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Sri Lanka tourist arrivals cross 4,000 mark within 3 weeks

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Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka have crossed the 4,000 mark since authorities re-opened its international airports in the last week of January following the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported here Friday.

Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando told the local Daily FT that within just three weeks since airports were opened on Jan. 21 for international travellers and commercial flights, Sri Lanka had received 4,368 tourists.

Sri Lanka closed its international airports in March last year following a spread of the COVID-19 pandemic which has to date infected over 78,000 people and caused 430 deaths.

According to official figures, 211 tourists were the latest to arrive from Kazakhstan at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in southern Sri Lanka on Thursday and Ukraine tops the tourist arrival numbers with close to 1,500, followed by Kazakhstan and India.

Fernando said they expect more tourists in the coming months, as Sri Lanka Tourism is planning to roll out a much-awaited global campaign within the year.

“Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has now appointed a Steering Committee to ensure a successful global campaign to promote Sri Lanka as an attractive tourist destination, but also as a safe country,” Fernando said.

Sri Lanka on Wednesday lifted temporary travel restrictions introduced by the government on travellers originating from Britain due to the spread of a new COVID-19 variant and said tourist arrivals from Britain too will resume under the guidelines introduced by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.


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