Assaults on tourists in Mirissa: Minister assures ‘Absolute Safety’ in future

Minister John Amaratunga yesterday apologized to the Dutch tourists who were assaulted by a group miscreants in Mirissa on April 8 and assured them 'absolute safety’ in the future.

He told a news conference that his ministry was concerned about the safety of tourists because the government depended on the huge
revenue generated by the tourism industry.

“We are sorry about what happened and apologize to those tourists for the harassment they faced. We guarantee absolute safety in future for tourists, with the support of the Police,” the minister said.

He said the tourists also have a responsibility to check with whom they associate or travel with.The minister said his ministry would inquire whether the hotels or lodges were registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and that police presence on beaches was vital to avoid such unfortunate incidents.

“Tourist Police should be decentralized to tourist destinations to ensure tourists' safety and would encourage tourists to move around without fear. If policemen seem insufficient, I suggest additional security by the Police Special Task Force (STF) after discussing with the Law and Order Minister,” he said.

Meanwhile, the minister said it was the Government’s primary responsibility to ensure the safety of tourists and that they returned to their country with happy memories.

He said investigations would be conducted and maximum legal action taken and without delay. (Thilanka Kanakarathna)