Flight scheduled to bring more Ukrainians to Sri Lanka cancelled

A flight which was scheduled to bring more Ukrainians to Sri Lanka has been cancelled.

Former Ambassador and tourism promoter Udayanga Weeratunga said the flight was scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on 19 January.

He said that Sky Up Airlines was to bring more Ukrainians to the Mattala Airport on 19 January.

Instead a group of Ukrainians in Sri Lanka will be taken back.

He said the reason for the arrival of more tourists from Ukraine being cancelled was that for the 10 days they are in Sri Lanka they need to undergo four PCR tests.

At least 1500 tourists had arrived in Sri Lanka from Ukrainian over the past several weeks.

They arrived in Sri Lanka as part of a pilot project before Sri Lanka formally reopens for tourists on 21 January.

The opposition recently drew the attention of Parliament to a rift between former Russian Ambassador and now tourism promoter Udayanga Weeratunga and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairperson Kimarli Fernando.

Opposition Samagi Jana Balawehaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Kabir Hashim told Parliament that Udayanga Weeratunga and Kimarli Fernando are fighting among themselves to secure business for their own hotels.

Kimarli Fernando had raised concerns with Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga over the failure to keep the SLTDA informed of the full itineraries of the Ukrainian arrivals.

Fernando noted that they got to know only through the media that a group of tourists from the Ukrainian arrivals went on excursions to Mirissa for whale watching and Yala.

She said that it was expected that all details related to excursions are provided to the SLTDA before the commencement of such tours to enable the authority to keep the Ministry of Health and Covid Task Force informed. (Colombo Gazette)