Tourism Chief says WTTC Safe Travels Stamp reaffirms Sri Lanka as an exemplary destination

Friday, 14 August 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando yesterday said the receipt of World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp for Sri Lanka reaffirmed the country as an exemplary destination. 

Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando

Recognising the safety protocols introduced by the Government along with standards mandated by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to ensure the safety of domestic and international travellers, destination Sri Lanka was recently endowed with the WTTC Safe Travels stamp, as reported by Daily FT yesterday.

Sri Lanka Tourism said whilst establishing confidence among tourists looking at the island paradise as a preferred destination to travel amidst the pandemic, the Safe Travels stamp would also allow them to recognise properties and businesses that diligently follow globally streamed health and hygiene protocols aligned with the WTTC’s Safe Travels Protocols.

“Having one of the world’s highest success rates in combatting COVID-19, positions Sri Lanka as an exemplary destination for safe travels,” said Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando in a statement, highlighting that the stringent safety standards imposed coupled with the country’s laudable healthcare system had highlighted the island as a travel destination that could offer unique experiences to tourists, whilst prioritising their health and sanitation.

She added that Sri Lanka was now geared to welcome international leisure travellers with all aspects of a traveller’s visit been thoroughly evaluated and necessary safety protocols put in place. 

“Restarting operations of the tourism and hospitality sector for international visitors after the COVID-19 lockdown is a strategic one for the country. We extend our gratitude to Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts for initiating the process that led to Sri Lanka being stamped safe by WTTC,” she added. 

The WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp is the first of its kind, specifically designed to combat the ramifications of COVID-19 and similar outbreaks. Recognised and embraced by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the stamp allows travellers to trot the globe whilst ensuring their safety. 

Envisioning a future of travel that is safe, secure, seamless and authentic, whilst supporting the livelihood of millions thus sustaining economic growth of countries, the new global Safe Travel protocols issued by the WTTC is helping the sector restart and speed up recovery post COVID-19. 

The four-pillared protocols, namely Operational and Staff Preparedness, Ensuring a Safe Experience, Rebuilding Trust & Confidence and Implementing Enabling Policies, are built to reinstate confidence among travellers and initiate a consistent approach to health and hygiene.

Sri Lanka joins the ranks of leading destinations to be stamped safe, including Indonesia, Dubai, Tanzania, Portugal, Mexican Caribbean, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Turkey, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Mauritius, Ontario, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda and counting, having had its protocols validated by WTTC to be in line with those devised by the global organisation.

The operational guidelines implemented by SLTDA following guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation are put in place to minimise chances of community spreading of COVID-19 within Sri Lanka whilst avoiding unnecessary inconvenience to travellers. 

The SLTDA is currently working on providing the stamp of safety to all travel and hospitality related stakeholders in the private sector following assessment of their adherence to SLTDA imposed COVID-19 safety standards which have been validated by WTTC. The safety stamp will have a two-fold benefit both as a value addition to business entities and an assurance for travellers coming to Sri Lanka in a post COVID-19 world.