Tourism chief wants one thing from the public:
A welcoming smile for tourists


Kishu Gomes

by Sanath Nanayakkare

Describing the volatile situation in the external sector which depends on the global growth outlook, Sri Lanka Tourism chief Kishu Gomes said in Colombo on Wednesday that tourism remains the safest, and most steady source of income to the national economy and appealed to the general public to give tourists a welcoming smile to make Sri Lanka an even better tourist destination which receives tourists with open arms.

"Sri Lanka tourism is a sustainable source of inflow into the country while risks to the apparel sector and foreign remittances remain obvious. Therefore, it needs the support of each and every Sri Lankan to boost tourism. All you have to do is share your welcoming smile with the tourists and make them feel that they have chosen the friendliest destination to visit in the region, he said.

"According to Central Bank statistics, Sri Lanka's tourism sector employs about 400,000 people. But my personal estimate is that the sector has provided livelihoods- directly and indirectly- to 2.5 million people. I don't want an exchange of views about this, but I do feel that the Central Bank's stats on this number are not accurate. More than half the people in Sri Lanka don't get three decent meals a day. Developing tourism is the best way out of this predicament and to lift these people's living standards. We are doing all sorts of campaigns and promotions to boost tourism, but a good smile by each of you at the tourists you meet on the road or elsewhere would make a significant impact on attracting them to Sri Lanka more and more, he said.

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