Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has said that the country has received a revenue of Rs. 420 million from the 1500 Ukrainian tourists who arrived in the country under the pilot project of reopening the country for tourists from December 26, 2020 onwards.
He said that all arrangements have been finalized to reopen the country to tourists from Thursday (January 21) in accordance with the strict health guidlines. All steps have also been taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from tourists to locals and vice versa.
He added that the decision to reopen the country for tourists was taken in view of the difficulties experienced by nearly three million people dependent on the industry who are badly affected due to the downturn of tourism.
The Minister stated this at a discussion held with the heads of media institutions at the Mass Media and Information Ministry. The discussion was held under the patronage of Media Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella.
He added that all steps have been taken to bring in tourists to the country strictly adhering to the health guidelines and rectifying the shortcomings identified during the implementation of the pilot project.
Around 180 hotels certified by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority for following health guidelines will provide accommodation for tourists.
Tourists who will arrive the country after January 21 should stay in tourism bubbles and all the tourists should undergo one PCR test before their arrival to the country and another two PCR tests after arrival to the country.
Several Middle Eastern and Asian airlines have already started flying into Colombo on a commercial basis ahead of the re-opening of airports. Several new airlines have also expressed interest in operating to Colombo once normality is regained.
However, special repatriation flights for Sri Lankans operated by SriLankan and other airlines will also continue depending on the demand and requirements. Also, special repatriation flights for Sri Lankans operated by SriLankan and other airlines will also continue depending on the demand and requirements.