Media Release 

Sri Lanka is Open for Tourist Arrivals:

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena informs ACD Member States at the 17th Ministerial Meeting In his address at the 17th Ministerial Meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) held on 21 January 2021 under the theme “New Normal and Safe and Healthy Tourism”, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena stated that Sri Lanka opened its borders after much consultation, preparation following best practices, keeping safety and security of its citizens as paramount and that of the visitors. The Ministerial meeting was preceded  by a Senior Officials Meeting held on 19 January 2021. Commending the Government of the  Republic of Turkey for  hosting   the ACD  Ministerial Meeting virtually, Minister Gunawardena stated that   Sri Lanka is  committed to the  ambitious  work plan of the ACD  in line  with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to promote inclusive growth in the region. Commenting further, the Minister stated that in line with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor” Sri Lanka is focusing on a friendly and non-aligned foreign policy with special focus on Asia. As a  Co-prime mover  of the pillar  of Science, Technology  and  Innovation, Minister Gunawardena stated that Sri Lanka is  aware   of the transformative impact Science, Technology and  Innovation  could  contribute to  the 2030 Agenda and that the importance of  this pillar was  amply  demonstrated  as the world  embraced in  various  degrees   the “new normal” from the  beginning of 2020,  with a  view  to adapting  the  disruption that the  pandemic  created in  all  aspects  of  human  activities. He insisted that all Member States need to invest more in this important pillar, by creating platforms of knowledge sharing in order to recover collectively as it is a global issue. He also welcomed  the initiative  of  Turkey  for organizing the   first  virtual  Conference  of the Chambers of  Commerce  and Industry  of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue member countries on the sidelines of the ACD meeting on 20 January 2021. With a  view to boost trade and to keep supply chains moving, a delegation of Sri Lanka Chamber members and  officials of the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka participated at the Conference. The meeting adopted the Ankara Declaration   on mitigating the adverse effects of the pandemic  and recovery efforts focusing on tourism. Minister Gunawardena stated that the Government of Sri Lanka made special provisions and granted concessions  to the  services  sector   affected  severely  by  global restrictions on travel. With a view to revive the travel industry, Sri Lanka took positive steps to open up gradually while being cautious. He stated that Member States whose economies are also dependent to a greater part on    tourism will     understand the     burden placed on Governments to ensure the safety and security of all those involved in the industry and therefore there is need to collaborate with all States transparently  and support  each other in  finding  solutions  collectively. The Senior Officials meeting was led by Additional Secretary Economic Affairs Division P M Amza. Acting Director General Multilateral Anzul Jhan and Development Officer  of the Economic Affairs Division Inoka Dharmadasa of the Foreign Ministry also participated in the meetings. Foreign MinistryColombo 22 January 2021