Business

SLTDA says US tourist got date wrong 

  • Investigations find tourist did not contact rental company for assistance

Following the inquiry made by Sri Lanka Tourism on the US tourist who complained on his YouTube channel about returning back to his country merely after a few hours after arriving in Sri Lanka, it was found that he had got the cab booking date wrong.

The widely circulated YouTube video by a US tourist claimed that his pre-booked rental vehicle not being available to arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) led him to, in frustration, cancel his tour of the island and return to Istanbul.

In a detailed report from the car rental company, it is stated that the booking for transportation had been made via a third-party website and was in fact for 6 October 2021 and not 7 October 2021, on which date, George, the tourist, arrived in the country. The inquiry revealed that the car rental company had sent a representative who had spent the day within the airport on 6 October, awaiting the traveller and had gone back to the base station, which is located just five minutes from the airport terminal.  

Further, tourism industry veterans find it strange that a visitor fluent in English, on arrival, did not contact the car rental company, from which he had booked transport, which also has a vehicle station within five minutes’ distance from the airport terminal, and did not request for an alternative vehicle or in any other way try to request assistance from within the airport.

The visitor also had the opportunity to speak to any one of the staff of the car rental companies, which have counters that are manned 24 hours, for the convenience of visitors arriving without pre-arranged transport and who would have gladly assisted him to proceed to his chosen accommodation and location. However, the visitor seems to be a seasoned traveller coming from San Francisco via Mexico City, Cancun, Istanbul, and the Maldives to Sri Lanka.  

An official from the Tourism Ministry told The Morning Business that a report on this matter is due in two weeks.
On 1 October, Sri Lanka Tourism announced a relaxed, bubble-free experience for fully vaccinated travellers arriving in the country with a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to embarkation. It was also announced that unvaccinated children travelling with vaccinated parents below the age of 12 years will not require an on-arrival PCR test. This ease in protocols has created a surge in interest in Sri Lanka as a destination of choice which has resulted in an increase in arrivals. 

Nevertheless, Sri Lanka Tourism has taken due note of this complaint and urges industry partners and stakeholders of the importance of keeping their teams refreshed on service standards and work ethic which the country must always deliver to both local and foreign travellers; an experience that is in keeping with their expectations. 

Sri Lanka Tourism is committed to creating an environment where travellers leave with memorable experiences yearning to return to the island. Now the country is open to international visitors with all industry stakeholders poised and ready to welcome travellers to Sri Lanka – a destination long known as a treasure trove of possibilities waiting to be discovered.