(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority together with the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Tourism and the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka tabled a cabinet paper on Monday and received the approval for the reduction of ground handling charges, aviation fuel, and the embarkation levy for all international flights for 6 months.
The Ministry said that in 2018, approximately 2.3 million tourists arrived in Sri Lanka while generating an income of USD 4.4 billion. More than 98 percent of tourists to Sri Lanka were brought by international airlines.
By April 2018, 29 airlines were serving Sri Lanka offering 300 flights per week. However, following the April 21 Easter Sunday Attacks, the connectivity was reduced to 239 flights per week resulting in a total of 41 flights cancellations which amounts to a loss of seat supply by 8,000 per week from six countries – China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Oman, and Thailand.
Eleven foreign airlines reduced their flight frequencies to BIA while one airline (Rossiya -Russian Airline) withdrew completely (2 flights/week) resulting in a complete loss of direct air connectivity with Russia. Most of the airlines which reduced frequencies are low-cost carriers.
Accordingly, the direct and indirect negative impact of the Easter Sunday Attacks per day is approximately Rs.12 million and Rs.51 million respectively.
Given the need to resurrect the tourism industry, which was badly affected by the Easter Sunday Attacks, the Tourism Ministry said the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority took prompt action to work with the Prime Minister’s Office as well as the Ministry of Tourism and the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka to draft a Cabinet paper and initiate the implementation of the following reductions in Aviation-related discounts in order to encourage Airlines to reduce the cost of airline tickets and combine these specially priced tickets with the discounts being offered by Hotels and Restaurants in Sri Lanka.
“The positive and immediate action taken by the Government, especially by the Prime Minister, John Amaratunga and the DGCA, Mr. Nimalsiri, in response to the urgent request made by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, comes at a critical time and is most appreciated”, said Johanne Jayaratne, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
“The Authority will be working closely with the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR), and the Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representatives (SLAAR) to ensure that these lowered rates are reflected in the Airline ticket pricing going forward” he added.