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SRI LANKA REOPENS FOR TOURISTS
Industry: Hotels       

After months, Sri Lanka reopens its borders for tourism, without minimum stay requirements or lengthy quarantines. Visitors are also able to explore some of Sri Lanka's best loved tourist sites under a bio-bubble for international visitors.

(TRAVPR.COM) SRI LANKA - March 17th, 2021 - Sri Lanka's reopening for tourism has been announced - then delayed - a number of times since August. But after 10 months, Sri Lanka reopens its borders today, January 21, for tourism, without minimum stay requirements or lengthy quarantines.

However, there will be limitations and restrictions for tourists travelling to Sri Lanka. While visitors from all countries will be able to travel to Sri Lanka, tourists must stay at one of 52 Level 1 "Safe and Secure hotels for up to 14 days, which will be off-limits to all locals except staff. The Level 1 hotels have all been audited and are recognised as complying with the COVID-19 Health Protocols and the Tourism Operational Guidelines laid out by Sri Lankan officials. Properties range from guest houses to three, four and five star hotels across the island.

To facilitate the arrival of tourists for the first time since March, international flights will resume to two airports:The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and The Mattala International Airport (MRIA).

What to know about travelling to Sri Lanka

Before applying for a visa to travel to Sri Lanka, tourists must have a confirmed hotel booking at one of Sri Lanka's Level 1 safety secured hotels, pre-purchased PCR tests and mandatory Covid-19 Insurance Cover.

Visitors travelling for up to seven days must pre-purchase two Covid tests, while those staying for seven days or more should purchase three. Covid tests are priced at USD 40 (AED 147). Visitors must also purchase Mandatory Covid-19 Insurance Cover from People's Insurance PLC, priced at USD 12 (AED 44) for a policy of USD 50,000 cover for 30 days.

Currently, visitors can purchase these with their chosen approved hotel, although going forward the process will be directed through the Sri Lanka Tourism’s mobile app. Once travellers have purchased their necessary Covid tests and insurance, they can then book directly with the hotel, who will then issue visitors with a reference number, which will be required to apply for a visa in the 'contact details' section. Visa applications can be done on eta.gov.lk, with 30 day visas priced at USD 35 (AED 129).

The final step before travelling to Sri Lanka is to get a Covid-19 PCR test within 96 hours of departure, and be able to present a negative test result at check-in. A health declaration form should also be submitted either prior to boarding, on the flight, or on arrival in Sri Lanka. The first of the pre-paid PCR tests is then carried out on arrival at the hotel before check-in, and the second should be conducted between days five and seven. Those staying longer than a week should carry out their third pre-paid PCR test between days 10 and 14 of their stay.

Restrictions in Sri Lanka

Tourists must spend the full 14 days in their Level 1 Safe and Secured Hotel, although they can stay at different Level 1 hotels during their time in Sri Lanka, provided their on-arrival test was negative. Guests are able to enjoy the hotel's range of facilities, including restaurants, spas and pools, provided social distancing measures are adhered to.

Visitors are also able to explore some of Sri Lanka's best loved tourist sites under a bio-bubble for international visitors. For example, places such as Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Yala, Udawalawe, Kaudulla and Wilpaththu National Parks, Mirissa Whale Watching, Sigiriya Fortress and Polonnaruwa. The full list of sites can be viewed here.

“As we open our doors to the world once again, we have pulled out all the stops, ensuring that every precautionary measure has been set in place to make the island getaway as safe, secure and serene as possible for the visitors,” Kimarli Fernando, chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said in a statement.

Since March, Sri Lanka has maintained closed borders to curb the spread of Covid-19, and despite a recent spike in cases, has recorded just over 55,000 cases. But in doing so, its shuttered the island's tourism industry - which accounts for roughly 12% of Sri Lanka's GDP.

The only exception is arrivals from the UK, which remain banned amid concerns of a new strain of Covid-19.

Among the leading hotels in Kalutara is Anantara Kalutara Resort, a Kalutara beach resort certified as a ‘Safe and Secure’ Level 1 hotel.

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Name: PR Manager – Anantara Kalutara Resort
Company: Anantara Kalutara Resort
Phone: +94 34 222 0222
Email: 
kalutara.resort@anantara.com
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