By Vyshnavy Velrajh
The Ministry of Tourism has temporarily suspended the tours organized to Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa for a group of Ukrainian tourists.
The Media Coordinator for the Central Cultural Fund Lalith Udesh Madubanu told Colombo Gazette that the Fund was only tasked with issuing health guidelines to be followed during the tour, as Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa falls under its purview.
He further said the Tourism Ministry is in charge of organizing and carrying out the tours as planned.
Madubanu said the tours have been temporarily suspended by the Ministry after issues arose following a recent tour of the Ukrainians to the Yala National Park.
Drivers of safari jeeps had allegedly raised concerns after they had been placed in quarantine for two-weeks after accompanying the Ukrainian tourists on the safari.
They claimed they were not informed of the mandatory quarantine process by relevant officials, which has now resulted in affecting their livelihoods.
Earlier the Central Cultural Fund announced that Sigirya and Polonnaruwa will be restricted to locals today and tomorrow due to the scheduled tour of the Ukrainian tourists.
However, Lalith Udesh Madubanu said locals can visit the two tourist attractions from today as the planned tour of the Ukrainian tourists has been temporarily suspended.
Nearly, 567 Ukrainian tourists have arrived in Sri Lanka as the Government reopened the country for tourism last week, since being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020.
Meanwhile, another plane carrying 97 tourists from Ukraine arrived at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport in Mattala today. (Colombo Gazette)