Reopening Updates

We have collated the latest updates from credible industry sources to offer a single point of reference on reopening Sri Lanka.

Reopening Sri Lanka for Tourism

Update from the Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance

Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism answers some of the most frequently asked questions from us.

From reopening the BIA Airport to what has the Tourism sector done to welcome the foreign tourists again, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, Mrs. Kimarli Fernando answers some of the most frequently asked questions from us. #sltourism

Posted by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority on Thursday, September 17, 2020

Updated – 22 September 2020

Tourism Alliance Take on Reopening of Airport for Tourism

Although August 1st was announced for tourist arrivals to resume, it is now pushed back by a month or so (date expected to be announced mid-July) as a cautionary measure to protect Sri Lanka’s competent handling of the pandemic, with just 11 deaths and no community transmission for the last two months.

The upsurge of cases globally and a number of Sri Lankans returning from overseas and testing positive (and quarantined immediately), has alarmed authorities. The opening for tourism has hence been pushed back, to also buy time to enhance capacity for testing on arrival.

Sri Lanka Tourism has published a comprehensive protocol which hotels will be certified for. Domestic tourism resumed at the beginning of June.

Updated – 29 June 2020

Update from THASL – June 2020

Sri Lanka Tourism issued an update on 06th June 2020 with opening guidelines

Who can visit?

All nationalities are welcome and all types of travellers whether groups, families, individuals.

Which airports will operate?

Bandaranaike International Airport [BIA], Colombo Ratmalana Airport [RMA] and Mattala Rajapaksa Hambantota Airport [MRIA] will be operating for tourist arrivals from Aug 1, 2020.

What are the visa procedures?

Information required for visa application

Where can I stay and is there a minimum duration?

Pre-departure COVID-19 PCR testing

A negative PCR test is required prior to boarding your flight and on arrival in Sri Lanka. The test should be no older than 72 hours prior to boarding.

On arrival in Sri Lanka

The airport will have high intensity sanitation measures in place for all areas and staff.

Moving around Sri Lanka

What is Sri Lanka’s status with COVID-19?

Being an island, and thanks to the proactive measures taken, Sri Lanka has been able to manage the spread of the virus. No active community clusters have been detected in the last 30 days within the country.

Alliance Take:

Although appearing inconvenient, there needed to be much negotiation with the health authorities to get the opening date approved. Practically, nearer the time, there will likely be improvements to the process. It is unlikely that tourists will rush in immediately Aug 1, but technically Sri Lanka is open, so travellers can start planning to come later. It sends the signal that we are safe to travel to, even if we may appear obsessed that travellers may have the virus.

We understand that the airport is planning to acquire high speed machines to reduce the test result wait time to 4-5 hours. We believe that travellers will also want the comfort (when planning a holiday) of knowing that the destination is being stringent at the outset in order to protect hard-won gains, with only 11 deaths and 300 locally transmitted cases. We understand that in some countries getting tested when asymptomatic is not possible, so an on arrival test may suffice, as is the procedure in some other destinations such as Alaska.

COVID-19 Status

06th June Update – Number of Cases

Imported cases – 605

Local cases

Total cases – 1801



Recovered – 891

Active – 899

Deaths – 11

Last community transmission – 30th April 2020

Source: Ministry of Health