According to Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka plans to officially reopen its airports to visitors by 21 January.
Consequently, after 10 months, Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and Mattala International Airport (MIA) will be open for commercial flights, though complying with health guidelines.
Calling a press conference, the Minister announced that, by 23 January, commercial flights to the country would be gradually restored.
“On March 19, the airport was closed. There have been no tourist arrivals for 10 months since then. Since last June, we have been making various preparations to re-start the tourism industry. With strong demand, this time is a chance. Now is the perfect time to easily introduce this.
Therefore, by the 21st and 23rd of January, we expect to open the entire airport to visitors. After discovering some basic issues, we are currently planning for this.
Minister Ranatunga added that agencies that bring in tourists should comply with health guidelines and that agencies that breach the regulations will not be given the opportunity to bring in tourists any further.
The Minister also disclosed that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly 3 million individuals dependent on the tourism industry.