Plans made to reopen airport in line with COVID guidelines, once approval is given: Minister

Plans have been made to reopen the airport in line with COVID guidelines enabling foreign tourists to enter the country, and it can be done as soon as it is approved by the health authorities, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.

The Minister said this in response to requests made by a number of MPs including Chandima Weerakkody, Premitha Bandara Tennakoon and Diana Gamage at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Tourism held yesterday with regard to the need to expedite the opening of the airport to tourists.

SLTDA Chair Kimarli Fernando stated that 80 tourist service locations have been identified to facilitate tourists visiting the country in accordance with the COVID health guidelines.

Adding to it, she further stated that hotels and institutions related to tourism capable of providing the requisite services adhering to COVID guidelines can register for this purpose and the status of those service establishments will be checked and approved by the health authorities.

The Minister highlighted that since UK has been declared as the first country to approve Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine soon to be followed by Europe and the US, the airports can be opened soon if the said vaccine becomes a success.