Sri Lanka Tourism on inquiring deeply into, the widely circulated YouTube video by a US Tourist, claiming that his pre-booked rental vehicle not being available on arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport led him in frustration to cancel his tour of the Island and return to Istanbul, finds that the passenger didn’t make any effort to contact the car rental company on arrival in Sri Lanka.
Recognizing the importance of ensuring that every single visitor to the country is warmly welcomed and treated to the high standards of visitor expectations and leave with memorable experiences that Sri Lanka Tourism is proud of, an in-depth inquiry was carried out. In a detailed report from the car rental company it is stated that the booking for transportation had been made via a third-party website and was in fact for the 6th of October 2021 and not the 7th of October 2021, on which date Mr. George, the tourist, arrived in the country. The inquiry revealed that the car rental company had sent a representative who had spent the day within the airport on 6th October, awaiting the traveller and had gone back to the base station which is located just 5 minutes from the airport terminal.
Tourism industry veterans find it strange that a visitor fluent in English, on arrival, did not contact the car rental company, from which he had booked transport which also has a vehicle station within five minutes from the airport terminal, and request for an alternative vehicle or in any other way try to request assistance from within the airport. The visitor also had the opportunity to speak to any one of the staff of the car rental companies, that have counters that are manned 24 hours, for the convenience of visitors arriving without prearranged transport and who would have gladly assisted him to proceed to his chosen accommodation and location. The irony is this visitor seems to be a seasoned traveller coming from San Francisco via Mexico City, Cancun, Istanbul and Maldives to Sri Lanka.
Nevertheless, Sri Lanka Tourism has taken due note of this complaint and urges industry partners and stakeholders of the importance of keeping their teams refreshed on service standards and work ethic that we must always deliver to, both local and foreign, travellers an experience that is in keeping with their expectations.
On 1st October Sri Lanka Tourism announced a relaxed, bubble free experience for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the country with a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to embarkation. It was also announced that unvaccinated children travelling with vaccinated parents below the age of 12 years will not require an on-arrival PCR test. This ease in protocols has created a surge in interest in Sri Lanka as a destination of choice which has resulted in an increase in arrivals.
Sri Lanka Tourism is committed to creating an environment where travellers leave with memorable experiences yearning to return to the Island. Now the country is open to international visitors with all industry stakeholders poised and ready to welcome travellers to Sri Lanka — a destination long known as a treasure trove of possibilities waiting to be discovered.