Sri Lanka tourist industry puts on brave face after airbase attack

March 26, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has been dealt a further blow by the daring Tamil Tiger rebel air strike on the Katunayake air force base officials and market analysts said, though most are insisting that tourism, while down, is not out. “It’s been a good experience,” Lee Carlton, a visitor from the UK told LBO at the airport just before leaving the county.

“My flight was to leave at one o’clock, now it leaves at three thirty. It hasn’t really had a detrimental effect.”

Peter Umblair agreed : “I know very little about it apart from the fact we were told to stay in our hotel for two hours. It has been a great holiday so far.”

The international airport was closed for about 3 hours, disrupting several flights, but no tourist was injured or hurt.

Brave Face

Chandima Rasaputra, chairman of Airports and Aviation Services the state-firm that owns the country’s only international airport, told reporters at the airport that the attack was a small incident, albeit being the newest type of terrorist attack.

Malin Hapugoda of Aitken Spence Hotels and a former president of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, said the rapid resumption of flights at the Bandaranaike International Airport