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Lankan President appeals international community to lift travel warning

In a meeting with the diplomatic community in Colombo on Tuesday, the President said that tourists are returning to Sri Lanka and he urged the foreign missions to eliminate any hurdles preventing others from also visiting the country. He said security in the country has been strengthened and he has taken steps with the security forces to ensure the security of the tourists.

President Sirisena said that he was confident that with the current  operations and assistance of foreign expertise on intelligence, the threat of terrorism could be curbed soon. India, United States, China, UK and Australia are among the countries which issued travel warnings after Easter attacks which killed 257 people including 44 foreigners.

Sri Lanka’s tourism board earlier said tourist arrivals have gone down by 60 percent while hotel occupancy has dipped. India is the largest source market for Sri Lanka, which received 2.3 million tourists from around the world in 2018. Around 450,000 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka last year and country has set up target of 3 million for this year. Tourism accounts for about five per cent of Sri Lanka’s economy and the country earned about 4.4 billion US dollars in 2018 from the tourism sector.

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