Sri Lanka tourist arrivals fall 7-pct in Jan 2020 amid virus, China down 15-pct

PROTECTIONS: Tourists wearing face masks walking past a billboard in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals dropped 7.4 percent from a year earlier to 226,094 and in January 2020, and visitors from China dropped 15 percent to 22,363, Chairperson of Sri Lanka’s Tourist Development Authority Kimarli Fernando said.

Arrivals from China had dropped to 22,263 in January 2020 from 26,414 visitors last year.

There has been a small drop in arrivals from other destinations, she said.

Sri Lanka is expecting a sharper slowdown in tourists in February after the island stopped giving on-arrival visas Chinese visitors.

Sri Lanka is now pre-approving visas to visitors only from Chinese cities where there no large concentrations of coronavirus infections.

China has also stopped outgoing group tours from the country.

“Tour operators have cancelled but individuals and families are still arriving,” she said.

Sri Lanka has put in place procedures to handle visitors for China, with separate lines for immigration, thermal screening, doctors examination at the airport. They also have to fill a form giving their itinerary.

Health officials said tourist from China and tour guides and drivers have been asked to wear masks and wash their hands frequently. (Colombo/Feb03/2020)





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