Sri Lanka is gearing up to open her shores to tourists from August 1, 2020, but with certain restrictions to ensure they are COVID-19 free.

According to guidelines released by the government, the main focus when tourism re-opens following the month’s long lockdown the country has been in, will be on multiple PCR testing.

Therefore, a tourist will be required to have a negative PCR report taken three days prior to arrival in the country. This is to be followed by a second PCR test conducted at the airport upon arrival in the country.

The guidelines added that a repeat PCR test will be conducted 5-7 days after arrival or if the guest develops respiratory symptoms, whichever comes first.

In the event the tourist is tested positive for COVID-19 he or she will be sent to a hospital or to a quarantine hotel and will be charged at the rate of USD 100 per night.

Tourists planning on staying for more than 10 days will not be required to pay for the PCR test which will be carried out within 10 to 12 days of arrival.

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority stated that the guidelines were introduced for the ‘safe and secure’ restoration of tourism activities.

“The guidelines and procedures are intended to enhance cleanliness and hygiene practices of tourism related venues, services and individuals, where physical distancing, infection prevention and controls were considered as key elements in developing the required health protocols,” it added.

Tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner and provides direct or indirect employment to a large number of people.

In 2018 the country earned USD 4.38 billion with 2,333,796 arrivals, but as a result of the Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019 the country ended the year with USD 3.61 billion with 1,913,702 arrivals.

COVID-19 comes as a new threat to the industry that focuses on human interactions and travel between countries.

In a bid to ensure that tourists will not bring in fresh fears of a ‘second wave’, Sri Lanka Tourism is resorting to the traditional ‘Ayubowan’ to welcome and greet tourists strictly discouraging handshakes and hugging.

Hotels and other places providing accommodation will require a ‘safe and secure’ certification to open up for business. In the first round, five- and four-star category hotels and boutique villas and hotels are eligible to apply for this certification.

“All ‘Safe & Secure’ certified accommodation providers/hotels will be required to provide an undertaking that they strictly abide by all COVID-19 health and safety protocols, it stated adding, “The SLTDA representatives along with MOH and PHIs will conduct spot audits to ensure compliance and action will be taken for those who fail to comply with COVID-19 health and safety regulations.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here