Sri Lanka eyes security audit to build tourist confidence

State Minister Harsha de Silva.

Sri Lanka is planning an independent security audit to build confidence among tourists, State Minister Harsha de Silva said. “After conducting an independent security audit, embassies and tourist boards of foreign countries will encourage tourism,” he said in parliament.

“Spending millions on advertising is worthless if we cannot be responsible for tourist safety.”

State Minister De Silva also said it would be worse if assurances were given too quickly and another incident took place.

Tourism officials have said 37 nations have issued travel advisories cautioning citizens and the security authorities have said rapid progress is being made with most of the extremists directly linked to the bombings having been killed or arrested, many safe houses closed, while more action is being taken.

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals had plunged 60 per cent in the first week of March, but officials are planning a recovery campaign.

Chairman of Sri Lanka’s Tourism Promotions Bureau, Kishu Gomez said an international agency with experience in working with tourism-linked disasters will be hired to carry out a short and medium term campaign.

Though major travel companies have stopped selling, Sri Lanka independent travelers are coming, officials said.