Minister: Sri Lanka needs security audit to build confidence among tourists

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Sri Lanka’s State Minister Harsha de Silva announced that the country is planning an independent security audit to build confidence among tourists. According to the Minister, the measure was necessary after extremists linked to Islamic State bombed churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.

“After conducting an independent security audit, embassies and tourist boards of foreign countries will encourage tourism,” he told parliament.

“Spending millions on advertising is worthless if we cannot be responsible for tourist safety.”

De Silva said it would be worse if assurances were given too quickly and another incident took place.

Tourism officials have said 37 nations have issued travel advisories cautioning citizens.

Security authorities have said rapid progress is being made with most of the extremists directly linked to the bombings having been killed or arrested, many safe houses closed, while more action is being taken.

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals had plunged 60 percent in the first week of March, but officials are planning a recovery campaign.

Chairman of Sri Lanka’s Tourism Promotions Bureau Kishu Gomez said an international agency with experience in working with tourism-linked disasters will be hire to carry out a short and medium term campaign.

Though major travel companies have stopped selling Sri Lanka independent travelers are coming, officials said.

For more information on the SaferTourism program by eTN Corporation and Dr. Peter Tarlow, visit visit safertourism.com. Dr. Tarlow is a world-renowned expert in the field of tourism security and safety, working for over 2 decades with hotels, tourism-oriented cities and countries, and both public and private security officers and police in the field of tourism security.

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