Assault On Dutch Tourists: Sri Lanka Tourism Says Surf Bar Mirissa Does Not Have Valid License To Run Business

The Surf Bar and Restaurant, Mirissa, the restaurant at the centre of a controversy in Mirissa, has not obtained license from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority to run a tourism related business, a senior official from the SLTDA said. 

The restaurant came under spotlight  when some tourists including a Dutch male and two other women tourists were reported to have been brutally assaulted in Mirissa on Sunday morning when they resisted attempts to sexually assault the women.

According to eyewitnesses and several media reports, the group had been enjoying dinner and drinks at the Surf Bar and Restaurant on Saturday night when a group, including some waiters at the restaurant had attempted to sexually harass the women.

"While the Tourist Police Division is investigating into the criminal aspect of the incident, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority also launched a separate inquiry. It has been revealed that the Surf Bar and Restaurant has been operating without a license from the SLTDA. That means, according to the Tourism Act, they are not authorized to run a tourism related business in Sri Lanka," the senior official said. 

According to the Tourism Act it is mandatory for all tourism related service providers in Sri Lanka to obtain license from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

It is also learnt that the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has formally requested the Excise Department to cancel the liquor license of the restaurant as it is not registered with the SLTDA.

He said that the SLTDA would pursue stern action against the operators of the restaurant through its Enforcement Unit. 

He also added that the SLTDA would fully facilitate the Police investigation into the incident by providing air tickets and accomodation for the dutch tourists to visit Sri Lanka for the Police inquiry and other proceedings. 

"We also request the tourists to obtain services from licensed and authorized businesses while in Sri Lanka as they come under the regulatory framework of the Sri Lanka Tourism. We are also in the process of tracking unlicensed businesses and push them into the regulatory framework so that they have to maintain proper standards. We will also initiate legal action against businesses refusing to comply with the licensing process. We have also introduced 'tourist-friendly' logo and accreditation so that foreigners will soon be able to find proper tourism-related service providers without difficulty," the official stated.

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