Sri Lanka will target high-spending tourists to revive the tourism sector which has been shattered by the coronavirus pandemic, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said.
Widespread travel restrictions and the closure of airports and national borders to curb the spread of the virus had plunged international tourism into its worst crisis.
During a meeting with the members of the newly-appointed Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the tourism sector which makes a huge contribution to the national economy should be revitalized to suit the changing situations.
He proposed that Sri Lanka take steps to issue visas with a recognised health certificate when tourists begin to return to the island country, the Colombo Gazette reported.
He also proposed that Sri Lanka Tourism target countries where the coronavirus has been contained.
The president emphasized the need to focus on promoting medical tourism by highlighting the “successful efforts taken by Sri Lanka to contain the spread of the coronavirus.”
He also urged the authorities to target long-term tourists who often travel to other countries during the winter season.
The president also noted that promoting domestic tourism can ensure the hotel industry is protected.
He expressed optimism that the economy adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic could be rebuilt on a solid basis as the government is preparing to resume day-to-day life and work from next week.
The number of coronavirus patients in Sri Lanka on Friday reached 824, the Ministry of Health said.
The Ministry of Health added that 9 deaths due to COVID -19 have been reported so far in Sri Lanka.