The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) yesterday welcomed the reopening of the borders for foreign visitors, saying it would greatly benefit millions of livelihoods which were dependent on the tourism industry.
However, THASL appealed to all stakeholders to maintain extreme caution and adherence to health and safety guidelines, paramount to resume sustainable growth in the months ahead.
“We appeal to the general public to cooperate and support us in this journey to restart the industry which is the worst impacted by the pandemic,” THASL President Sanath Ukwatte said in the statement.
Although the public is barred from entering Level 1 hotels where tourists are staying during the first 14 days in the country in order to ensure that the virus doesn’t enter the community, THASL is hopeful that these restrictions will ease in time to come as more and more people are being vaccinated around the world.
“We greatly appreciate the Government’s efforts in vaccinating the local community in a systematic way commencing February and including tourism stakeholders on a priority basis. We are hoping that we will be able to attract visitors who will stay longer and who wish to avoid severe winter in Europe and also those who wish to take advantage of the extended three-month visa scheme,” Ukwatte said.
“Provided there are no major travel restrictions, we are targeting 500,000 visitors for this year which includes Sri Lankan expatriates who generally visit their friends and family each year and stay in hotels throughout the country with $ 1 b earnings this year,” he added.