COLOMBO, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government said on Tuesday that it would strengthen its tourist police force in 2018 for the safety and assistance of tourists visiting the island country.
Law and Order Ministry officials said the government had allocated Rs. 50 million (320,000 U.S. dollars) to strengthen the police force in order to make Sri Lanka a safe haven for tourists.
Accordingly, the government handed over 18 new motor bikes and four terrain vehicles to the tourist police on Tuesday. The vehicles were handed over by Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake and Tourism Minister John Amaratunga.
The Sri Lankan government said it will take immediate measures to provide a safe environment for tourists to the island nation.
Tourism Minister Amaratunga said the government was concerned about the increasing number of complaints of exploitation and harassment of foreign tourists and pleged to take stern action against those involved.
Amaratunga added that with tourist arrivals hitting record figures in recent years, the number of complaints was also increasing.
"We are very much aware of the ground situation and plan to take stern measures so that the good name of the industry and the country is not spoiled by a few miscreants," he had said.
Sri Lanka's tourism industry, which was once heavily scarred by a 30-year civil conflict, has emerged as the leading foreign exchange earner with an increasing number of tourists.
China has been Sri Lanka's second largest market with 249,000 Chinese tourists arrivals so far this year.