Sri Lanka welcomes first batch of foreign tourists since Covid-19 pandemic

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A special charter flight carrying 185 tourists from Ukraine landed at the Mattala International Airport, a short while ago.

The batch of foreign tourists, who arrived onboard a SkyUp Airlines flights, will be staying in the country for around 10-14 days, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

They are the first group of tourists to arrive in the island since March this year when airports were closed in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Sri Lanka has reopened its airspace for commercial flights as the island nation looks to once again kick start the tourism industry which was on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Accordingly the charter flight with 185 passengers from Ukraine which arrived today, marks the first flight to arrive under the pilot project aiming to bring back foreign tourists to Sri Lanka.

Deputy Chairman of Airport and Aviation Sri Lanka Ltd, Rajiv Sooriyarachchi said that after this group of tourists reach the airport they will undergo all quarantine procedures and the airport staff is making the necessary arraignments.

This is the first batch of foreign tourists to arrive in the island following the reopening of airports which were closed for commercial flights since March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) had announced earlier that it will resume international flights operations from December 26, eight months after they were closed in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, a decision was taken to postpone the resumption of flights in the wake of the new coronavirus strain, which is spreading fast in the UK.

Due to the postponement, a flight carrying Russian tourists which was scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on Sunday had been cancelled.

However, the flight with a group of tourists from Ukraine was expected to arrive on Monday as scheduled.

Several countries across the world have already closed their land and sea borders and suspended commercial flights over fears about the new coronavirus strain.