Speaking to The Morning Business, Ministry of Tourism Secretary S. Hettiarachchi also informed that the tourist arrivals are 1,682 arrivals in January, 3,366 in February, 4,581 in March, and 4,168 arrivals in April.
“In the last week of May, the airport closed, thus, the tourist arrivals from 1 May to 21 May is 1497, with around 997 arrivals so far as of 7 June,” Hettiarachchi commented.
He further commented that most of the tourists have arrived from the countries of Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Germany, China, and India. It was further noted that future tourists are also expected to arrive from these countries.
“After 21 June, health authorities have said that they will evaluate what the situation of the pandemic is, whether we are at a standstill or if there has been an increase or decrease of Covid patients and take necessary decisions,” Hettiarachchi stated.
He further added that tourists are still visiting the country with the travel bubble system that is in place along with quarantining at the Level 1 hotels.
On the other hand, the Tourism Ministry Secretary stated that the ministry expects more than 100,000 arrivals from China.
However, he stated that China is not fully comfortable with international travel, and that the ministry will have future discussions regarding this.
“There are currently two ways we can increase our tourist arrivals, one includes an associate from the Chinese Embassy who is related to the cultural ministry who proposed to bring pilgrim tourists,” Hettiarachchi commented.
He further added that the second way is through a US associate that has an Memorandum of Understanding with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority in order to promote Sri Lankan tourism to China.
Accordingly, the US associate has promised to bring around 100,000. He also stated that there is no Travel Bubble with China as of yet.
However, Hettiarachchi commented: “In the future, we would prefer to normally carry out tourism operations when the situation is better, rather than a travel bubble.”
On the other hand, the relief package for loans and leasing facilities provided by the Government to businesses and other parties in the tourism sector who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic was also extended until the end of this year.