By Vladimir Khromov
Sri Lanka’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gamini Lakshman Peiris, recently attended a Belarus-Sri Lanka tourist forum, involving Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Minister emphasised, “Tourists from Belarus are attracted by more than the sun, sea and sand in Sri Lanka. We offer the most ancient medical system of Ayurveda, which is becoming increasingly popular, and are continuing co-operation in eco-tourism.”
During the forum, a memorandum of mutual understanding on co-operation in air transport was signed between the Belarusian Transport and Communications Ministry’s Aviation Department and the Sri Lankan Civil Aviation Authority. Belarus’ Director of Aviation, at the Transport and Communications Ministry, Vladimir Kostin, placed his signature beside that of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sri Lanka to Russia and Belarus on concurrent, H.E. Mr. Udayanga Weeratunga.
According to Vadim Karmazin, Director of the Tourism Department, at the Belarusian Ministry of Sports and Tourism, tourist flow depends largely on transport connections. He explains, “Currently, Belarus lacks a direct flight to Sri Lanka. It’s an issue for future discussion. Figures show that direct air services raise tourist numbers 3-5 fold.”
A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the Belarusian National Union of Tourism Organisations and the Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority. The forum included presentations by major Sri Lankan tour operators and hotel networks, as well as bilateral meetings for representatives of tourism businesses.