New Tourism Minister rushes to London

In the wake of travel advisories issued by some countries because of the current political unrest in the country, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed newly-appointed Tourism Minister Vasantha Senanayake to visit London to mitigate the damage, an official said yesterday.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) let by the Prime Minister,
briefed the media yesterday that several countries had upgraded their travel advisories following claims by the UNP leaders and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya of blood baths.

SLPP Chairman G.L. Peiris said the Speaker had acted entirely contrary to the laws and conventions by entertaining envoys and MPs in Parliament despite prorogation.

He said some countries issued travel advisories following talks of bloodshed.

“This has happened at a time when the well-known magazine ‘Lonely Planet’ identified Sri Lanka as the number one destination for tourists. It is a hit on the economy. This is the tourist season. Hotels have been booked. Talks of bloodbath are entirely reckless and treacherous,” Prof. Peiris said.

He said the Prime Minister asked Minister Senanayake to travel to London along with hotel industry representatives to talk to the stakeholders.

Referring to UNP MP Navin Dissanayake saying the Constitution would be amended to make it compulsory for the President to consult the Speaker for the prorogation of Parliament, he asked why the UNP did not do it during the past three years and added that it was nothing but opportunism.

“People will express their feelings. We are telling our people not to be provoked. Talks of bloodshed were made to destabilise the country, whose image we want to protect,” Prof. Peiris said. (Kelum Bandara)