Sri Lanka to launch pilot tourism project to bring in US$ 10 million
Sri Lanka has reportedly decided to open the country’s airport for tourism from December 29 to accommodate Russian region based tourists, former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga has been quoted as saying in the local media.
He has been quoted in the Daily News Business saying that this would be under a trend setting pilot project which is very well planned and coordinated by Weeratunga himself and has also received the Cabinet approval and health authorities’ ‘green light.’
Weeratunga has further said that he wanted to execute this project two months ago but due to the second C-19 wave in Sri Lanka this project was on hold. With the re-planned execution of this project the local travel industry which is at a standstill will receive a major boost of around US$ 10 million and will also revive the supporting industries.
Explaining further, he has said that initially 5,000 tourists from Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine who undergo a 72 hour prior PCR test report will visit Sri Lanka on special flights operated by leading Russian and Ukraine airlines such as Aeroflot, Ukraine Air and SkyUp.
They are to operate three to Bandaranaike International Airport and six to Mattala Rajapaksa International airports per week. They will be issued one month visas for USD 35 each.
“I have contacted several beach hotels (around 2,600 rooms in total) and created four travel beach front corridors in Bentota, Taj Exotica Hotels (Bentota Beach, The Surf and, Avani), in Beruwala, (Eden, The Palms, and Cinnamon Bay), in Kalutara (Avani and Anantata) and in Koggala (three hotels) and the tourists will travel directly to these hotels on busses where a compulsory pre-check in PCR test awaits them,” Weeratrunga has told Daily News Business.
One of the unique features of this concept is a special dedicated small hotel in each corridor being allocated for medical staff to quarantine and treat Covid-19 patients if they come across any and these four hotels and medical staff have to be funded and looked after by the dedicated cluster hotels in each corridor, the news report has added.
The reopening of Sri Lanka’s airports would result in the recommencement of the country’s tourism industry. Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the country when the global Covid 19 pandemic shut down borders. The island was also becoming a business hub in the South Asian region given its geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country. However, the reopening of the airports will once again open the country’s key economic sectors. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore explore business opportunities in Sri Lanka.
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