According to immigration data, there are 11,389 tourists in the country as of 4th May and Sri Lanka Tourism has extended an invitation to all the tourists, foreign businessmen and expatriates to register at the “Tourist & Expatriate Support Center” website on www.register.sltda.gov.lk which provides live updates on COVID-19, essential travel information and assistance.
“COVID-19 was a severe blow to the Tourism industry which was still recovering after the Easter Sunday attacks last April. On the 12th of March when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, there were 76,224 foreign travellers in Sri Lanka. Immediately, a 24/7 call center was set up to assist tourists and with transportation issues in times of curfew, outbound flight tickets were allowed to be used as curfew passes to reach the airport. Sri Lanka Tourism is also liaising with the Foreign Ministry, embassies, airport authorities and airlines to facilitate safe departures,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson, Kimarli Fernando said.
She further said there was no mechanism of tracking tourists in Sri Lanka apart from the immigration system which provides basic information of travellers and this registration will allow Sri Lanka Tourism to reach out and provide assistance during emergencies such as the COVID-19 outbreak and in the long term, this will also serve as a database of visiting tourists, foreign businessmen and expatriates in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Tourism reached out to ICTA to support and under their leadership the website was developed by TekGeeks (Pvt) Ltd – An IOM Sri Lanka funded Software Services Provider based in Sri Lanka specializing in software engineering, digital marketing and creative services. (Colombo Gazette)