Sri Lankan tourist arrivals not affected by dengue outbreak: minister

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Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said on Wednesday that the ongoing dengue outbreak had no adverse impact on the tourist arrivals to the island country.

Amaratunga told Xinhua that tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka had seen a decline this month due to devastating floods and cyclone which hit the country late last month and then the threat of epidemic disease.

However, he said things were now returning to normalcy in the disaster-affected areas, and the government was confident that tourist arrivals would pick up during this tourist season.

“The dengue epidemic itself did not adversely affect the tourism arrivals this month. The word went around that we were facing floods. But that has now subsided. Even dengue is now on the decline, so we are confident tourist arrivals will pick up and we will be able to achieve our targets,” Amaratunga said.

He added that tourist arrivals hit a record high of 2 million last year and the expected tourist arrivals this year is an additional 2.5 million tourists.

At least 210 people have died of dengue in Sri Lanka and over 70,000 people got infected, health workers said.

The Health Ministry on Wednesday launched a two week cleaning program to reduce the spread of dengue and to clean up mosquito density spots.

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