Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tsunami Emergency: Sri Lanka Tourist Board Website

Sri Lanka Website Reaches Out Across the World
Call Centre and Web Site

Colombo, Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka Tourist Board's website has reached out to people in all parts of the world, providing vital updates on the Tsunami emergency and helping to reunite friends and family.

The website - www.contactsrilanka.org - was established on December 27, to facilitate the dissemination of information including an Online Traveller Inquiry Form, which allows those concerned to provide details of missing persons to aid in the search.

"A critical function of the website has been to provide a forum for people searching for their friends and loved ones," said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Mr Udaya Nanayakkara. The web site was supported by a 24 hour call center manned by volunteers who worked with the tourist industry to trace and evacuate travelers who were in the tsunami affected areas.

"In conjunction with the National Council of Economic Development, we also maintain a list of people who have registered with us and this list is constantly updated.

"There has been a steady stream of enquiries as a result and the service has been very successful in providing information on displaced tourists - we have reunited friends and family from Australia to the United Kingdom," he said.

The website also contains contact details for essential services such as the police, hospitals, flight and airline information and hotels.

Tourist Evacuation Completed in Affected Areas. Some Opt to Stay.
While most affected tourists have been evacuated, a remarkable number have stayed behind to continue with their vacation.

UK resident, Mrs Heidi Happ, her husband and two children - aged thirteen and two have also decided to stay on and continue their holiday. They were staying at the Taj Exotica when the Tsunami stuck.

"The staff were wonderful and they made us feel so safe and secure. We decided to stay back to support the hotel and the country and just two days ago my husband and thirteen year old daughter trekked through the Sinharaja rainforest. We intend to complete our vacation as scheduled on January 7 and we will be back for sure" said Mrs. Happ.

Latest figures show that of the 7,682 rooms affected by the Tsunami, 3,651 were back in full operation yesterday (Monday January 3, 2005)

Across the island, there are over 10,500 rooms in full operation as of today.

NOTE: All media enquiries should be directed to the dedicated media hotline at the Sri Lanka Tourist Board on tel: +94-11- 4740219.

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