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Airport will be opened after UK, Europe initiates COVID-19 vaccination process: Minister

4 December 2020 12:07 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • With the availability of a vaccine, tourists will begin to fly to destinations and Sri Lanka Tourism should plan to benefit from it
  • Two separate cubicles already established  to facilitate first-class and business class passengers

Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga stated that opening the Airport for tourism would be considered when UK and Europe initiate the COVID vaccination process.   

The Minister told the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Tourism when MP Premitha Bandara Tennakoon brought before the committee the news that the UK has been declared as the first country to approve Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine soon to be followed by Europe and the US. The MP highlighted that with the availability of a vaccine, tourists will begin to fly to destinations and Sri Lanka tourism should plan to benefit from it.   
The Ministerial Consultative Committee chaired by Mr. Ranatunga was attended by 18 Members of Parliament such as Geetha Kumarasinghe, Diana Gamage M. Udayakumar, Chandima Weerakkody, Shanakiyan Rasamanickam, Madura Vithanage, Premitha Bandara Tennakoon. 

 
Addressing the Committee, MP Gamage raised her concerns over the safety of tourists who visit the Country. Responding to the concern raised, SLTDA Chair Kimarli Fernando stated that for the first time President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had appointed a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) for tourism.   


Adding to it the SLTDA Chair also highlighted that they have created Sri Lanka’s first-ever mobile application to assist tourists utilising technology going forward. Emphasising on it, she stated that the App consists of an “emergency button” where the location of the tourist will be shared with the nearest police station. The App Version One of the Sri Lanka Tourism Travel App is scheduled to be made available by the 3rd quarter 2021.   
Addressing the Committee Batticaloa MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam highlighted the need for a blueprint to develop tourism in the North and the East as it lacks tourist attraction to a large extent. He also proposed to initiate the Talaimannar ferry service for the purpose of developing tourism.   


Adding to it, SLTDA Chair stated that they have already identified 4,956 new sites including the Ramayana trail in Sri Lanka and have already spoken to the Indian High Commissioner to promote it in India. Accordingly, the Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga suggested that a separate meeting should be held to discuss the developments pertaining to the North and the East.   


The chairman of Airport and Aviation Services Major General G.A. Chandrasiri stated that two separate cubicles have been established already to facilitate first-class passengers and business class passengers and it will operate as soon as the airport reopens. He stated this in response to the issue raised by MP Diana Gamage with regard to the long queues the passengers have to experience at the immigration.    

 

  • With the availability of a vaccine, tourists will begin to fly to destinations and Sri Lanka tourism should plan to benefit from it
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