India has just confirmed an air travel bubble with Sri Lanka — making it the sixth such arrangement in the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) region and the 28th in total, according to the Civil Aviation Ministry on Twitter.
Other existing pacts include those with Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Russia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Ukraine, UAE, UK, US and
The travel agreement is expected to position Sri Lanka as a potential destination for Indian travellers, who have been flocking to Maldives since the latter reopened to international tourists since July 2020.
"We believe the travel bubble between India and Sri Lanka will significantly help our tourism sector. Sri Lanka has been open for over two months now, and our bio-secure bubble has proven to be very effective. We look forward to welcoming guests from India, so that they can experience Sri Lanka safely," said Kimarli Fernando, chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism.
"India has been one of Sri Lanka's key markets for a very long time. And if you look at post Covid-data, they have been one of the top producers for Maldives. And given the product diversity that we offer in terms of tea, safari, culture and more, this will be a game changer for Sri Lanka," said Chamindra Goonewardene, director of sales and marketing at Resplendent Ceylon, of the travel bubble.
Sri Lanka reopened its doors to international tourists again on 21 January, where tourists can enjoy
a "quarantine free" experience, provided they stay within a travel bubble of selected hotels and sites.
Additional reporting from Xinyi Liang-Pholsena