- Ready to welcome all types of travellers under strict safety guidelines
- To obtain visit visa, tourists should submit confirmation of a minimum stay of 5 nights at a certified accommodation
Coming August, Sri Lanka will open its doors to tourists from across the world, a step it will take by having in place strict safety guidelines and precautionary measures against the COVID-19 threat.
From August 1, 2020, the country will welcome all nationalities and types of travellers—from individuals to groups and families— the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) announced.
Those visiting Sri Lanka would be able to do so via Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Colombo, Ratmalana Airport (RMA) and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), which will reopen from August 1, 2020.
Travellers require a valid visa, which will be issued for 30 days for a fee of US$ 100. The visa is extendable for up to six months after arrival. With regard to extended stay, the SLTDA said further relaxation for long stays is currently under consideration.
The authority shared that it was looking at allowing tourists to be granted five-year multiple entry visas with maximum six months stay.
To obtain a visit visa for Sri Lanka, tourists should submit; itinerary in Sri Lanka, return ticket, and proof of medical insurance, and a confirmation of a minimum stay of five nights at a certified accommodation.
The SLTDA said independent professional audits will be carried out to certify accommodation providers, who will be listed on the Sri Lanka Tourism website, as details of bookings made with such providers are required for visa application.
Prior to boarding the flights to Sri Lanka, travellers are required to have a negative PCR test that should be not older than 72 hours.
On arrival to the country, the SLTDA stressed that the airports will have high intensity sanitation measures in place for all areas and staff.
A PCR test would be done on arrival at the airport for free, and travellers would not need to quarantine unless symptoms are detected.
While at present it takes 24 hours to receive PCR test results, the SLTDA said it is making changes to have results within 4-6 hours by August.
In the event the result takes over 24 hours to be released, travellers would be able to book for accommodation from a list of certified 4/5 star hotels located in Colombo and Negombo for a one-night stay, or until the test results are received.
A further test will be done in 4-5 days after arrival by a mobile unit in coordination with the certified accommodation provider.
Travellers staying for more than 10 days will be required to take a third test during their stay. The SLTDA stated that while this may be inconvenient, it is essential to safeguard everybody and provide peace of mind.
In case of a positive PCR result, quarantine in a designated hotel or hospitalisation will take place depending on the details of the case. Quarantine would usually be 14 to 21 days if symptoms were detected.
To ensure safety, the SLTDA urges travellers to arrange transportation prior to arrival, with certified accommodation providers or travel agents, and stresses that by no means should public transport be used.
Further, all tourist sites will be open from August 1 onwards with safety protocols and measures in place to ensure the wellbeing of the travellers. There will also be no travel restrictions between districts for tourists.
Sri Lanka is one of the countries that have successfully managed the spread of the COVID-19 by taking the necessary measures. No active community clusters have been detected in the last 30 days within the country.