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Over 200 People Dead in Attacks on Sri Lankan Hotels and Churches

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Tragedy struck Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday when suicide bombers killed 207 people and injured 450 people in attacks on hotels and churches.

The blasts affected three churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa at 8:45 a.m. when worshipers gathered for service. There were four hotel attacks in the nation’s capital, Colombo. The hotels involved were the Shangri-La Hotel, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Kingsbury Hotel and the New Tropical Inn. An eighth blast occurred in a home.

Additionally, three police officers were killed in a raid on a house in Colombo, as they tried to interrogate a person believed to be involved in the attacks.

The attacks occurred between a small window of time, 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and is the deadliest violence since the country’s civil war ended in 2009.

As of yet, no organized terrorist group has taken responsibility, but Sri Lanka’s defense minister said the country would “take the necessary actions” against “extremist groups.”

Reports of at least three Americans among 30 foreigners killed in the attacks have surfaced. While the death toll is currently at 207, that number may rise with complications from injuries.

Sri Lanka announced a nationwide curfew and blocked the use of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp messages to prevent false news reports from spreading and to investigate the attacks.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source |

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WTTC Unveils Safe Travels Protocols for Airlines, Tour Operators and More

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The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, tour operators and meeting and event organizers in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery.

WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses.

Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes.

WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats.

“COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travelers and workforce,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO at IATA, in a statement. “Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”

Meanwhile, tour operators are being asked to enhance disinfection and deep cleaning practices for coaches and other vehicles as well as to roll out pre-allocated seating plans with no rotation and explore staggered timing for access to venues, hotels and restaurants, among other measures.

Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business,” stated WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara. “Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.”

“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank them and their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people traveling and flying safely,” she added. “The expertise from large and small tour operators contributed to define the new experience via tour operators and visiting event venues again, and were defined in the coordination of experts from this segment, through these robust global measures which have been embraced by businesses around the world.”

Visit WTTC.org to view a complete breakdown of the latest Safe Travels global protocols.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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