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“Extra security will restore safe image of Sri Lanka’

A Sri Lankan hotel chain and ground handler is confident extra security measures will help to restore the perception of the country as a safe place to visit.

Jetwing Hotels, which also operates ground handler Jetwing Travel and works with UK operators, said it understood why many countries had imposed a travel ban on Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday bombings, which killed at least 250 people.

But in a statement issued this morning, chairman and managing director Shiromal Cooray said: “We are very confident the security forces who have had all their powers restored will do everything needed to not only ensure the safety of all Sri Lankans and visitors but also restore the lost perception that Sri Lanka is as safe as any other country in the world.

“They have already apprehended many and are continuing their search operations, for which we are grateful.”

A statement from one of the group’s tour operator partners said all travel firms in Sri Lanka were working with the government to introduce additional measures to ensure safety, including more high-profile policing.

Cooray admitted the country’s spirit was “broken” by the recent attacks on churches and hotels in Colombo, but upbeat about the future and defeating terrorism in the country. He thanked holidaymakers who had continued to support the country.

Cooray added: “We thank all those visitors who in spite of everything continued their holidays in Sri Lanka and those others who did not cancel their trips after Easter Sunday.

“In fact, we spoke to a British couple at the hotel last night who were defiant and assured us they are continuing their trip in the country. I have heard some say, “how can we enjoy, when there is so much sadness among the people?”. Whilst appreciating their empathy, humbly I say, if you don’t, some people may have their livelihoods impacted.”

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