Sri Lanka’s Northern Palaly airport to reopen to get tourists for kovil festivals
The Morning: The Sri Lankan Government is planning to reopen Jaffna International Airport (JIA) in Palaly, anticipating to attract tourists for upcoming festivals that are going to take place in kovils (Hindu temples) in the area, The Morning Business learns.
During a recently held press conference in Jaffna, Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva stated that the Jaffna International Airport (JIA) in Palaly is to be reopened by July this year.
Speaking to The Morning Business, Airport and Aviation Sri Lanka (AASL) Chairman Maj. Gen. (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri stated: “There are two festivals coming up; one is the Thiruketheeswaram Kovil, and the other one is the Nallur Kovil.
Chandrasiri stated tourists who arrive to attend the aforementioned two festivals will be able to embark at the Palaly Airport, and added that the AASL is currently working on the airport’s reopening.
When The Morning Business inquired about the renovation expenses for the reopening of the airport, Chandrasiri stated that there was no specific expenditure for the reopening beyond the routine maintenance costs.
“It is because despite the fact that it was closed during the early days of the pandemic, it has been maintained well for the last two years, along with the manpower and equipment, which is the reason why that airport is expected to be reopened for operations in a mere 10-day period.”
The Thiruketheeswaram Kovil in Mannar is a hotspot for Hindu devotees, being one of the five great ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The annual festival takes place for ten days. At the same time, the Nallur Kovil festival takes place as a tribute to Lord Murugan at the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman (SLTDA) Priantha Fernando said that a meeting was held with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the opening of the JIA to make productive use of the airport in time to come.
Apart from JIA opening, Fernando highlighted that in August, there are five festivals in the country at which Indian tourists can be expected, as they have been arriving for this purpose in the past. Accordingly, road shows are expected to be carried out with the target of attracting these tourists, which are scheduled to commence on 10 July.
The Ministry of Tourism and Lands also conducted tourism promotions focused on Indian tourists with the participation of a few Bollywood celebrities.
The government of Sri Lanka is focused on further increasing ties between India and Sri Lanka by developing easy access between Sri Lanka’s Northern Province and India’s Southern Province. Connectivity between Sri Lanka and India would be further strengthened with the opening of the Northern Palaly Airport for flights between Sri Lanka and India. This move would increase tourism and trade opportunities for Sri Lanka, especially the Northern Province, with easy connectivity to India. Tourists from India are ranked at the top slot in Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals while the two countries also enjoy a free trade agreement (FTA) that is effectively in operation. Given the increasing access to Sri Lanka, Indian businesses/investors could confidently explore the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka. Also, other businesses/investors looking at doing business with India, could look at setting up base in Sri Lanka to engage with India.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/24062022/Z_6|