Sri Lanka has been ranked among the top five Wellness Tourism Destinations in the world this year, says Minister of Tourism, Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga. The nomination was made by the Global Wellness Institute. The Minister pointed out that after the Covid pandemic, more and more tourists in the world have paid more attention to mental and physical health and that the Indigenous Medicine, which has been in existence in Sri Lanka for many years, more opportunities have been created for the wellness tourism in the country and the Government is taking steps to develop it.
The Minister made this remark at the Tourism Ministers’ meeting held concurrently with the recent International Tourism Exhibition in Paris, France. State Secretary for Tourism of France, Hon. Jean Battiste Lemoyne, Minister of Tourism of Egypt, Hon. Khaled el Anany, Minister of Tourism of Greece, Hon. Vassilis Kikilias, Minister of Tourism of Jordan, Hon. Nayef Hamidi Mohomad Al-Fayez, Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, Hon. David Collado and other representatives attended the event.
The Minister pointed out that Sri Lanka is becoming a safe country due to the prudent actions of the present government led by the President and stressed that all countries engaged in the tourism industry should work together to revive the global tourism which was devastated by the global pandemic.
The Covid pandemic has cost the world $ 1.3 trillion in export earnings and more than $ 2 trillion in direct tourism of the GDP. The tourism industry is at risk of over 100 million jobs worldwide. Mr. Ranatunga pointed out that the impact would extend beyond the tourism sector, adding that the sharp drop in tourist arrivals would lead to a 40% drop in world trade by 2020. In order to overcome this situation, steps must be taken to re-establish international mobility. The Minister pointed out that the tourism industry could be transformed into a strong, sustainable and comprehensive tourism industry by evaluating the measures taken to respond to the Covid health crisis.
Explaining the post-Covid measures in Sri Lanka, Minister of Tourism,Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga said that by now more than 12 million people out of the total population of Sri Lanka have been fully vaccinated against Covid -19. Mr. Ranatunga said that with the intervention of the President and the government, the vaccination program was successfully implemented throughout the country and steps are being taken to vaccinate children over 12 years of age. He urged all countries in the world not to be afraid to send tourists to Sri Lanka as Sri Lanka has now become a safe country.
With the opening of the country for tourists in December, the number of tourists visiting the country was 40,365, of which only 323 were reported as Covid infected tourists and the country is now fully open for tourists after the Covid vaccination programme in Sri Lanka, Mr. Ranatunga said.