The Tourism Ministry expects anywhere between 500 and 1,000 tourists to visit Sri Lanka daily from 1 August.

The Tourism Ministry expects anywhere between 500 and 1,000 tourists to visit Sri Lanka daily from 1 August.

Since the reopening of the country’s borders, after they were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation, 18,200 tourists have arrived, leading to the country earning nearly $ 40 million, as per figures claimed by the Tourism Ministry.

According to Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, discussions are underway with newly-appointed Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa regarding the development of the tourism sector. He said that the only way to solve the problems of those employed in the tourism industry, which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, is to open the country and restore the tourism sector.

The Tourism Ministry is currently hoping to hold discussions with the relevant authorities of those countries that have imposed travel bans on Sri Lanka, with the hope of lifting the said bans. The US relaxed its travel ban on Sri Lanka from “Level Four: Do Not Travel” to “Level Three: Reconsider Travel” effective from 6 July, and this travel advisory on Sri Lanka is a periodical revision published by the US State Department under the Level Three category.

Meanwhile, during a recent discussion with the people who are involved in the tourism industry in the Sigiriya area, Ranatunga added that there is no point in implementing piecemeal solutions for this issue, adding that the Government’s purpose is to win back the attention of tourists by promoting Sri Lanka as a country that is Covid-free, through the conduct of a proper vaccination programme.

Accordingly, Ranatunga has submitted a Cabinet memorandum to obtain approval for the construction of water circuit houses and water bungalows to develop the tourism industry.

This Cabinet memorandum proposes the construction of such houses and bungalows in the vicinity of the islands in Kalpitiya. Currently, such water lodges and water bungalow systems are in operation in countries such as the Maldives, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mauritius, Mexico, Cambodia and Fiji, as well as in France and Switzerland. Eco-friendly water lodges and water bungalows will be constructed in such a way as to provide an innovative experience by constructing these in the shallow waters around islands present.

The Morning