Indian travel bubble excludes Sri Lankan tourists

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India on Friday declared the creation of an “air travel bubble” with Sri Lanka and allowed ‘designated carriers’ to operate between the two countries until the resumption of scheduled flights.

The decision was conveyed by the Indian Civil Aviation Ministry and will be operative with immediate effect.

In terms of this, Indian tourists will be allowed to visit Sri Lanka. However, no Sri Lankan tourists will be eligible to travel to India.

Three categories will be allowed in flights from Sri Lanka to India. They are Indian nationals and those from Nepal and Bhutan. All Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders and Persons of Indian cardholders possessing passports from any country. Nationals/residents of Sri Lanka (including diplomats) and foreigners intending to visit India for any purpose (including their dependents on appropriate category of dependent visa). This will, however, not cover tourist visas.

Flights from India to Sri Lanka, in terms of the directive, will be (i) Indian businessmen on a Business Visa; (ii) Indian healthcare professionals, health researchers, engineers and technicians for technical work at Sri Lanka health sector facilities, including laboratories and factories; (iii) Indian engineering, managerial, design or other specialists travelling to Sri Lanka on behalf of Indian business entities located in Sri Lanka; (iv) Indian technical specialists and engineers travelling for installation, repair and maintenance of Indian-origin machinery and equipment registered Sri Lankan business entity; and (v) Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka on leisure/pleasure purpose.

The operations will be subject to strict adherence to standard operational procedures issues by civil aviation authorities and other COVID-19 related guidelines.

(Source: The Sunday Times)

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