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More Polish charter flights to Sri Lanka this winter

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A surge in Polish visitors to Sri Lanka this winter/spring season is expected due to the increase in direct Polish charter flights from Warsaw and other Polish cities, to Colombo and Mattala airports.

These include LOT Charters (a fully owned subsidiary of LOT Polish Airlines – Boeing 787 Dreamliner)), SkyUp Airlines (Boeing 737-800 NG) and Enter Air (largest Polish charter airline and second largest in Europe), in addition to the regular Turkish Airlines’ flights carrying Polish tourists to Sri Lanka from Warsaw via Istanbul.

A fresh impetus to activating further interest in destination Sri Lanka, was given by the recent official unveiling of LOT Polish Airlines’ 2024-2028 Strategy, which identified Sri Lanka among the profitable Asian destinations.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Poland Dhammika Kumari Semasinghe, invitee of LOT Polish Chief Commercial Officer Michał Fijoł to the unveiling ceremony, welcomed the news that ITAKA Travels, a top Polish tour operator, in collaboration with LOT Charters and its Sri Lanka partner, will operate direct flights from Warsaw to Colombo, from 4 January until 21 March 2024.

While ENTER Air began its flights to Sri Lanka in November 2023, SkyUp Airlines will commence its first direct flight from Warsaw to Mattala on 18 December 2023, and for the first time, its second and third inaugural flights from Southern Polish cities Katowice and Rzeszów on 22 and 25 December, respectively, and continue until 16 April 2024.

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Warsaw has continued to maintain the momentum of its destination promotional activities in creative ways using different platforms.

Integrating trade and travel promotional activities, the Sri Lanka Mission continues to participate in public diplomacy events in different Polish cities and towns through its established networks.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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