COLOMBO, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's Tourism Ministry has requested the Police Chief to strengthen the presence of tourist police in key attractions across the island country to ensure the safety of travelers.
File photo: VCG
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said in a statement on Tuesday that State Minister of Tourism Promotions Arundika Fernando along with Sri Lanka Tourism officials met with Police Chief Chandana Wickramaratne recently and forwarded key proposals which would ensure the safety of tourists visiting the country.
Considering the current situation, the SLTDA said recommendations were discussed including increasing police presence at all popular tourist destinations from Colombo to the south and central highlands.
Recommendations were also made to have a separate Tourist Police Unit established at the existing police stations ideally including female officers.
"It was also discussed to provide body cameras to tourist police while it will also be made mandatory for all tuk tuk and taxi drivers to have a notice inside the vehicle with the photo of the driver, name, Identification Number, QR code and 119 for Emergency," the SLTDA said.
"As per President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's manifesto annual tourism arrivals are expected to reach 7 million in the future and currently there are serious issues on the safety of tourists due to the lack of tourist police presence. We believe these recommendations will help solve the existing issues related to safety and security of the tourists and the industry," Minister Fernando was quoted as saying in the statement.
Sri Lanka is expecting at least 3 million tourists in 2020 and hope to increase these numbers to 7 million in five years.
Presently India, China and Britain are the leading markets for Sri Lanka tourism.