Sri Lankan authorities preparing to reopen country’s borders
Sri Lanka’s airport and aviation as well as tourism industry stakeholders are reportedly making preparations to reopen the country’s borders and resume international tourism in the country from Thursday (21).
The move is expected to give a big boost to Sri Lanka’s Covid-19-hit economy.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) has reportedly notified all airlines of the resumption of commercial flights at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) from 21 January, subject to certain conditions related to safeguarding people from Covid-19 pandemic.
Local media reports noted that it has been stated that the total number of foreign tourists permitted to arrive in Sri Lanka should not exceed 2,500 per day.
Though industry believes numbers will be smaller initially and to increase thereafter in tandem with confidence and improved Covid 19 situation, the arrival of tourists-proper and commercial airline flights will be after a 10-month closure of borders as part of measures to contain the pandemic, the Daily FT has reported. As a precursor to the formal re-opening, a pilot project involving around 2,000 Ukrainian tourists were flown since 28 December 2020, the news report noted.
The CAASL has also said there will be no restrictions imposed on the number of passengers to be carried on Government organised repatriation flights for Sri Lankans abroad.
“The total number of passengers arriving for paid quarantine in terms of approvals granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be limited to 750 per day. A maximum of 75 passengers for paid quarantine can be carried in an Aircraft and the rest could be filled with tourists,” CAASL has reportedly told airlines.
According to the Daily FT report, all operations should be carried out in accordance with the recommendations and guidelines of the Covid-19 Task Force and the Ministry of Health. Additionally, all tourism operations must comply with the special guidelines of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).
The government of Sri Lanka is committed to recommencing the country’s tourism industry that was affected due to the global travel ban due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the country until the Covid 19 pandemic affected global travel. However, Sri Lanka is now one of the leading travel destinations in the world given the safety and hygienic certification received by the country as well as being listed as a must visit destination by several leading global travel publications. Many leading international leisure brands have expressed interest in entering the country’s leisure sector. Also, investments in the leisure sector have seen an increase in the past few months. These actions indicate the growth potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. Foreign businesses/investors could explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s expanding tourism industry.
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