Minister for Tourism John Amaratunga requested on 11 June to hold a conference with the governor of the Central Bank and with the CEOs of public and private banks and insurance companies.
“Through Easter bombings, although the Government offers a financial package of relief for stakeholders of the tourism industry, its implementation by banks and insurance companies is slow. I called for a CBSL conference to guarantee that this package is implemented quickly, “he said.
“I took this issue with the President and the Prime Minister and I would ask CBSL for stern measures to combat them if banks and insurance companies further delay in transferring the advantages. The Minister said that all of them had agreed that relief for aviation, the boarding fee, and ground handling fees would be available six months after Cabinet Decision, as the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka Customs and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation agreed.
Amaratunga also announced that the state was to give free visas on arrival at a facility that stopped last April after the Easter Blasts. “I will also talk to the Ministry of Culture, to help decrease entrance costs for historic tourist sites in Sri Lanka, and will also explore the option of providing a Round Ticket and to discover all those attractions from a single Ticket.” During this phase, the new technology would be used, which would allow the Department of Immigration to view the information of the traveler in Colombo as quickly as the air ticket has been booked. He said that the state would not be offering this free visa system to China and India since both China and India are feeling the immigration department would be deprived of income as Sri Lanka is the largest amount of tourist visits to the country. “This will prevent unwanted visitors from calling Sri Lanka.”
The Day News indicating that every person who visits whale watching tours in Mirissa charges a fee of Rs. 2500 out of an Rs. 8,00 ticket (USD 50), Amaratunge said he would discuss the fee with the Department for a short time.
Prior to the Easter, about 30 ships leave Mirissa for whale watching every weekend, and this amount has now been lowered to approximately 6 a week.