Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga has written to the Minister of Law and Order, Sagala Ratnayake requesting an urgent meeting with the police to address the mounting number of complaints of harassment of tourists.
“Officials of various associations and bodies involved in tourism development have brought to my attention the increasing trend of harassment of tourists and also many instances of physical harm caused to tourists. These acts are brazenly carried out by touts and unauthorized tour guides in the absence of a police presence,” states Minister Amaratunga in his letter to Minister Ratnayake.
Minister Amaratunga has noted that there is a proliferation of touts and unauthorized tour guides in the areas frequented by tourists which has become a menace to the tourist trade.
The Minister has stated that immediate action is necessary on the part of the police to address this issue and has called for a meeting with the DIGs and SSPs of the areas most affected.
The most affected areas have been identified as Mt. Lavinia, Wadduwa, Kalutara, Beruwala, Bentota, Ahungalla, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Unawatuna, Weligama, Mirissa, Polhena, Tangalle, Negombo, Hendala, Marawila, Arugam Bay, Nilaveli, Passikudah, Kandy and Sigiriya.
Minister Amaratunga has requested the Law and Order Minister to bring this matter to the attention of the Inspector General of Police.
He has requested a meeting with the IGP as soon as possible so as to have the necessary safeguards in place before the winter tourist season, which is the peak tourist season for Sri Lanka.