Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Austin Fernando (File photo)
Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Austin Fernando (File photo)

Post-Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lanka giving concessions on air tickets, hotel rates to boost tourism: Envoy

ANI | Updated: Nov 02, 2019 01:33 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 2 (ANI): As Sri Lanka recovers from the deadly Easter Sunday attacks that took place in April this year, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Austin Fernando on Friday stressed that the government has taken steps to boost the tourism sector such as giving concessions on air tickets and hotel rates.
"When an incident like what happened on April 21 happens in any country, then you cannot expect the situation to stabilise soon. But as time goes by, I am happy to say that tourists from India, China and Western countries are coming into Sri Lanka. We are expecting about 2.5 million tourists by the end of this year. But we may not achieve that figure. The numbers may range from six to seven lakhs. We are doing a lot of work to put things back in shape," he told ANI here.
"For boosting tourism, we are giving concessions on air tickets and hotel rates. It is a matter of correcting the situation as it was earlier. If we have to touch 2 million (mark for tourists visiting Sri Lanka), then we would be satisfied. But if it goes to around 2.5 million then we will be happier," the envoy said.
Multiple blasts ripped through Sri Lanka on April 21, when the Christian community was celebrating Easter Sunday. The explosions rattled churches and high-end hotels across the country, killing 258 people and injuring over 500.
A local terror group called National Thowheeth Jama'ath had claimed the responsibility for the devastating attacks.
Speaking about the upcoming presidential election in Sri Lanka, Fernando was optimistic that the electoral process would be peaceful.
"Elections will be held on November 16 and there are 35 candidates contesting. There are several candidates from major parties. There are alliances that have been organised by political parties so that the election is held in a competitive manner. The Election Commission is continuously monitoring the situation. The Election Commission is very confident that the election will go peacefully," he said.
During an event organised by Aska Beverages at the Sri Lankan embassy, the High Commissioner stressed the bilateral trade deficit between Sri Lanka and India.
"This is a very important event for us because we are having a negative trade balance. Anything which can bring more foreign exchange to the country is fine. This is one item which is sold in Sri Lanka and we want to get into the international market," Fernando said. (ANI)

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