Tourist Police Force to be strengthened - John

Since the tourism industry is one of the countries main foreign exchange earners, it is the duty of the government to protect tourists visiting Sri Lanka, Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said.

“This can be done properly through the Tourist Police Divisions which have been established throughout the country,” he said.

In order to achieve this target, the government has allocated Rs.50 million in 2018 to strengthen the tourist police force to enhance the safety of tourists.

As part of the measure to increase the efficiency of the Tourist Police Division, necessary equipment including laptops, photocopy machines, refrigerators, bicycles, video cameras, furniture and several other items were presented to the Tourist Police at a ceremony held in Colombo yesterday.

The ceremony was held under the patronage of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga, Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundera and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Kavan Ratnayaka.

Minister Amaratunga said that there are many complaints of exploitation and harassment of foreign tourists and it is necessary to take stern action against those involved. However, some tourists do not lodge complains with the Police about these issues. On the other hand, if something happens,falls propaganda will be working overtime around the world saying that Sri Lanka is unfavourable and unsafe for tourists.Therefore, we must take immediate measures to provide a safe environment for tourists.

“Around 2.5 million tourists have visited Sri Lanka last year, but,the number of tourist arrivals need to be further increased to bring more foreign exchange to the country.But, recent incidents that took place in Kandy have had a negative affect on the tourism industry,” the Minister said.

“Kandy's tourism industry suffered a big setback since some countries had issued adverse travel warnings in the wake of the Kandy unrest.Therefore, we should form a concrete plan to protect tourists in case of any emergency situation.

Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundera said a conducive environment for tourists should be created in the country. Otherwise, if even a minor incident occurs, it could have a negative impact on the country.


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