backdrop, the government made several announcements of a relief package, to institutions operating within the tourism industry. However, has the tourism industry realized this benefit as yet?
News 1st made several inquiries in this regard.
Chairman of the Hotel Workers Centre Attorney at law Janaka Adhikari noted that within days after the 04/21 attacks took place, the Finance Minister introduced a relief package to hotels and other institutions operating in the tourism industry. He added the announcement was made that relief packages ranging between Rs. 20 million and Rs. 250 million will be provided, however, even though the government has taken steps to provide relief to the owners of these institutions, the government has failed to provide any relief to the people employed in such institutions.
Therefore he added that the workforce of approximately 200,000 employed in the tourism industry is facing several issues. He urged the government to take immediate measures to address the difficulties of employees as well.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Joint Jeep Safari Union Sumedha Geeth Bandara said all employees are facing several issues and when they inquired regarding this, it appears that no institution in the tourism sector has received such a package. He added that the banks have not been informed in this regard and that they are yet to receive such a relief package.
Chairman of the Habarana Tourist Hotels Association Mahinda Thennakoon noted that there was a meeting last week with the finance minister and the secretary to the ministry of finance in Hingurakgoda. He added that during the meeting, they clearly stated that they have notified the banks, however, banks claim that they are yet to receive such notifications. He noted that they would like to propose, instead of a relief package to implement a promotional program.
Speaking to News 1st the President of the Sri Lanka Hotels Association Sanath Ukwatte said that tourist booking has dropped from 70% to 7%.
What measures can be introduced to address these issues and to uplift the tourism industry?
In the meantime, The United Kingdom has relaxed its travel advisory on Sri Lanka imposed after Easter Sunday attacks and is no longer advising against non-essential travel. However, it has asked the tourists to remain vigilant.
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