Sri Lanka's Government is currently working closely with India's Government to resume passenger ferry services between the countries. Once operational, it is expected to help tourists from both countries to travel at a low cost.
According to John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs of Sri Lanka, the ferry services had been abandoned a few years ago, but the infrastructure remained and on the Sri Lankan side there was also a railway line which came right up to Talaimannar pier.
He added that he understood there were some issues on the South Indian side that needed to be fixed for the ferry services to become operational and officials of Sri Lanka High Commission were working with the Indian government in order to resolve the issue.
In a bid to revive the international tourism of the country that was badly hit after Easter day terror attack in April 2019, the minister highlighted Sri Lanka’s tourist-friendly initiatives like free visa on arrival scheme announced to India and 47 other countries.
Waiver of flight handling charges was also announced to attract more inbound flights to Sri Lanka.
Tourism is the 3rd highest foreign exchange earner for the country. Last year, Sri Lanka had an inflow of 2.3M tourists bringing revenue of around US$4.3 billion.
Indian tourists account for the highest number of arrivals in Sri Lanka - in 2018, they accounted for 18.2% of total tourist arrivals to the country with 424,887 inbound arrivals.