Thursday, 03 June 2021 10:37

First batch of tourists arrives in the island after 10-day ban Featured

Sri Lanka reopens the Katunayake International Airport with the arrival of 19 tourists from eight passenger flights, after a 10-day restriction on inbound travellers.

Airport Aviation Service (Lanka) Ltd., said these travellers were disembarked at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) from flights operated by Qatar Airways, Emirates and six SriLankan Airlines.

“The numbers will gradually increase towards the latter part of the year as a result of the rapid vaccination program throughout the country,” AASL official said adding that there are close to 2,000 tourists in the country at present.

Former Russian Ambassodor Udyanga Weeratunge is now planning to bring Russian tourists’ under bio bubble to Sri Lanka very soon before the winter season confining them to the East of Sri Lanka, to the Pasikudah area where there are fewer people, informed sources said.

Discussions are underway between “Sri Lankan” and Aeroflot Airlines to resume at least flight per week to bring around 2500 Russian tourists per month using Aeroflot flight

With the lifting on the temporary ban on inbound passengers to the country, a total of 567 people arrived yesterday, in addition to 52 crew members and 120 transit passengers. However, all tourists must engage in a 14-day mandatory quarantine, while restrictions are still maintained on passengers who have a travel history to Vietnam and India in the recent past.

Previously, passenger flights were banned from 21-31 May as part of overall measures to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 via its third wave. With domestic travel restrictions continuing till 7 June, there were concerns whether the ban on incoming passenger flights will continue as well.

Prior to the COVID outbreak, around 35 airlines operated direct flights to Sri Lanka. However post-COVID, only Qatar Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Turkish Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Singapore Airlines, China Eastern, Ukraine Airlines, Air Astana, Oman Air, Gulf Air and Fly Dubai resumed flights to Sri Lanka.

After a near 10-month closure, Sri Lanka on 21 January re-opened borders to resume inbound international travel to the country. Since then, over 13,000 tourists have arrived while complying with health and safety guidelines.


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