Colombo:Sri Lanka has launched tourism promotion initiatives with Russia and Ukraine aimed at reviving the sector which has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, a Minister said here.
Addressing reporters on Monday, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that Russia and Ukraine were among the top 10 countries with the highest number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in recent years, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to the Tourism Ministry, 24,320 tourists arrived in the country recently and of those, 250 tested positive for COVID-19.Of the 250 persons, 150 have returned to their home countries after recovery, and 100 are currently receiving treatment in the island nation, the Ministry added.
Authorities have said that direct flights between Sri Lanka and Russia will commence from November 4.The Tourism Ministry said that steps will be taken to hold such discussions with leading airlines around the world in the future with the aim of promoting Sri Lanka as an attractive tourist destination.
Sri Lanka's tourism sector, which is one of the leading foreign exchange earners in the country, has been one of the worst affected by the raging pandemic, and the government is now looking at ways to revive it. An estimated 4 million people are directly and indirectly employed in the tourism sector in Sri Lanka.