Harin Fernando, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Tourism and Lands, issued an apology for his recent comments about the Maldives made during the ITB Berlin fair. Fernando tweeted that his comment was taken out of context and misrepresented on social media. He also acknowledged the collaboration between the two countries in the tourism sector and expressed regret for any inconvenience caused.
During a panel discussion at the fair held between March 7-9, Fernando compared Sri Lanka and the Maldives as tourist destinations. He emphasized the diverse experiences offered in Sri Lanka, stating that there are many options available for tourists. However, in a video that circulated on social media, Fernando commented that the Maldives only has beaches, and if visitors stay there for five days, they may get tired of being on one island.
The Minister’s comments drew criticism on social media, including from Sri Lankans. The Maldives’ Minister of Tourism also responded, highlighting that many tourists visit the Maldives repeatedly and that Fernando’s comments were not intended to launch a negative campaign against the Maldives.