Will help revive SL tourism industry, says UK Minister | Sunday Observer

Will help revive SL tourism industry, says UK Minister

UK Minister for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace on an inspection tour of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade.  Pic: Sulochana Gamage
UK Minister for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace on an inspection tour of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade. Pic: Sulochana Gamage

UK Minister for Security and Economic Crime, Ben Wallace, who was in Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday bombings, pledged assistance to revive the island’s badly hit tourism industry and ‘return it to full strength’.

Terrorist attacks on April 21 killed over 250 people including at least eight British nationals when they targeted St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, the Zion Church in Batticaloa and three hotels - Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and The Kingsbury. Several British nationals were killed in the Cinnamon Grand and Shangri-La Hotels.

Wallace said, “I have discussed our current travel advisory and we hope to see the Sri Lankan tourism industry return to full strength. We will do all we can to help the Sri Lankan authorities with this.

The UK minister said that he was deeply moved when he visited the hotels and St. Anthony’s Shrine and witness the magnitude of the attacks.

He said the bomb attacks must only serve to strengthen the resolve to work in partnership with countries around the world to counter the global terrorist threat.

“In times like this, friends support each other. I came to Sri Lanka, on behalf of the UK government, to offer that support and stand in solidarity with the Sri Lankan people,” he said.

Wallace also met President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Ministers, religious leaders, senior state officials and top figures of the Sri Lankan tourism sectorn and discussed the impact on Sri Lanka, how to address the security threat and find out what further support the UK can provide. He also received an update on the ongoing investigations.

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