Sri Lanka on Monday kicked-off a pilot program to welcome tourists into the island country by re-opening a southern airport, as its international airports have remained shut since March due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Chairman of the Bandaranaike International Airport, G.A. Chandrasiri told us that a group of over 200 Ukrainian tourists arrived in the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in an effort to see the possibility of re-opening the other airports next month.
The Mattala airport is Sri Lanka’s second largest international airport and also the first greenfield airport in the island nation.
The program will be conducted on a trial-and-error basis and will welcome tourists under a strict travel bubble.
The tourists will be subject to PCR tests upon their arrival at the airport and will be staying in a travel bubble operated in Bentota, Koggala and Beruwela, along the country’s southern coast, tourism officials said.
More flights carrying tourists are expected to arrive in the coming days under the program, where tourists will be under a strict travel bubble, officials added.
Sri Lanka shut its international airports — Batticaloa, Bandaranaike, Ratmalana, Mattala Rajapaksa, Jaffna — in March after the first local Covid-19 case was detected in the island country to prevent a spread of the virus.
Since then the airports have been opened for repatriation fights only.
Currently amidst a second wave of the pandemic, Sri Lanka has reported a total of 41,054 coronavirus cases and 191 deaths.