The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) this week put forward a series of requests to the Ministry of Health (MoH) to relax the health guidelines imposed to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, an effort to make the island nation more appealing to tourists.
SLTDA Chairperson Kimarli Fernando yesterday (7 September) formally requested MoH Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena in a letter, to tweak the guidelines so that the local tourism industry can get the “desired” results for tourism as discussed at a meeting chaired by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa held last week. The SLTDA Chief pointed out that the needs that require to be addressed are: (1) Removing of wearing of PPE requirement for flight crew who are fully vaccinated, (2) Remove the requirement of PCR 72 hours before boarding for fully vaccinated travelers, (3) Removing PCR for children 12 years and below, in line with EU regulation, and (4) Allow rapid test for fully vaccinated passengers on the tourist route and to be conducted at the airport.
Fernando pointed out that Russia has a population of over 144 million, with nearly 25 percent of its total population vaccinated, and is a key source market for Sri Lanka.
The SLTDTA Chairperson, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, and State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya are currently in Russia to promote tourism.