Blasts take sheen off Sri Lanka as hot tourist destination for Indians | India News

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NEW DELHI: Serial blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday led to a slowdown in the travel and tourism sector, with holiday planners and travel companies adopting a cautious approach in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
Sri Lankan, which operates 118 weekly flights between Colombo and 12 Indian cities, said in a statement that the airline had informed passengers who were scheduled to depart Colombo on Sunday to arrive at the airport four hours prior to departure, as security at the Bandaranaike International Airport was tightened, but said the airline “currently continues operations as per schedule” .
Live updates: Sri Lanka bombings

In light of the long weekend, a number of Indian tourists were understood to be in Sri Lanka on Sunday. Karan Anand of travel major Cox & Kings said, “All our guests who are in Sri Lanka are safe and we are monitoring the situation. We are getting updates from our local office in Sri Lanka and will guide our customers accordingly. ”
Mahesh Iyer, executive director and CEO, Thomas Cook India, said, “For future departures, updates and requests from our booked customers, we will offer best options; to either defer their travel or provide best alternative destination availability, visas, documentation and pricing. For our customers who prefer to cancel, we will provide a travel voucher, thus enabling them to reschedule. ”
Thomas Cook India Group CMD Madhavan Menon said the company’s customers, currently on tour, were “accounted for and safe”, as also the group’s people on their teams .
Travel portal Yatra COO Sharat Dhal said the blasts would have a negative impact in the short term but things should return to normal soon.
Sri Lanka is a popular destination for Indian tourists and over 4.5 lakh Indians visited the island in 2018 and the figure was expected to double in 2019.
IndiGo, which has three daily flights between India and Colombo, is “providing full fee waiver on rescheduling/cancellation for all flights to/from Colombo for travel scheduled till April 24”. Air India has also done the same.
SOTC Travel’s president (leisure) Daniel D’souza said, “The safety of our customers remains SOTC’s foremost priority… For future bookings the same would be taken in best interest of our customers.”
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