In response to certain social media posts being widely circulated where reference is drawn to tourists visiting the Yala National Park, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has dismissed them as false claims.
This was clarified through a statement issued by the SLTDA today (06th of June)
“Our attention has been drawn to certain social media posts being widely circulated in the public domain where reference is drawn to tourists brought in by certain individuals. The posts referred to are devoid of truth. We note the wide publicity given to such false posts. There is no such request nor approval given,” the SLTDA stated.
Further, the Authority stated that the ability to visit a Tourist Site requires the approval of the respective Line Agency, which in this case is the Wildlife Department.
“In the event the Line Agency approves only, can Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority grant approval to visit a site. In this regard we have not received any such request to seek approval to visit Yala National Park,” the SLTDA stressed.
However, it was mentioned that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka have agreed on a diplomatic level to facilitate crew members of two French vessels visiting Sri Lanka.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote to the Secretaries of Health and Tourism on 24.05.2021 informing about the delegation of French crew members arriving in two vessels from 7 th to 11 th June to visit Sri Lanka under a “Bio Safety Bubble”. They have requested to visit the National Parks of Yala, Minneriya-Kawudulla, Udawalawa and the Eco Park in Habarana. Upon the request, the State Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation approved 422 number of French crew members to visit these National Parks under strict bio-bubble conditions. Sri Lanka Navy will ensure adherence to Health Guidelines throughout the visit,” it stated.
It was noted that as this is a diplomatic delegation, the role of Tourism is limited to coordinating the visit with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Navy.