The Government is to consider providing financial relief to over one thousand Ukranian tourists now in Sri Lanka on holiday and unable to go back to their war-torn country.
The Tourism Ministry was to recommend to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to make use of funds from either the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority or the Ministry to assist tourists who do not have enough funds for an extended period.
The Ministry was also to discuss with hoteliers associations to see if hotel discounts and other forms of relief could be provided to these tourists. The Ministry yesterday sought assistance from Udayanga Weeratunga, Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador for Russia, concurrently accredited to Ukraine. He was instrumental in bringing tourists from these two countries during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
Some four thousand Russian tourists are also in the country, according to Tourism Ministry officials.
Yesterday, the Ukranian embassy in New Delhi overlooking Sri Lanka requested the Foreign Ministry to provide consular assistance by way of extending the visas of Ukrainian tourists here. The Ministry has urged the Immigration Department to provide this assistance.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has asked Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga to submit a report by tomorrow (Monday) on the safety and security of the two countries’ tourists now in Sri Lanka.
Special security arrangements were been put into place where tourists from both countries were staying in the same hotels, especially in the south. Tourism officials were yesterday looking into ways of arranging flights for the stranded Ukranian tourists to fly to Poland or Turkey.
(Source: The Sunday Times)