Lanka plans to kick-start tourism industry | Sunday Observer

Lanka plans to kick-start tourism industry

31 May, 2020

Sri Lanka is exploring avenues to create a travel bubble, or a corridor between Sri Lanka and other countries for tourists to move more freely with eased quarantine measures, to kick-start the struggling tourism industry.

Veteran hotelier and a former chairman of The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), Hiran Cooray told the Business Observer that the industry is having discussions to embark on these bilateral agreements with countries that have tackled the spread of Covid-19 efficiently.

“Sri Lanka has managed Covid-19 very well,” he said, adding it is one of the countries that has currently done so.

The discussions come amidst the country having no tourist arrivals in April as the airport was closed for inbound flights other than for special ones such as those that operated to repatriate Sri Lankans residing abroad.

Compared to 2019, the industry was seeing a gradual drop this year with January seeing a decrease of 6.5 percent, February 17.7 percent and in March 70.8 percent.

Cooray also said that they are welcoming the decisions made by the government to open stand-alone restaurants, hotels and bars by next week.

The tourism industry is gearing to encourage domestic tourists to travel as the country is slowly easing the curfew to restart day-to-day work.

“We are following guidelines given by the Health Ministry, WHO and SLTDA to ensure that it is safe for customers,” he added.

Speaking about the move, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said a date for the reopening was not fixed. She said the decision will depend on what the health ministry states.