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Ukrainian tourists in Sri Lanka request extended stay amidst its crisis

Ukrainian tourists in Sri Lanka request extended stay amidst its crisis   

Sri Lanka is bracing for what could be a major impact to the already unstable economy as a result of the crisis in Ukraine. 

Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is expected to hit Sri Lanka’s tourism sector as well as tea exports and the purchasing of oil. 

Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage said that the most number of tourists to Sri Lanka arrived from Russia and Ukraine in the recent past. 

He said that Sri Lanka is expecting arrivals from those countries to be affected as a result of the crisis in Ukraine. 

They are currently resorted to staying at hotels in Bettota area and are unable to travel to their home country.

They are requesting that they be allowed to remain in Sri Lanka until the war situation in Ukraine is resolved

“That will have a major impact on us,” the Foreign Secretary said at a virtual media briefing yesterday.      

Colombage also said that Sri Lanka will find it hard to sell its tea as a result of the crisis in Ukraine. 

Russia and Ukraine are among the key countries to which Sri Lanka exports tea. 

He also said that Sri Lanka will be compelled to pay more for oil and gas imported to the country. 

World oil prices have already shot up as a result of the situation in Ukraine and Sri Lanka will need more dollars to pay for the imports. 

“We will once again have to face a situation,” the Foreign Secretary said with regards to the impact the crisis will have on the local economy. 

Meanwhile, Former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and proposed by other major trading nations may also affect Sri Lanka’s trade ties with Russia. 

He said that would then hurt Sri Lanka’s economy as Russia is a major trading partner of Sri Lanka.

World oil prices have already shot up as a result of the situation in Ukraine and Sri Lanka will need more dollars to pay for the imports. 

“We will once again have to face a situation,” the Foreign Secretary said with regards to the impact the crisis will have on the local economy. 

Meanwhile, Former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and proposed by other major trading nations may also affect Sri Lanka’s trade ties with Russia. 

He noted  that Sri Lanka will be compelled to comply with any sanctions imposed by the EU or the US on Russia. 

He said that would then hurt Sri Lanka’s economy as Russia is a major trading partner of Sri Lanka.

The war in Ukraine has resulted in 198 people being killed with 3 of them being children and 1,115 wounded, with 33 of them being children.

Ukraine constituted of 10% of all arrivals into Sri Lanka within the past month while Russia made up 16% of all tourist arrivals, the SLTDA report for tourism arrivals in January 2022 reveals. 

Out of the total arrivals of 82,327, over 31,000 tourists originated from central and eastern Europe, home to countries such as Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Russia and Kazakhstan. 

An analysis of Russian arrivals in the consecutive years reveals that it has almost exceeded the pre pandemic levels as experienced in January 2019. 

This could be likely due to increased interest by Russian tour operators in alternative destinations to Thailand and Goa with strict public health measures in place and the launching of direct flights to Russia, the SLTDA report mentions. 

Europe became the largest source of tourist traffic to Sri Lanka with 68.8% of the total traffic received in January 2022. Given the escalating number of COVID-19 cases, this can be considered as significant growth, the report further mentions

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