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Galadari Colombo GM speaks out on tourism challenges post-Easter Sunday attacks

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Galadari Colombo General Manager Sampath Siriwardena yesterday spoke out on the challenges for tourism post-Easter Sunday extremist terror attacks, and how the hotel is responding.

“21 April 2019 in the wake of Easter Sunday, an unexpected chain of fateful events changed the calm and peace that we gradually accustomed ourselves to enjoy in the paradise isle of Sri Lanka for over a decade. The recent terrorist attacks on the country created a wave of chaos, and hit hard on the country’s economy with the tourism industry taking the major blow. The horrific incidents that took place no doubt has created a tense and uneasy situation among tourists to visit Sri Lanka, with travel warnings issued by several countries. Despite these unfortunate incidents, however, the country has risen above the flames of desperation, and has successfully taken the safety of its citizens into key priority, and made sure that no other reoccurrence of violence of any kind can take place,” Siriwardena said.  

Sampath Siriwardena

With Lonely Planet naming Sri Lanka as a must visit destination for 2019, it looked like Sri Lanka was heading towards a great year. 

“Even though recent incidents did dent our industry, I can assure you that this impact is short-term, and we have the resources to offer the global traveller abundant marvellous holiday experiences. Sri Lanka is once more breathing its way back to normalcy, and with that the country is now more safety-conscious than ever, and the hospitality trade is reinforcing its protection for the local as well as foreign travellers,” Siriwardena said. 

He said Galadari Colombo has left no stone unturned with regards to safety for its guests, as well as its employees. “In the year 1997 we faced the brutal World Trade Centre bombing which heavily damaged the hotel and where we lost seven of our staff members. We have experienced and is proof that it is successfully possible to overcome such treacherous and heartless outcomes of war and terrorism,” Siriwardena recalled. 

According to him, Galadari Colombo will be upgrading its security for the benefit of guests and employees. It has reinforced its security cadre by adding on ex-military officers to overlook security operations. “In addition to this we have invested in high-tech security equipment and applications, which includes state-of-the-art luggage and walkthrough scanners. We have reached out to all our employees, and have guaranteed them that they will be looked after and taken care of during these trying times. The management has taken multiple steps to safeguard the livelihood of its employees, specially the lower tier staff, who would be the first to get impacted when the hospitality business takes a beating,” Siriwardena said.

“It is not wrong to say that we have learnt the hard way, but we are now getting stronger day by day, and I have every confidence in our security forces who are working round the clock to bring us back to normalcy,” he added.

Siriwardena said the Galadari Colombo has resumed normal operations and “we have everything in place to ensure guest and employee safety at all times. For over three decades we have taken care and delivered exemplary service levels and the very best in hospitality. I personally guarantee you that this will be our stance in the future as well. “

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