Tourism sector gets a boost

The tourism sector in Sri Lanka got a boost last evening following a webinar hosted by Daily Mirror yesterday, where proposals and concerns of the industry were raised and discussed.

During the online session, stakeholders called for further relaxation of some of the Covid related health guidelines and restrictions in place to help the industry recover.

Subsequently it was announced that fully vaccinated international travellers, who have received the second dose of the vaccine 14 days prior to arrival will now be allowed to enter the country without undergoing quarantine.

Tourism industry stakeholders were also informed last evening that more tourist sites have been reopened for visitors travelling to Sri Lanka under a bio-bubble.

Speaking during an online session hosted by Daily Mirror yesterday, stakeholders put forward a number of proposals, including the need to open more tourist sites in Sri Lanka, a further relaxation of some of the health restrictions and a waiver of the interest on loans obtained by hotels since 2019.

Mahen Kariyawasam, the immediate past president of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) said that wildlife parks and other attractions must be opened.“at the moment only Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya are open,” he noted.

Subsequently the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority had informed the stakeholders that several sites have now been opened for visitors.

This includes the Temple of the Sacred Tooth, Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, Yala National Park, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (from August 1st), Ridiyagama Safari Park, Horton Plains National Park, Minneriya National Park, Mirissa and Sinharaja.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said fully vaccinated international travellers, who have received the second dose of the vaccine 14 days prior to arrival will now be allowed to enter the country without undergoing quarantine.

While several restrictions remain for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated visitors, those who have been ‘double-jabbed’ will have travel restrictions eased. This includes entry into the country without a period of quarantine other than the 24 hours required to stay in a Safe and Secure Level 1 Hotel until the on-arrival PCR test results are available.

Meanwhile, Dileep Mudadeniya speaking on behalf of The Hotel Association of Sri Lanka said that the hotel sector was severely affected following the Easter Sunday attacks and then Covid.as a result, he said the hotel sector has requested for a waiver of the interest for existing loans.

Also speaking at the session, Colombo City Restaurant Collective (CCRC) President Harpo Gunaratne said that bars and clubs should be allowed to operate. He urged the health authorities to discuss the matter with the leisure sector.

Speaking during the session, Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of the SLTDA said that Sri Lanka Tourism has been engaging with the health authorities to ease some of the current restrictions.

Fernando also called on the stakeholders to try and convince foreign envoys based in Sri Lanka that the country is safe.(EASWARAN RUTNAM)


Original Article: https://www.dailymirror.lk/latest_news/Tourism-sector-gets-a-boost/342-216133

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