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Wednesday June 29th, 2022

Top China tour operator to direct one million tourists to Sri Lanka: Ambassador

Former Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi with a Chinese tourist in Sri Lanka who recovered from COVID-19 in March 2020 – FILE PHOTO

ECONOMYNEXT – Caissa Travel Group, one of China’s top five travel groups has assured Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China Palitha Kohona that it will direct one million Chinese tourists to the island when the travel restrictions are lifted, the foreign ministry said.

Ambassador Kohona had met several Chinese tour operators and environmental NGOs at the Innovation and Development of Cities Summit, a foreign ministry statement said on Monday (04).

Sri Lanka has already lifted COVID-19 restrictions for tourists.

The Ambassador had encouraged tour operators to send one million tourists to Sri Lanka, for which Caissa Group had expressed their agreement.

China is one of Sri Lanka’s top three tourist source markets.

While promoting the many tourist sites of the country, he had also briefed the Chinese counterparts on Sri Lanka’s decision to ban importation of chemical fertilizers, certain types of plastic and consume at 70 percent renewable energy by 2030.

Sri Lanka’s pandemic-hit tourism industry is confident of a strong resurgence and a 500 million US dollar revenue for the financial year ending in March 2022 with at least 50,000 arrivals per month, an industry representative told EconomyNext last week.

“What we have observed in other destinations is that the fewer the controls, the higher the arrivals,” President of the Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) Sanath Ukwatte told EconomyNext on Thursday (30).

“However, even before this new relaxation and the UK’s announcement on moving Sri Lanka out of the red list, our arrivals were increasing. We are quite confident that in this financial year (ending March 2022), we will be able to earn at least 500 million dollars or a little bit more than that,” he said.

The Indian Ocean island nation’s health ministry on Tuesday announced that it will relax COVID-19 restrictions for arrivals with no on-arrival PCR tests needed for fully vaccinated inbound travellers with a negative PCR report obtained within 72 hours before arrival.

Before the relaxation, PCR tests soon after arrival were mandatory at a cost of about 40 US dollars, with a one-day quarantine until the reports were cleared.

Sri Lanka’s peak winter travel season is from October till March. (Colombo/Oct05/2021)

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