Sri Lanka to continue lower passenger levy for Jaffna airport to boost Indian tourists

Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved the extension of reduced embarkation fee for Jaffna airport by another six months to boost tourism with India, cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardene said.

“We have made the Jaffna as an international airport recently,” Minister Gunawardena told reporters Tuesday.

“This was because of the government expectation of increasing Indian tourists who prefer to travel to the north and the east.

 “A large number of tourists are arriving at the Jaffna airport. That is why we need to modernize the airport and get more aircraft.”

 In order to promote the airport, the cabinet approved lowering the embarkation fee by 50 percent February 19, 2022. The concession expired on 11 July 2023 and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and proposed to extend the concession by another six months,

 According to data provided by the Sri Lanka tourism board, the country welcomed 82,999 Indian tourists in the first five months of this year. Indian tourists currently make up 16 per cent of arrivals.

 President Ranil Wickremesinghe left for India on July 20 for a two-day official visit.

 “We will plan a program to strengthen the ties between the two nations by conducting economic, social and cultural discussions,” Minister Gunawardana said.

 “When we were facing difficulties with the covid pandemic, India, as our neighbour, provided us with aid.”