Business

Tourism bubble between India and SL; Sri Lanka awaits confirmation from India

By Karen Hapuarachchi

Sri Lankan tourism authorities are awaiting India’s response to initiate talks on creating a tourism bubble between the two countries, a concept initially proposed by the Indian authorities, The Morning Business learns.

The request from India came two weeks ago regarding a tourism bubble, where countries from both ends abide by the health regulations, according to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Tourism.

The Ministry Secretary sent a letter in response to the High Commissioner in India stating that the relevant Sri Lankan officials and parties were ready to discuss this matter.

Furthermore, this letter included an expression of gratitude and a request regarding the date of the meeting the discussion could take place in the presence of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ministry of Tourism, and the tourism bureaus of both countries. Now, local authorities are awaiting the confirmed date from the Indian authorities.

Also, the nature of the meeting was said to be dependent on the date of the meeting and the status of the Covid-19 situation in the country.

“If it is safe enough to have a physical meeting, the meeting can be done. This is dependent on the situation of the country. If it isn’t safe enough, the meeting will take place online,” the Tourism Ministry Spokesperson stated.

The Spokesperson stated: “The Ministry of External Affairs of India has declared citizens can leave India safely from their end, while from Sri Lanka’s side, the health authorities have stated that it is safe to operate a tourism bubble, as it is safe enough for tourists to come into the country,” the Tourism Ministry Spokesperson commented.

Moreover, regarding tourism bubbles with other countries, the Ministry of Tourism reported that there was a similar tourism bubble being proposed with Germany after the arrival of the Ukrainian and Kazakhstani tourists in the country.

In addition to this, the Tourism Ministry is hoping that ambassadors from other countries would incept tourism bubbles with their relevant countries in the future so as to increase tourism activity in the country whilst abiding to the safety regulations.

Accordingly, the Ministry highlighted that the Covid-19 Committee, Ministry of Tourism, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are handling tourism travel bubble projects.

Tourism or travel bubbles, also called travel bridges or corona corridors, involve a select group of travellers from a particular country where Covid-19 has been contained and two countries agree to open their borders to each other but keep borders to all other countries closed.

This programme allows tourists to move freely within the bubble and aids in increasing tourism activity by abiding to the health regulations, thereby containing the spread of the virus.