Business

Sri Lanka tourism presents novel concept at ITB Berlin

By Zahida Rizvi

 

The largest global travel trade fair, Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) Berlin’s magazine represented Sri Lanka’s bio-bubble, the novel concept of tourism, amidst a prevailing pandemic, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).

Commenting to ITB magazine, SLTDA Chairman Kimarli Fernando stated that German tourists are keen to return to the Island and 12% of the arrivals since 21 January to date has been recorded from Germany. 

“We have seen a special interest towards Ayurveda,” Fernando added. 

The Sri Lankan government has planned to create a “Bio-bubble”, where certain tourist attractions will open for tourists undergoing their quarantine, somehow improving their stay by annexing an element of tourism to an otherwise for 14 days, Fernando noted. 

A bio-bubble is typically an arrangement that limits the interaction of a person to only those who have tested clean for Covid and it is currently only limited to 14 designated tourist attractions. 

The Bio-bubble requires travellers to adhere to its rules by staying at one of the 52 hotels that have been classified as Level 1 “Safe and Secure” and visit a specific set of tourist attractions, to go in an independent transport for each group of tourists and interactions with those outside the bubble will be restricted. 

During the period of the pandemic the island faced the worst economic downturns, with tourism being among the most affected sectors. 

Tourism being one of the major segments contributing to Sri Lanka’s economic growth and GDP, the Government took a vital challenge to bring tourism back on track, and therefore their goal through this pilot project is to promote sustainable tourism and local industries in Sri Lanka

In an attempt to promote tourism in the international arena the Bio-secure bubble was implemented geared to minimise the risk of contracting the infection through limited contact with the outside world.

The country’s new “bio-bubble” approach allows for international travellers to visit select attractions, which include Udawalawe and Yala National Parks in the south of the country, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, the island’s famed Sigiriya Fortress and to go whale watching from Mirissa.