Sri Lanka expects 9 passenger cruise ships by March to boost tourism

The cruise industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. (File)

 Nine international passenger cruises are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka by March next year, which will boost the country’s tourism sector and attract much-needed foreign exchange, said a minister on Monday.

Speaking in parliament, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva said Sri Lanka had welcomed its first international cruise liner with 880 passengers last week since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another one with 3,000 passengers is scheduled to arrive in the Colombo Port on Nov. 28.

“There was a collapse in the tourism sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic, political instability and the recent uprising, but there prevails a positive trend at present,” said the minister, adding that strengthening foreign currency is a must to stabilize the country’s economy.

Sri Lanka’s tourism earnings surpassed 1 billion U.S. dollars from January to October 2022, according to data from the country’s central bank.

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