Sri Lanka is open to tourists after the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sri Lankan international airports will be opened to travellers from 1st August 2020. However, a new set of guidelines have been issued by the Sri Lankan tourist board, as below,
- The travellers should spend Minimum 5 – nights in Sri Lanka.
- All travellers should have done a PCR test (test result should be produced at the airport) before boarding Sri Lanka bound flight from their respective country. This test result should be negative for COVID-19, and the test should be no older than 72 hours prior to boarding.
- Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, a PCR test would be conducted at the airport free of charge.
- If travellers do not show the COVID-19 systems, they allow to continue with the Sri Lanka trip as planned.
- If a traveller has a positive result for COVID-19, he or she will be directed to a quarantine centre or the hospital.
- If symptoms are detected, an individual would have to undergo quarantine for 14 to 21 days.
The contribution of Tourism to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination in Asia and attracts a large number of foreign travellers every year. Tourism is a big industry in Sri Lanka and contributes immensely to the country’s economy. Little more than 12% of the Sri Lankan economy is made of the Tourism industry. But, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, tourism earning has plummeted to 0. However, the Sri Lankan government is easing the lockdown and all government and private institutions are back on the job. But, the post-COVID-19 Sri Lanka trip will be different than it had been before the COVID-19.
Impact of COVID-19 to Sri Lankan tourism industry
Worldwide lockdown had affected all sectors of Sri Lankan economy as well as the tourism industry. Tourism is the lifeblood of millions of people on the island who are directly and indirectly engaged in the tourism industry. All people working in makeshift small boutiques on the beach resorts to tour guides to hotel staff all are affected by the worldwide lockdown.
Relief program due to the COVID-19
The government has launched few programs to help the people, whose income are severely hindered due to COVOD-19. Under the programs, they are given many financial benefits such as debt moratorium, monthly allowances, low-interest bank loans.
Ease of COVID-19 lockdown in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka economy is getting back to normal with ease of lockdown. The opening of the economy began in 11th May 2020 and all private and government institutions are operation form 19th May 2020. However, all institutions are instructed to follow the guidelines issued by the health authorities of Sri Lanka.
Still, the hotels are not allowed to open their doors to visitors. The airport is open only to cater to selected passengers and cargo operation. Therefore, COVID-19 lockdown is going to affect the tourism industry for a few more months.
According to unconfirmed sources, Sri Lankan airlines are planning to start the scheduled flight from 1st June 2020. The Colombo airport was never closed due to the CORONA pandemic. According to the unconfirmed sources, the hotels will be granted permission to start their operation from July. But, all institutions that cater to foreign travellers should adhere to the instructions issued by the state health department. A set of guidelines are already issued and circulated among the stakeholders.
Recovery plan for Sri Lanka tourism
A recovery plan for Sri Lanka tourism is already in discussion among the stakeholders of Sri Lanka tourism industry. The recovery plan will be launched and administered by the Sri Lanka tourism board with the assistance of health authorities.
According to unconfirmed sources, Sri Lanka plans to restart the tourism with domestic tourism in June 2020 and the country will be opened to the rest of the world thereafter.
Sri Lanka holiday lovers need to be patients for a few more days
We receive many inquiries from our readers that are willing to travel to Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, we have turned their requests down due to the lockdown rules. We strongly believe that the airport and hotels will be in operation by July 2020, if the COVID-19 remain under control for the next few months as well.
We are targeting this article to serve the travellers, who are planning to visit Sri Lanka immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic. First of all, we discuss the giddiness that will in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 due to foreign travellers.
All travellers will be arriving in Sri Lanka will be checked if they have contracted with the virus. The testing process might take a few hours (about 6 hours), during which the travellers have to stay inside the airport.
2. Getting Visa
The tourist visa is already mandatory for all visitors of Sri Lanka. During the pre-COVID period, foreign travellers from a large number of countries were allowed to get a visa upon arrival. The Visa on arrival will be stopped for travellers until further notice after the COVID-19. Therefore, online visa is the only viable option to get a visa to enter the island.
If you like to read more on how to receive Sri Lankan visa and other important travel tips, please read my article on “Sri Lanka travel tips“.
3. COVID-19 certificate
The visa applicant is required to submit a certificated issued by the authorities of the respective country that the applicant is free of CORONA virus. The certificated should have been issued 2 weeks before the date of application.
4. History of movements
The travellers are requested to share the information about their movement in the immediate past such as foreign travels.
5. Tour itinerary
The foreign travellers arrive on the island required to share their travel plan with the tour operators. The guests are requested to submit a copy of their Sri Lanka tour package at the time they apply for Sri Lankan visa.
Guidelines for tourist drivers, taxis and guides
Guidelines for tourist drivers, taxis and guides– a set of guidelines have been issued for all stakeholders including the guides, drivers and taxis. The guidelines are primarily targeting at stopping the spread of the virus.
Disinfecting the vehicles after transporting passengers, wearing masks (driver as well the passengers), and maintaining a stock of disinfectants to clean hands are some of the main rules that transporters should follow.
Health guidelines for post-COVID operation for Hoteliers
Even though the hotels are not opened yet, a set of guidelines have been issued by the health authorities, pertaining to the post-COVID operation. The hoteliers will be instructed to follow the stringent guidelines with regards to the post-COVID-19 operation. Sri Lanka tourist board will introduce a certification program for all accommodation providers on the island over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotels and other accommodations are places where a large number of people gather usually. Therefore, if there is a CORONA infected patient, he can easily spread the virus. However, after considering those factors, the government has issued some guidelines to minimize social gathering in the hotels.
As per the health guidelines issued by the health authorities, the hotels have to design their facilities, including buffets, beaches, lobbies and pools, to ensure social distancing.
Even the hotel staff had to follow the certain guideline. Therefore the hotel staff have to make some changes to the way they had been working until the Pandemic.
Adopting Social distancing for the tourism industry
Sri Lanka has been very successful in the fight against COVID-19. The government of Sri Lanka has been able to contain the spreading virus within a short period of time. The government of Sri Lanka has also been able to minimize the deaths caused by COVID-19 and keep it as less at 9 persons.
The government is mainly targeting at containing the virus and limiting the number of a person by alienating the sick persons. So, far it has been proved to be very successful in the fight against COVID-19. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the government is going to make any changes to their COVID-19 operation. We believe that all sectors of the tourism industry will also have to adopt this social distancing in the future.
What is the chance of contracting a coronavirus in Sri Lanka?
The chance of contracting Coronavirus has become very meagre at the present condition. According to the trustworthy information no Corona patient is recorded from the civil society during the last 17 days. However, the health authorities are still vigilant and ready to take swift action in case a new Corona case show up within the country.