The first flight under a travel bubble agreement between Sri Lanka and India is expected to take off by the end of this month, according to the Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranathunga.
Speaking to The Morning Business, the Minister of Tourism revealed that the first flight to take off from Sri Lanka to India under the concept is scheduled to land at the Kushinagar International Airport.
“The first flight will take off at the end of the month where it will land at Kushinagar Airport,” Ranathunga stated.
Furthermore, the Tourism Minister highlighted that India took the first step in requesting the travel bubble.
“This started as India requested a travel bubble with Sri Lanka under the health and other official guidelines,” Ranathunga stated.
“India requested that parties who abide under the health guidelines be sent to Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan parties who wish to enter India under Indian health regulations as well,” He elaborated.
He further confirmed the finalisation of the Travel Bubble agreement between both nations.
“The travel bubble agreement finalisation is confirmed. Thus, any party who abides by the relevant health regulations is eligible to travel under the air/travel bubble,” Ranathunga commented.
“Travel bubble” or “Bilateral air bubble” is known as a mechanism used to resume flights between two countries while abiding by the relevant health regulations during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moreover, the Indian government recently announced the finalisation of the air bubble agreement with Sri Lanka officially on Twitter, which will allow all eligible passengers to travel between the two countries.
“India has finalised an air bubble agreement with Sri Lanka, making it the sixth such arrangement in the SAARC region and the 28th in total. All the eligible passengers will be able to travel between the two countries in the near future,” the Civil Aviation Ministry announced on Twitter.
Thereby, it was also reported that Sri Lanka currently eyes 8,000 tourists after July, especially from Western and Eastern Europe, China, and Bangladesh.
According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the monthly tourist arrivals report highlights the total number of international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in March 2021 amounting to 4,581.
Thereby, as of 31 March 2021, it was highlighted in the aforementioned report that 9,629 tourists have currently visited Sri Lanka for this year.
SLTDA also noted that the aforementioned figures as a decline of 98.1% in comparison to last year when 507,311 tourists had visited the country during the same period and further noting that the figures reflect the health, social and economic crisis caused by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thus, SLTDA further mentioned that the largest source markets recorded for the month of March was Kazakhstan, followed by Germany and the UK.