Indian tourists welcome from next week despite continuing spread of COVID there

Sri Lanka has decided to re-open the country for Indian tourists from next week along with a string of other measures to revive the industry, a senior official of the Ministry said.

Accordingly Indian tourists who agree to stay in hotels registered as three-star or above will be able to travel to Sri Lanka, ending restrictions placed on visitors from India which continues to be severely affected by the spread of COVID-19.

The decision was taken after meetings with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

A decision was taken to inform the SriLankan Airlines and
other international airlines to resume flights to fly in tourists from India.

The moves come as India continues to report some 25,000 COVID-19 cases a day, though it has shown a decline.

Meanwhile Foreign tourists arriving next week will be allowed to visit public parks and cultural sites, despite the country being under a 10- day long curfew until August 30.

Accordingly officials at wildlife parks, zoological and botanical gardens and the Central Cultural Fund managed heritage sites have been adviced to facilitate the visits of tourists in the coming days.

The Ministry official said the President had instructed them to ensure that the tourism industry was revived.

President Rajapaksa in an address to the nation on Friday said the tourism industry, which generated more than USD 4.5 billion and provided livelihood to about 3 million people, has completely collapsed with the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“We are also taking great efforts to rebuild the collapsed tourism industry. At the moment, nearly 200 tourists enter the country on a daily basis. If we close down the country, we will have to restart attracting tourists from the very beginning,” he said.


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