No priority vaccination yet for tourism frontline staff

Wednesday, 9 June 2021 00:07 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The tourism industry is still awaiting priority vaccination for its frontline personnel numbering over 17,000 despite requests made to the relevant authorities. 

Sri Lanka Tourism said yesterday keeping the health and wellbeing of industry stakeholders as its foremost priority, it had once again requested that a vaccination program be organised for tourism industry frontline personnel.  “The Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga has approved this request from Sri Lanka Tourism, which is now awaiting further intimation on when it would be possible,” a statement said. 

The authority has provided details of a total of 17,714 industry stakeholders, including employees of Level – 1 Safe and Secure certified hotels; certified tour guides, drivers, and hotel employees currently stationed at hotels converted to hospitals and intermediate care centres. 

Sri Lanka Tourism’s pioneering ‘bio bubble’ concept which received positive international recognition saw a gradual increase in tourist visits to Sri Lanka when the airport initially re-opened in January 2021. With the hopes of attracting tourists back to the island within the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, the utmost priority is the safety of the citizens of the country. 

“Vaccinating tourism staff on the frontlines of the industry would further safeguard and protect their health and that of tourists while sustaining the industry,” Sri Lanka Tourism emphasised in its statement. 

It said the primary focus of Sri Lanka Tourism was the revival of the sector, and in order to do so it was paramount that all hospitality stakeholders were fully vaccinated.

“The authorities are hopeful that with the support of the Tourism and Health Ministries, stakeholders can work together to carry out the vaccine drive and efforts can continue to uplift the industry,” the statement added.