Sri Lanka open for international tourists from Aug 1

Sri Lanka, the island nation, is all set to welcome travellers from across the world starting August 1, 2020, as the country has successfully contained COVID-19. Announcing the same, Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism, has said, “Sri Lanka Tourism will provide international visitors with the highest standards of safety as we embrace tourists from across the world to experience the beauty of our paradise island once more. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has put in place all precautions recommended by global health and travel authorities to re-open the country to tourists.”

Sri Lanka has been on most of the travellers’ wish list for a long time, as it offers a diverse range of attractions, right from pristine beaches to lush green mountains and is known as an island that offers ‘unmissable experiences’.

The country has announced that Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and Ratmalana International Airport (RIA) as well as Hambantota’s Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) will be opened from 1st August 2020 for international travellers from all nations. The issuing of visas will be only online and must be applied for prior to travel. T

he online visa procedure and requirements for tourists from August 1, 2020 include:

  1. A negative PCR test report from an accredited laboratory taken within 72 hours prior to landing in Sri Lanka.
  2. A confirmed travel itinerary covering at least 5 nights at certified accommodations. A valid return air ticket
  3. Travel insurance with health and hospitalization cover
  4. A visa fee of USD 100 will be applicable

Tourists will not have to undergo quarantine procedures. A mandatory health screening and sanitising process including a PCR test will be conducted at arrival Airports free of charge for tourists, and all travellers will be transferred through pre-booked transportation to designated hotels in close proximity tothe airport, to await their PCR test results which would be expected within 24 hours. First night pending the test result could be in a selected certified hotel in Colombo or Negombo for arrivals from BIA /RIA and in and around Hambantota for arrivals from MRIA. Sri Lanka Tourism will conduct further PCR tests free of charge, for any tourists staying longer than 5 nights.

An independent audit process will commence to certify registered entities as ‘Safe & Secure’, starting from five-star hotels, boutique hotels and villas, and four-star establishments, followed by certification of establishments ranked three-star and below. Sri Lanka Tourism has developed guidelines and put in place necessary precautionary measures for all stakeholders to adopt in their operations, to ensure the safety of international travellers. All major tourist attractions are also required to have a COVID-19 health and safety protocol as per the guidelines and will have spot audits to ensure compliance. This guideline will soon be available on the Sri Lanka Tourism website and will be updated periodically to reflect latest global best practices and risk levels. A FAQs section too can be accessed on this site.

Sri Lanka has been highly successful in its efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 and has proven that the country is not just the world’s number one travel destination, but also a destination with an excellent health care system. As at 20th May 2020, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health declared zero community transmission for over three weeks. Comprehensive guidelines are in place for the public at all times including hand hygiene and social distancing.

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