Sri Lanka has begun to receive requests for visas ahead of officially opening its borders for tourists. Tourism Ministry sources told the Daily Mirror that a number of requests had been received through the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system for visas.
As Sri Lanka opens its borders for international visitors, it will be mandatory for them to have a prebooking at a ‘safe and secure' certified Level 1 hotel. Accordingly, tourists have already begun to make bookings at a Level 1 hotel to visit Sri Lanka after the borders open on January 21, sources said.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Tourism, in a statement yesterday, said that ‘safety protocols’ to be followed by the Tourism industry stakeholders and visitors have been published.
Visitors planning to visit Sri Lanka must apply for their visas online through the Immigration ETA portal (www. eta.gov.lk). Before applying for visa, potential visitors are required to have a confirmed hotel booking, pre-purchased PCR tests and a mandatory COVID-19 insurance cover. All visitors, prior to boarding, will have to carry a negative PCR test result from an accredited laboratory 96 hours before their departure. This report will be checked at the respective airport (BIA or Mattala). The first of the prepaid PCR tests would be carried out on-arrival at the guest’s hotel prior to check-in. The second PCR test would be conducted 5-7 days after, or if any symptoms should develop before. If a test should result as positive, initial isolation would be accommodated at the hotel and if necessary, transfers to a private hospital or a designated hotel to be quarantined would be arranged.
Sri Lanka Tourism with the tourism industry has created a bio-bubble for international visitors to explore multiple sites and attractions in Sri Lanka. This include places such as the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Yala, Udawalawe, Kaudulla and Wilpaththu National Parks, Mirissa Whale Watching, Sigiriya Fortress, Anuradhapura (excluding ‘Sri Maha Bodhiya’) and Polonnaruwa. (EASWARAN RUTNAM)