Sri Lanka’s borders to be reopened | Sunday Observer
Global promotional campaign for large-scale tourism:

Sri Lanka’s borders to be reopened

18 July, 2021

Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said the Tourism Ministry will launch a global promotion campaign to reopen Sri Lanka’s borders for large-scale tourism during the course of this year.

It has also been proposed to introduce a promotion scheme for airlines and hotels as well.

Discussions are under way with stakeholders of the tourism industry and various airlines regarding this. The Ministry plans to implement the promotional campaigns until the end of this year to attract foreign tourists to Sri Lanka, the Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

Following the reopening of the airport for tourists, over 17,000 tourists had arrived in Sri Lanka during the past few months.

However, tourist arrivals were suspended during the past two weeks. “We have reopened the airport again for tourists and granted them permission to visit Sri Lanka,” he said.

The Minister said at present, foreign tourists who have taken the two Covid vaccines are permitted to visit Sri Lanka if their on-arrival PCR test at the airport is negative. They will be permitted to travel within the country without a travel bubble. This promotional scheme has impressed foreign tourists visiting Sri Lanka. During the past 24 hours, 124 foreign tourists had arrived in Sri Lanka. This is an increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the country. “We hope the number of tourist arrivals will further increase within the next few weeks.”

The Government hopes to vaccinate all stakeholders of the tourism industry before reopening the borders, the Minister said, adding that a large number of tourism sector employees have already been vaccinated. “We have already covered the Southern Provincial Council area and Ampara in the Eastern Province. Tourism sector employees in the Ella area were also vaccinated yesterday while the Dambulla area will be covered today.

At present, nearly 250,000 employees have been directly involved in hotels which are functioning amid the pandemic. This includes the employees of level one and two hotels and Yala safari drivers. Tourists who have received two Covid vaccines will also be permitted to go to small-scale hotels and such hotels will also be reopened shortly. All those who work in those hotels will also be vaccinated, he said.

The Minister said nearly three million people are directly and indirectly involved in the tourism trade. Of them, a large number of people had been vaccinated under the Government’s vaccination program launched countrywide. “We have made arrangements to give vaccines to all others in the tourism sector who have not been covered by the national inoculation drive. Our target is to vaccinate all those in the tourism sector by July 24.”