Colombo: Sri Lanka’s National Association for Professionals in Tourism (NAFPT) on Thursday said it had launched a four-day campaign in several areas of the island-nation to assist foreign tourists who are currently stranded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also Read - Sri Lanka Intensifies Coronavirus Testing in Colombo Slums
In a statement, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said the NAFPT had launched the campaign titled “Tourism Disaster Monitoring and Hosting Program” along with the Tourist Police Division where tourism officials will visit the foreign tourists, providing them with dry ration gift packages, familiarizing the current situation and identifying the difficulties they are facing and providing assistance, reports Xinhua news agency. Also Read - Amid COVID-19 Crisis, Sri Lanka Announces Fresh Date For Parliamentary Elections
The officials will travel across the country for the next four days covering the capital Colombo, Katunayake, Negombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Pasikuda, Arugambay, Udawalawe, Mirissa, Unawatuna, Hikkaduwa, and Bentota, which are tourists hotspots in the island country. Also Read - South Africa's Tour of Sri Lanka Postponed in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic
“While the government’s main focus is to safeguard the citizens of Sri Lanka, it is also important to take care of the tourists who have traveled to Sri Lanka trusting us. Therefore, we are proud to start this campaign for them,” said Donald Rajapaksa, national coordinator of the association.
Sri Lanka shut its international airports last month for all passenger arrivals to prevent a further spread of the COVID-19 but said passenger departures would continue.
As authorities imposed an islandwide curfew on March 20, police said tourists who wished to return back to their countries could use their airline tickets as a curfew pass to travel to the airport. Sri Lanka has reported 330 coronavirus cases, with seven deaths.