While Easter Sunday was celebrated around the world, the island of Sri Lanka in South East Asia endured terror attacks that killed 359 people and wounded more than 500 people in churches and hotels.
The five-star Shangri-La, The Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in Colombo were among the locations targeted by the bombers.
The FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) advise “against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka, due to the current evolving security situation following attacks on 21 April 2019” but conversely Sri Lanka Tourism is keen to reassure the world that all possible measures have been taken to ensure the safety and security of tourists.
A statement released by Sri Lanka Tourism yesterday said that the country is open for business and that it is safe.
“Sri Lanka Tourism is deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless violence and unreservedly condemns these dastardly acts. We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to all the victims and their families, while wishing a speedy recovery to all those injured and currently receiving treatment.
“There is no place for terrorism of any kind in Sri Lanka and whoever that is responsible for the Easter Sunday violence will be hunted down and punished in the strongest possible manner. Sri Lanka Tourism looks forward to warmly welcome all those who have planned trips to the country in the days, weeks and months.”
Sri Lanka Tourism said they had deployed trained emergency response teams at hospitals, affected hotels and the airport and arranged hotel transfers, airline bookings, hospital treatment and reuniting missing family members through diplomatic channels.
A security briefing was held on 22 April for hotel owners and operators on the new safety measures that are being rolled out.
There is a 24-hour emergency support desk assist tourists currently in Sri Lanka – 1912 – and to assist families of affected foreign nationals: +94 11 2322485.
The country has seen a surge in popularity for tourists, hitting a record high of more than two million in 2018. They were expecting to exceed this in 2019 and double in 2020.