Sri Lanka is among the popular tourist stops in South Asia. Its scenic beauty, wildlife sanctuaries and beaches are major attractions for people looking to spend time close to natural habitats. Like other parts of the world, Sri Lankan tourism too suffered a hiccup due to the pandemic and there have been efforts to improve the situation.
Recently, at the annual meet of the Internationale Tourismus-Borse Berlin, Sri Lanka introduced the concept of “Bio Bubble” which would be implemented to ensure a safe and secure experience for tourists. Bio bubbles will make sure that the tourists can continue their sight seeing without mixing with the local population for the initial two weeks. After the quarantine period was over, the tourists will be free to roam at will. This was announced by Kimarli Fernando, the Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism. She also spoke of the initiatives that were being taken to promote Ayurveda and wellness that was a temptation for German tourists too.
The country has been introducing innovative ideas to boost the tourism industry. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) spread out a plan to vaccinate workers involved in the tourism sector. This was approved by the Health Ministry. The workers benefitting from the plan will include staff of certified hotels, certified tour operators, guides and drivers.
The Sri Lankan Government also decided to merge three institutions of the Tourism industry – Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Sri Lanka Convention Bureau to make the most of the resources and streamline the process of boosting the industry instead of wastage on functionality of separate institutions.
The steps taken by the island country speak volumes of its rational decision making and far sightedness. The tourism industry in Sri Lanka generates a large volume of the revenue. In fact according to the Daily News, 2020 was a bad year and yet the revenue suffered a lost of almost 50% and amounted to only 1.5 Billion USD which was practically half as compared to otherwise. The new measures will encourage people form other countries to visit with ease. Sri Lanka opened up for tourists on 21st January 2021. According to the official numbers, by 31st March 2021 only 9629 tourists visited the country.
The swift decisions taken by the government are worth applauding. They are a calculated combination of caution and resourcefulness. The idea of Bio Bubbles will benefit other geographies too if adopted with proper precautions. Sri Lanka is one of the countries that took initial steps to check the spread of virus strictly and could contain the numbers. With the second wave touching base with many countries, the initiatives taken by the SLTDA are the silver lining and can help nurture the tourism sector in general in these times of crisis.