Sri Lanka opened its first underwater museum in the southern port city of Galle on Wednesday (June 17) ahead of plans to start re-opening the country to tourism on August 1.
The museum was built by the country's Navy and is about 15 metres (50 feet) underwater within the port.
Navy Commander Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, an experienced underwater diver, declared open the site by cutting a ribbon underwater at the entrance to the museum.
The statues in the museum were made from discarded concrete and steel by Navy personnel. One of the aims of the underwater museum project is to promote the regeneration of corals and fish breeding.
Galle, with its ancient Dutch fort, is a tourism hotspot in the country.
Sri Lanka's multi-billion dollar tourism industry came to a halt in March this year when the country was placed in a lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Sri Lanka has opened an underwater museum in the southern port city of Galle ahead of plans to start reopening the country to tourism in August | More: https://t.co/aSob8NVJrm pic.twitter.com/ETgAiITdXh— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 19, 2020
The country attracted around 2 million tourists last year and the sector contributes around 11% to the nation's gross domestic product.
The lockdown was lifted on May 26. There have been 1,947 cases of coronavirus in Sri Lanka with 11 deaths.