THASL and SLAITO warn against reviving tourism if health protocols are changed

  • Say existing guarantees are adequate against any impact of the new Omicron COVID variant
  • The industry expected 400,000 tourists with $ 600 million in foreign exchange revenues until the end of April 2022
  • Opin country cannot afford another lockdown and border closure
  • Industry stakeholders may work well in the concept of the bio-bubble

The Tourist Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) and the Sri Lankan Association of Incoming Tour Operators (SLAITO) yesterday insisted that current health protocols should continue without any changes, even though a new Omicron variant of COVID has raised new concerns around the world.

“Any changes to current health protocols will be detrimental to the tourism industry and will have a negative impact on the overall economy of the country. Therefore, SLAITO and THASL call on the government to maintain the current status quo regarding health protocols that apply to foreign passport holders visiting Sri Lanka, ”the two organizations said in a joint statement.

The Tourist Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) and the Sri Lankan Association of Incoming Tour Operators (SLAITO) yesterday insisted that current health protocols should continue without any changes, even though a new Omicron variant of COVID has raised new concerns around the world.

“Any changes to current health protocols will be detrimental to the tourism industry and will have a negative impact on the overall economy of the country. Therefore, SLAITO and THASL call on the government to maintain the current status quo regarding health protocols that apply to foreign passport holders visiting Sri Lanka, ”the two organizations said in a joint statement.

They said that tourism industry service providers registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) must adhere to strict sanitary protocols imposed by the health authorities and must obtain the certificate issued by KPMG / SLTDA, at any time. necessary to comply with the health guidelines and protocols of the Ministry of Health. This is to ensure the safety of service providers, citizens and travelers who visit Sri Lanka.

“With flexible and easier health protocols that have been implemented by the government, it has been possible to attract tourists over the past three months and there is a positive trend with arrivals in Sri Lanka increasing by month to month. If the trend continues from December to April during the current winter season, the tourism industry predicts that 400,000 tourists will arrive in the country from November 21 to April 22, ”said THASL and SLAITO.

They said a number of airlines such as Air France, Air Astana, Aeroflot, Go Air and Edelweiss will introduce flights during the current winter season. In addition, many other airlines including the national company SriLankan Airlines will gradually increase the frequency and network. Tour operators have resumed their programs in Sri Lanka mainly due to the practical health protocols that were introduced by the government.

“At this stage, it is vital to continue the current health protocols which will encourage tour operators and airlines to promote the destination with confidence. If the country is able to attract 400,000 tourists in the next five months, it should generate 600 million dollars, ”said THASL and SLAITO.

They said that there are a million people who are directly and indirectly engaged in the tourism industry and that this benefits 2.5 million citizens of the country. “Therefore, it is vital for the overall economy of the country that the tourism industry picks up and moves forward,” they added.

Newly appointed THASL chairman Mr Shanthikumar stressed yesterday that the country could not afford another border lockdown and closure after the outbreak of the novel variant of the Omicron coronavirus.

“For the sake of the economy and the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, the need to learn to live with new variations and to move forward in business seems to be the general belief of industry players. There is no doubt, however, that increased vigilance and strict adherence to health and safety protocols established by the Department of Health and SLTDA are of critical importance, in order to protect our staff, guests and the community. as a whole, ”Shanthikumar said.

He said THASL members have now thoroughly trained their staff on health and safety protocols and most hotels reaffirm its importance to their day-to-day staff across all departments. “You can’t miss the signage placed in all operational areas to remind staff and guests to follow the guidelines,” he said.

“Hoteliers are fighting to maintain their operations and secure the jobs of their employees. The accommodation industry can no longer suffer. The SME sector was hit hard and practically collapsed. We can no longer have job losses, ”said the head of THASL.

“You can’t deny that there is an element of risk. The only option is for industry stakeholders to work well on the concept of the bio-bubble. Quarantine facilities are in place. Increased vigilance from point of arrival to departure can help Sri Lanka deal with this situation, hopefully without any devastating effects, ”Shanthikumar added.


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