Hiran Cooray Calls for Government Review of Visa Processing Decision
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Hiran Cooray Calls for Government Review of Visa Processing Decision

In its latest annual report, Jetwing Symphony PLC Chairman Mr. Hiran Cooray has addressed significant concerns regarding recent developments affecting Sri Lanka’s tourism sector. Mr. Cooray commended the collaborative efforts of President Ranil Wickremasinghe, Minister Harin Fernando, and tourism authorities, which have contributed to the country’s impressive recovery as a tourism destination.

However, Mr. Cooray expressed dismay over the unforeseen introduction of visa processing by a foreign private entity, labeling it as a potential impediment to the industry’s progress. “As we were flying smoothly towards our cruising altitude, we were recently met with clear-air turbulence,” stated Mr. Cooray, referencing a quote from a recent board meeting.

He further emphasized the potential adverse effects of this decision, particularly in light of efforts by competing regional destinations such as Thailand to ease border controls and attract tourists. “While many countries are easing border controls to boost their tourist arrivals, especially regional competitors such as Thailand, it is not the time to add further constraints in the form of increased visa fees, with no revenue and benefit to the country”, Mr. Cooray cautioned.

In his remarks, Mr. Cooray urged the country’s leadership to reconsider the decision promptly, highlighting the collective interest of stakeholders and the broader Sri Lankan community. “This is not just a concern for the tourism industry but a matter of national importance,” he concluded, underscoring the need for policies that support sustainable tourism growth and economic recovery.

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