Pilot programme underway to restart tourism sector

Sri Lanka has welcomed the first tourists since closing its borders due to the pandemic eight months ago. Two groups of travellers from the Ukraine were the first to arrive under a pilot programme to restart the country’s tourism sector. 2,500 tourists have arrived under the programme, mainly from CIS countries.

Sri Lanka has re-opened international airports under strict health guidelines, to kick-start tourism.

The Sri Lankan government will soon identify new tourism zones across the country to protect and enhance socio-economic development and manage the existing zones to attract more tourists into the island country.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority is reviewing some of these zones, and is looking at suggestions for additional tourism zones if any. The zones are designed to act as catalysts to stimulate the growth of tourism destinations that are environment friendly and to provide new experiences.

Sri Lanka ended 2019 with 1.91 million tourists, but 2020 saw total tourist arrivals of just over half a million.