Opposition misleading public about tourism pilot project - State Minister Lanza | Daily News

Opposition misleading public about tourism pilot project - State Minister Lanza

The Opposition was misleading the public about the pilot project to attract Ukrainian tourists to Sri Lanka and boost the tourism industry, said State Minister for Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure Nimal Lanza.

State Minister Lanza was speaking to the media in Colombo yesterday.

He said, “This tourist pilot project is being carried out following existing health guidelines. About 70,000 expatriate Sri Lankans are expected to return to the Motherland. A large number of tourists are also waiting to visit the country. This group implemented this pilot project to gain experience before getting down by commercial aircraft. A pilot project is being carried out to rectify the existing shortcomings before opening the airport and improving its functions and services. We are always ready for any shortcomings to be pointed out, but we condemn the baseless criticisms made by the Opposition which only goes to show its political bankruptcy".

“The global economy has been dealt a severe blow because of COVID-19. Sri Lanka's economy has also been affected. Especially, three million people in the tourism industry have been living without any source of income for nine months. There is no income for them except the Rs.5,000 allowance. There is no way to pay the lease installment on vehicles and repay the loans. Therefore, the Government took a decision to rejuvenate the tourism industry through the experience gained through the implementation of this pilot project," he said.

"People who earned a living by selling fruits, vegetables, fish, self-employment projects have also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic's effects on the economy. All these businesses have come to a standstill. Therefore, we started this pilot project to rejuvenate the tourism industry whilst adhering to the necessary health guidelines.

Tourists who come through this pilot project go to Yala, Pinnawala or any other tourist destination as tourist bubbles," State Minister Lansa said.

"The Opposition is trying to grab power by creating an economic collapse in the country. They yearn to see all shops and businesses closed, a collapse of the construction industry, people trapped in their homes, people's incomes destroyed and the destruction of the tourism industry. If the country's economy collapses, the people's economy will also collapse. We are trying to re-build the businesses and strengthen the economy while controlling the spread of COVID-19. Eventhough the JVP's popular vote base has diminished to 3%, it is still trying to brainwash the public," he added.

"Sadly, people like MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, who has a sound knowledge of the economy is also criticizing this move to boost the tourism industry. He proposes to quarantine tourists for 14 days before allowing them to visit the country. If you do two PCRs, follow the health guidelines and do this as a tourist bubble and keep it for 14 days, not a single tourist will come. A tourist comes to Sri Lanka for a maximum of 10-15 days. Such a person does not stay in a hotel room for 14 days," the State Minister said.

"The Opposition views a tourist as a terrorist. We have to accept that tourists are coming during the COVID-19 period. The innocent people in the tourism industry can earn money only if tourists visit the country. Therefore, do not destroy the attempt to build the economy of the country. The Government will implement this as a pilot project giving priority to the adherence of health guidelines by taking steps to rebuild the tourism industry and boost the country's economy," Lansa said.