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Lanka receives ‘Safe Travels Stamp’ from WTTC

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Sri Lanka has received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp, which recognises the safety protocols introduced by the government of Sri Lanka along with standards mandated by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to ensure the safety of domestic and international travellers.

Whilst establishing confidence among tourists looking at the island paradise as a preferred destination to travel amidst the pandemic, the Safe Travels stamp will also allow them to recognise properties and businesses that diligently follow globally streamed health and hygiene protocols aligned with the WTTC’s Safe Travels Protocols, Sri Lanka Tourism said in a media release. 

“Having one of the world’s highest success rates in combatting Covid-19, positions Sri Lanka as an exemplary destination for safe travels,” says Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando, highlighting that the stringent safety standards imposed coupled with the country’s laudable healthcare system has highlighted the island as a travel destination that can offer unique experiences to tourists, whilst prioritising their health and sanitation”. 

She added that Sri Lanka is now geared to welcome international leisure travellers with all aspects of a traveller’s visit been thoroughly evaluated and necessary safety protocols put in place. “Restarting operations of the tourism and hospitality sector for international visitors after the Covid-19 lockdown is a strategic one for the country, and we extend our gratitude to Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts for initiating the process that led to Sri Lanka being stamped safe by WTTC,” she added. 

The WTTC’s Safe Travels stamp is the first of its kind, specifically designed to combat the ramifications of COVID-19 and similar outbreaks. Recognised and embraced by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the stamp allows travellers to trot the globe whilst ensuring their safety. 

Envisioning a future of travel that is safe, secure, seamless and authentic, whilst supporting the livelihood of millions thus sustaining economic growth of countries, the new global Safe Travel protocols issued by the WTTC is helping the sector restart and speed up recovery post Covid-19. The four-pillared protocols, namely Operational and Staff Preparedness, Ensuring a Safe Experience, Rebuilding Trust and Confidence and Implementing Enabling Policies, are built to reinstate confidence among travellers and initiate a consistent approach to health and hygiene.

Sri Lanka joins the ranks of leading destinations including Indonesia, Dubai, Tanzania, Portugal, Mexico, the Caribbean, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Turkey, Bulgaria, Jamaica, Mauritius, Ontario, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda and counting to be stamped safe, having had its protocols validated by WTTC to be in line with those devised by the global organisation.

 



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Fuel crisis: Key CPC facility opened for VIPs, friends as public transport shrinks

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Samagi Jana Balavegaya trade unionist Ananda Palitha yesterday (01) alleged that members of Parliament, Chairmen of various government institutions, and other politically connected persons, continued to obtain unlimited petrol and diesel from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) facility at Kolonnawa.

The former CPC employee declared that the powers that be had transformed the Kolonnawa depot into a special facility to cater to the needs of the politically influential.

Those who touted the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept had created a special category while almost the entire nation suffered due to the unprecedented disruption of fuel supplies, Palitha said.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera and CPC Chairman Sumith Wijesinha didn’t answer their phones.

Ananda Palitha said that none of those who had been given access to the Kolonnawa depot came under essential services. “Why should lawmakers, whatever their status in society, be given access to the special facility when they aren’t included among essential services,”

Ananda Palitha asked.The SJB activist said that the government was struggling to maintain public transport after having repeatedly promised to sustain.

The trade unionist alleged that though they brought the clandestine operation at Kolonnawa to the attention of the government, it continued unabated. Barrels full of fuel had been taken from Kolonnawa, he said, among the beneficiaries were owners of V8 and other super luxury vehicles.

Ananda Palitha said that the Opposition should have taken up this issue vigorously.

Responding to another query, Ananda Palitha said that according to information available to them, Ceypetco had approximately 3,000 mt of diesel, 2,500 mt of petrol 95,600-700 mt of petrol 92 and was not in a position at least to meet the requirement of the essential services.

“The government is yet to come up with a plan to obtain petrol and diesel,” Ananda Palitha said, urging the government to take the public into confidence.

Palitha pointed out that the police had carried out numerous raids, targeting those who hoarded diesel and petrol, whereas a primary fuel depot that was not supposed to pump fuel for outsiders, engaged in business. The government should be ashamed of this situation, the trade union leader said, pointing out the country was heading for chaos.

The Island yesterday afternoon brought Ananada Palitha’s allegations to the notice of Lalith Weeratunga, Senior Advisor to the President,Gotabaya Rajapaksa

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Energy cooperation sought from Saudi Arabia on urgent basis

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Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has requested Charge d’ Affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Abdulelah A. A. Orkobi, to facilitate Environment Minister Naseer Ahamed to visit Saudi Arabia from July 02-05 as Special Envoy of the President of Sri Lanka.The request was made when the envoy called on Prof Peiris at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday (30).

At the meeting, Foreign Minister Peiris briefed the Saudi envoy on the current economic situation, including fuel shortage and its negative impact on all sectors in Sri Lanka. Prof. Peiris sought avenues for energy cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as an utmost urgent matter.

Charge d’ Affaires of Saudi Embassy Orkobi, emphasized the importance attached to the Sri Lanka – Saudi bilateral relationship and assured all possible support to Sri Lanka, at this juncture.

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‘Halting assistance’: Japanese envoy reassures Prez

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Japanese Ambassador Hideaki Mizukoshi yesterday (01) met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa against the backdrop of reports that Japan wouldn’t provide financial assistance due to the possibility of such being mismanaged.A section of the media quoted the Japanese envoy having said so at a meeting with a group of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) members during a recent visit to the north.

Subsequent to the meeting at the President’s House, the President’s Office said that the Japanese envoy reassured the President of their support to the proposed IMF programme with Sri Lanka and bilateral development assistance.

However, the Japanese embassy didn’t issue a statement on the meeting though it regularly issued statements on a range of issues.

Recently Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Japan Sanjiv Gunasekera suddenly quit the top diplomatic posting. The government has nominated former Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage as Gunasekera’s successor.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office has sought a clarification from the Japanese embassy regarding the controversial declaration and received an assurance that the envoy didn’t say so at the meeting with the TNA (SF)

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