Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) yesterday welcomed the relaxation of compulsory quarantine which was necessary for the returnees from Sri Lanka to the UK.
In a statement SLAITO said it appreciated the roles played by the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka High Commissioner in the UK in this regard.
The United Kingdom is a key tourism market for Sri Lanka as it generates the second highest number of tourist arrivals to the country compared to any other source market. On an average, travellers from the UK stay for a duration of 12 days, generating a substantial income to the country.
Some of the other key tourist source markets such as Germany, Russia, Ukraine and Poland too now allow their nationals to return to their respective countries without having to go through a compulsory quarantine period when they return from Sri Lanka.
A joint proposal was been submitted by SLAITO and Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) to the Minister of Tourism to revive the industry that has been severely impacted due to the Easter attack and the current COVID-19 pandemic. It is proposed to recommence tourism conforming to the safety protocols and guidelines
In the proposal it is indicated to identify and target certain source markets and establish travel corridors/bubbles. SLAITO and THASL as the two apex bodies in the inbound tourism industry, engaged the other stakeholders in the tourism industry and got their input for the proposal.
The consensus was to initially open the country on a limited scale for beach tourism by identifying certain beach resort clusters and areas. This was done with the intention of minimising any risks to the citizens, stakeholders and the travellers.
“The tourism industry is severely impacted, therefore the revival will enable the stakeholders as well as the indirect beneficiaries to recommence their livelihoods and will be a major foreign exchange earner for the Government,” SLAITO said.