(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Paris has offered Sri Lanka support to recover after the deadly Easter Sunday attacks.
Deputy Mayor of Paris Jean Francois Martins visited Sri Lanka from 5-6th June to meet senior government officials and key private sector leaders on Sri Lanka’s tourism revival strategy following the Easter Sunday terror attacks in the country, the French Embassy in Colombo said today.
During the mission the Mayor met with the Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, the Mayor of Colombo and the Cabinet Subcommittee on Tourism.
Martins is the Deputy Mayor overseeing tourism for the city of Paris. He visited on the invitation of the Government of Sri Lanka, to share lessons learnt from Paris’ own experience managing communications and security expectations following a series of coordinated terror attacks in the city in 2015.
In his conversations with the private sector, the Deputy Mayor highlighted the role played by French hoteliers and tour operators in engaging closely with travelers to support the Government’s assurance of safety in Paris.
He noted that tourism in Paris was able to recover rapidly from the attack’s aftermath due to a coordinated, cohesive and united communication strategy implemented jointly with the private sector.
“I express my sincere condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives on April 21st,” said Martins. “This senseless act of terror has impacted the lives of all Sri Lankans. We commend the Government of Sri Lanka’s rapid response which prevented any further incidents.” He also added, “Sri Lanka remains one of the most vibrant tourist destinations in the world because it is a beautiful country with resilient, hospitable people. The world already knows this. The focus should now be on effectively managing the evolving security concerns of the international community, and making it known widely that Sri Lanka remains an exciting and secure destination for travelers. After a catastrophic year post terror attacks in 2016, the French capital saw a surge in the number of visitors in the 2 years that followed. And last year, Paris hit a new tourist numbers record. That’s why I wanted to come with this optimistic message, the next few months will of course be complicated but with the right decisions, the country can recover.”
Martins’ visit was organized by AgenceFrancaise de Developpement (AFD) supported by the World Bank. The two organizations are expected to co-finance “the proposed Sri Lanka Sustainable Tourism Development project to be implemented by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), focused on supporting the creation of conditions for increased private investment and sustained growth in the tourism sector. The project design is based on a framework approach to (i) institutional and regulatory strengthening, (ii) sustainable destination development, and (iii) skills development and market linkages. The project design will also include a comprehensive crisis management strategy and communication mechanism for the GoSL.