Do you dream of feasting on delicacies on Sri Lanka’s pristine beaches? Well, that dream may soon become a reality!
That is because Sri Lanka will reopen its doors to tourists from August 1 but under strict guidelines.
Sri Lanka had its borders closed in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
However, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, the country will soon be welcoming all foreign nationals, albeit with some precautionary measures and conditions.
Do you need a visa to visit Sri Lanka? Learn more in this blog post.
Rules for Tourists in Sri Lanka
It is expected that all tourist attractions will be open with safety measures in place. Popular sites, such as Arugam Bay, Yala National Park, Trincomalee and Udawalawe and some of the beach areas will be among those open for tourists.
The most popular tourist season in the country typically starts in the middle of November.
All tourists landing in the country should bring with them a negative PCR* test that has been made in the last 72 hours. After this, a PCR test will be conducted upon arrival, but it will be free of charge. Results should be expected within 24 hours.
Once in the country, tourists will be tested again after 5-7 days, and again between day 10 and 12.
If the results turn out to be positive, tourists will have to go to designated hotels or hospitals for anywhere between 14 and 21 days. The price will be $100 per day.
Note:*The technology of this test is known as a polymerase chain reaction. This is the most reliable test for COVID-19.
The airports which will be operating are the following ones:
Mattala Rajapaksa Hambantota Airport [MRIA]
Bandaranaike International Airport [BIA]
Colombo Ratmalana Airport [RMA]
Face masks should be used at airports, during flights and when travelling around the country.
The tests for the virus will be free of charge and there will be no quarantine unless the person shows symptoms or has a positive test.
Booking a hotel
The first night of the holiday should be spent in a hotel near the airport. This should be either in Negombo or Colombo for anyone arriving at Bandaranaike Airport.
After this, tourists should select a hotel listed on the Sri Lanka tourism website. Only certified accommodation with a strict hygiene policy that has been approved by the Ministry of Tourism in Sri Lanka will be listed on the website.
The approved accommodations will also have temperature scanners, on-call doctors, and strict rules on food services.
It’s important to point out that tourists must have confirmation of their accommodation booking before applying for a visa.
Public transportation may not be available for tourists in Sri Lanka. However, there will be no travel restrictions between districts.
Foreign nationals who visit the country should have transportation to their accommodation arranged in advance, before arriving in the country.
They can opt to travel in Sri Lanka with a private car, taxi or bus, and this should be arranged via travel agents or accommodation providers.
The scenic from Kandy to Ella train route will be unavailable for tourists. However, the majority of tourist sites will be open for visiting, but with enhanced safety protocols.
Do I need a visa to visit Sri Lanka?
Every tourist entering Sri Lanka must have a visa. The visa is valid for a period of 30 days and could be extended up to 6 months after arrival.
Valid travel insurance with health and hospitalization coverage for the entire duration of the stay
A valid return air ticket
Travel itinerary and details of confirmed reservations made at SLTDA (Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority) registered and ‘Safe & Secure’ certified accommodation establishments, with the first-night stay at a facility in and around Colombo/ Negombo or Hambantota depending on the arrival airport.