Russian tourists to visit Sri Lanka under bubble concept | Daily News

Russian tourists to visit Sri Lanka under bubble concept

East Coast main attraction this time
Udayanga mediates again
Flashback... Ukraine tourists in Sigiriya
Flashback... Ukraine tourists in Sigiriya

Sri Lanka is planning to allow Russian Tourists to visit Sri Lanka once again under the bubble concept. Former Ambassador to Sri Lanka Udayanga Weeratunge is once again stepping into the revival of the depleted tourism industry as the key ‘inititator’ for this project.

Udayanga Weeratunga 
in Colombo
Picture by Sudath Malaweera

In an interview with Daily News Business he said that they are planning to open a tourism corridor between Russia and Colombo under the Covid bubble concept. “We have successfully talked to SriLankan airlines and another leading carrier in Russia to operate direct flights once again and SriLankan is expected to operate two weekly flights. We were planning to do this in summer but due to the new Corona outburst in Sri Lanka which originated from the New Year cluster has now pushed this to winter.”

Explaining the mode of operandi he said that they will this time target the East Coast and will lock down the whole tourism area and make it a huge tourism zone.”

“We are anticipating flights a week from SriLankan airlines as an initial start and they will be operating to Mattala airport. MRIA was selected due to the close proximity it is located to the East Coast, good logistics, less population in the area and most importantly the concessions the airport offers to airlines.”

There are around 400 star class rooms facing the beach, shops and other service providers in close proximity and they will roped in for this project on a voluntary basis.

“Creating more entertainment facilities for these tourists during their stay, I will invite leading bands/DJ in Colombo to be stationed there to perform and bring them back to Colombo after full quarantining.”

Russian visitors will be given excursions to cultural sites and to Elephant Parks nearby ensuring they don’t mix with locals. Recalling his previous ‘stint’ bringing in Ukraine and former Russian bloc tourists he said they were flown in last December to January which is their peak season.

“I flew in 1,926 tourists and it was subsequent to this drive that BIA was also opened. My initiative netted in over Rs. 2 billion to the Sri Lanka economy. He explained that three PCR tests were done to these tourists during their 10 day stay and there were only 4 covid patients reported during this exercise and they were quarantined in the hotel while an elderly person sought treatment from a government hospital and was discharged is less than a week ensuring that there no contamination to locals and UK variant (which was not evident during that time in Sri Lanka) was not spread by them.”

“Similar safety precautions would be adopted to future Russian arrivals too.”