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BIA to reopen for tourists from January

7 December 2020 09:19 am - 20     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka is to reopen the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) for foreign tourist arrivals by following a travel bubble system.

Under the proposed system, tourists will be able to visit only selected destinations in Sri Lanka.

A January deadline has been set to finalise the date to reopen the airport with the approval of the health authorities. A joint committee, consisting of officials from the health and tourism sectors are in the process of drafting the guidelines to be followed when the airport is reopened.

The committee met on Saturday and will meet again today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday) for further discussions. Committee member Nimesh Herath told Daily Mirror that initially two proposals were made to reopen the country for foreign tourists.

One proposal was the travel bubble, where tourists travel directly to a select city in Sri Lanka from the airport while the other option was to allow tourists to visit any part of the country not in isolation. However,it has now been decided to open the airport under a travel bubble as it is the safest option.

“We are looking at how other countries are implementing the travel bubble and travel cluster system.we will draw up a plan this week, ” he said.

Herath said that under the travel cluster ,tourists will be able to visit only selected cities .“for example ,tourists will be able to visit only Bentota, Koggala ,yala or Pasikuda.we will decide the clusters this week ,”he said.

Herath said that the travel cluster is being selected based on the location of the hotel ,how isolated it is from the community, etc. he also said that at least one hotel will be turned into a quarantine centre in each cluster to be prepared to face any eventuality.

Herath said that all tourists arriving in Sri Lanka will need to undergo PCR tests on arrival and seven days after arriving in the island as well.it is mandatory that all international visitors have evidence of a negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival.all tourists will be required to stay a minimum of 14 days in the country. (EASWARAN RUTNAM)

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  Comments - 20

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  • TJ Monday, 07 December 2020 09:54 AM

    Does that mean that Sri Lankans who are standard abroad can not return back?

    Daniel waduge Samantha pradeep Monday, 07 December 2020 12:42 PM

    The government is worried only for tourists not for srilankans who r abroad, waiting to come home...

    VacRep Monday, 07 December 2020 09:56 AM

    Alternatively, Tourists could be asked to show any VACCINATION report (Pfizer/BioNTec) if they had been given.

    Kingsley Wijesinhe Monday, 07 December 2020 10:06 AM

    With all these rules and regulations, do you think anyone will come? After all, Sri Lanka is not the only travel destination in the world.

    Patthan Monday, 07 December 2020 09:59 PM

    Get tour brain checked, Kingsley.

    Lion Monday, 07 December 2020 12:17 PM

    This is a very dengerous situation .

    Lanka Monday, 07 December 2020 01:32 PM

    What's the protocol for Sri Lankans who wish to return back home??? Other than repatriation which is a money minting business for airlines!! Also what's the protocol for Sri Lankans who wish to travel on official work out of the country and return back??? Are they still subject to all the required PRC tests and 14 day's qurentine? Can there be more precise information on these too

    Chux Monday, 07 December 2020 01:50 PM

    No point the guidelines issued for tourists are worst than the COVID-19 tourism today run by bunch of idiots

    Lumbini Monday, 07 December 2020 01:59 PM

    It may be safe to get tourists from countries such as Australia, New Zealand where there are no corona issues.

    Kathir Monday, 07 December 2020 02:05 PM

    Before This coronavirus Sri Lanka was the destination preferable among other countries.Now it is no more in the Travel Agenda. So let us think about he stranded Sri Lankan workers first to help them to come back to Sri Lanka.

    Agnes Lilliehöök Monday, 07 December 2020 03:17 PM

    What are the arrangements the govt is making for dual citizens

    Ron Monday, 07 December 2020 03:25 PM

    Extremely dangerous and useless exercise by these officers proposing. Sri Lankan tourism should wait several more months until the proposed Covid vaccines take effect without endangering the whole population in the Island again.

    Doctor Monday, 07 December 2020 05:44 PM

    Sri Lanka is committing suicide by opening upto foreigners. They could be careers. This is not a joke.

    Kumar Monday, 07 December 2020 05:47 PM

    At last sanity prevails, plz open airport in December itself before Christmas...already is close for so long... in US 2.3 lakh cases in one single day but still all open... whereas in SL it is nearly 6000 active case. Since long.... nearly 500 cases per day

    Sidath Monday, 07 December 2020 05:58 PM

    Open the country to citizens first

    Nimal Monday, 07 December 2020 09:30 PM

    Sri Lanka is only country in the world that does not allow its own citizens to return home. And, the only nation that quarantines its own citizens for one month (two weeks at hotel/centers and two weeks home quarantine) where Chinese are welcomed for meetings without a single day of quarantine.. Wow...!

    Saman Monday, 07 December 2020 11:57 PM

    Wait till March April and open only for tourists and citizens that have received an approved covid vaccine 4 weeks before arrival and allow them to travel to any destination without restrictions

    Mathi Tuesday, 08 December 2020 05:47 AM

    News is just a couple of days old. I think officials are still planning the logistics. My understanding is when the airport is open for tourists, it will be automatically open for citizens as well, they cant exclude citizens entering the country when flights are operating. I think lot of airlines are waiting for this moment so they can resume their operations.

    Dr Kuma Wednesday, 09 December 2020 06:37 AM

    Have to live with covid 19 Open up let the country return to normal Follow d health advice

    Ranjan Gurusinghe Wednesday, 09 December 2020 03:54 PM

    I live in NZ , no tourists will travel to Sri Lanka. If they go will have to stay in a government select hotel on their return for 14 days. The cost for them will be $3000. The same rules will be applicable to Aussies as well


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