Plans Underway by Sri Lanka Tourism to Resume Foreign Travel From January 2021
The Health Ministry’s COVID-19 Clinical Management Expert Committee together with Sri Lanka Tourism has prepared guidelines to assess the possibility of resuming international tourism in a COVID-19 safe environment from January 2021.
The Tourism Alliance has put together a fact sheet on the key take-outs shared by Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism on the proposed guidelines.
When will Sri Lanka be ready to welcome foreign travellers?
It is proposed to reopen both Airports BIA and Mattala from January 2021 to foreign visitors, provided the Health Authorities approve the comprehensive guidelines that have been submitted. The guideline will be regularly reviewed by the Health Authorities.
Is there a minimum duration of stay?
Yes. At least a 14-day stay will be mandatory along with a confirmed itinerary.
Can the visitors travel around Sri Lanka freely?
During the first 14 days, visitors can only book Level 1 accommodation (as designated by a safety audit) and must stay within the hotel premises. Full services and facilities are available, unlike quarantine, where one is restricted to the room without any services.
The idea is to segregate visitors within hotel grounds from the local population. Local guests will not be permitted in certified hotels that accommodate foreign travellers. Supervision of arrangements will be entirely by the hotel teams.
Families or groups of travellers staying longer than 14 days are permitted to stay in Level 2 accommodation which are safe and secure certified by KPMG, and will be able to visit selected sites accompanied by a registered tourist guide.
Any foreign visitor staying longer than 28 days will be able to stay in any Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) registered accommodation of their choice.
A comprehensive list of certified accommodation will be available on SLTDA website shortly.
What type of visitors/travellers will be considered
- Long-stay travellers
- Dual passport holders or Sri Lankan passport holders travelling with international tourists in a group
- Resident permit holders
- Film tourism and sports tourism visa types
What additional requirements will visitors be expected to comply with when visiting Sri Lanka?
All visitors will be expected to obtain a mandatory COVID-19 insurance policy that will be offered online for a minimum period of 1 month. Costs related to Health emergencies will not be borne by the government.
All visitors will be required to submit a PCR test report taken 72 hours prior to arrival along with the Health Declaration Form (HDF) of Sri Lanka
Antigen test and/or PCR test will be conducted at the airport by the Ministry of Health and/or approved private hospitals
Can I get a visa on arrival?
Visa on arrival will be suspended until further notice. Instead, visas will be issued for a period of 6 months instead of the current 1 month. Long stay visitors who relocate to Sri Lanka temporarily are welcome.
Where can visitors get more information on where to stay during their visit to Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka Tourism encourages all visitors to download the ‘Visit Sri Lanka App’ which provides comprehensive information and links to Sri Lanka Tourism certified accommodation providers. Access details are expected shortly.
Can travellers use public transport during their stay in Sri Lanka?
Travellers will not be permitted to use public transportation during their stay in Sri Lanka. Travel from the airport to certified hotels will be arranged by the certified hotelier or travel agent.
What sites can travellers visit whilst in Sri Lanka?
All tourist sites will be reopened for travellers. A full list will be made available on the SLTDA website. Travellers will only be allowed to visit these locations/sites on designated days allocated for international foreign visitors in consultation with the relevant authorities/agencies.
Will all airlines be permitted into the country?
All international Airlines with prior approval from the COVID-19 Taskforce and Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) will be permitted into the country.
- All scheduled flights
- Charter flights
- private jets
Source – DailyFT