Despite the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Sri Lanka is still welcoming tourists from Russia as Russia continues to be the leading market for Sri Lanka Tourism.
Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) Chairman Upul Dharmadasa said despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there was no huge impact on the arrival of foreign tourists, but the number of tourists from other countries, was expected to exceed the Russian and Ukrainian figures.
He said that there are no passenger arrivals from Ukraine due to the country's closure of its airspace for civilian flights, but there Russia continiued to be a strong market. Sri Lankan flights were operating between the countries, Dharmadasa said.
"Tourists have confidence in our country, especially the way we handled the tourists and handled the COVID-19 situation in Sri Lanka. Russia continued to be a strong market for Sri Lanka," he said.
According to the Civil Aviation Authorithy, flights are still operating to Russia and Ukraine, but flights arriving from those countries are limited. Passenger flights operate in both countries using alternative routes.
A total of 22,787 tourists from Russia arrived in the country during February. More than 3,000 foreigners arrived on the last day of February. Between 2500 and 3000 tourists have arrived in the country even during the month of January. while on Mrach 1, 3,724 passengers arrived in Sri Lanka.
Recently, the government decided to extend visas for 11,463 Russian and 3, 993 Ukrainian tourists in Sri Lanka for a period of two months free-of-charge due to the on-going conflict between Ukraine and Russia. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)