All systems go for Sri Lanka reopening for foreign travellers on January 21.
Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that all the needed arrangements for the reopening have been finalised following strict health guidelines.
Sri Lanka conducted a pilot project of reopening the country for tourists from 26 December 2020 onwards welcoming 1500 Ukrainian tourists. The pilot project reportedly brought a revenue of LKR420 million (USD2.2 million).
All steps have also been taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from tourists to locals and vice versa. Some of the health guidelines for tourists are:
- Mandatory two PCR tests if the visit is up to seven days or three PCR tests if the visit is for more than seven days.
- Covid-19 insurance cover for a period of one month.
- Pre-confirmed hotel booking is mandatory for the first 14 days in one or more certified safe and secure (Level 1) hotel.
Prior the Sri Lanka reopening, the Tourism Development Authority has certified around 180 hotels for following health guidelines will provide accommodation for tourists. Several airlines have already started flying into Colombo on a commercial basis ahead of the re-opening of airports. Several new airlines have also expressed interest in operating to Colombo once the country reopened.
The decision to reopen Sri Lanka was prompted by the difficulties of nearly three million people working on the travel and tourism industry.
“There are nearly three million people in our country who are directly or indirectly dependent on the tourism industry. Keeping this in mind, I announced that the airports will officially reopen on January 21 for tourists,” Prasanna said.