COLOMBO, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's Tourism Minister John Amaratunga on Tuesday vowed to look into the safety and health of tourists by advising restaurants and eating houses to maintain high quality standards.
In a ceremony to award certificates to restaurants who have been identified as Tourist Friendly Eating Places in capital Colombo, Amaratunga said the government was keen to ensure that Sri Lanka was a safe destination especially for tourists who were looking to enjoy a diverse cuisine.
He said the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) in collaboration with the Health Ministry and Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) had launched a project to encourage the upgrading of food safety, hygiene and service of eating places supplying food for foreign and local tourists.
The project is named as Certification Scheme For Tourist Friendly Eating Places.
Restaurants and Eating houses in Sigiriya, in the Central Province and Unawatuna in the south have already been graded and restaurants in capital Colombo are now under a check.
The Tourism Ministry, Health Ministry and CMC soon plan to expand this program to the outskirts of Colombo, the Central Hills of Kandy and Galle, in the south.
"It is important to take this program to the other touristic destinations in Sri Lanka. Today tourists who come to Sri Lanka do not stick to Colombo alone. They travel in other parts as well. Therefore the government wants to ensure that their health and safety is ensured," Amaratunga said.
"It is our responsibility to ensure that restaurants and eating houses maintain a basic standard. So that tourists and locals do not suffer from any disease or discomfort from consuming food. We must ensure that this is carried in all parts of the country," he added.
Based upon the inspection scores, on Tuesday, 25 eating houses in the CMC area were awarded the Grade A and Grade B certification.
A total of 50 eating houses were inspected in Colombo.
Amaratunga said the remaining 25 restaurants will receive their certification after they improve their standards.
"Our objective is to ensure that tourists enjoy remarkable experiences during their stay in Sri Lanka. Colombo, being the island's capital city, is one of the famous destinations among the foreign and local tourists and we need dynamic strategies to improve standards and quality on services that are offered to tourists," Director General of SLTDA, M. Kiriella said.
Sri Lanka received about 2 million tourists last year and this year the island country is expecting 2.5 million tourists.