Sri Lanka registered 1,682 tourist arrivals in January as the country resumed International flight operations following a nine-month suspension since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to officials.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) officials added that out of the total number of tourist arrivals, 87 per cent were from Ukraine. The other tourist arrivals were from India, Belarus, China, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, the Maldives and the US.

“The figures reflect the unprecedented health, social and economic crisis caused by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the SLTDA officials said.

On January 21, the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo resumed flight operations. The government has expressed confidence in attracting 1.5 million tourists this year, while staying in line with Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

Tourism authorities have created an online information portal and a 24-hour operational centre, with which tourists can have access to support and information updates via phone or e-mail.

Sri Lanka currently has a PCR testing capacity for 2,500 tourist arrivals per day.

Tourists will have to purchase insurance and pay for their own PCR tests.

Currently, there is no quarantine period or minimum stay set for visiting tourists.

The Bandaranaike International Airport and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in the south are currently open for scheduled and chartered flights from at least eight airlines including the island nation’s flag carrier SriLankan Airlines.