New Delhi (NVI): Sri Lanka will reopen its doors for foreign tourists from January 21, after remaining shut for 10 months, with tough COVID-19 protocols to make the island getaway safe and secure for the visitors.
The announcement came as the Sri Lankan authorities sought to revive a tourism sector devastated by the deadly 2019 Easter bombings and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to local media reports.
In this regard, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has issued a ‘Safety Protocols’ to be followed by the tourism industry. These protocols were issued by the Ministry of Health and adopted by Sri Lanka Tourism.
As per the protocols, the island does not require a minimum number of days to stay, visitors to the Sri Lanka can stay even 3 to 4 days.
“Sri Lanka also offers ‘quarantine-free’ visitor experience, where the visitors are allowed to enjoy all facilities in their respective hotels, including the swimming pools, spas, gym, etc,” the SLTDA said in a statement.
Under the protocols, the foreign tourists will be allowed to stay in 53 designated hotels— certified ‘Safe and Secure’, Level 1 hotel or hotels, in the initial 14 days of their stay, which are off limits to locals except for staff – across the country.
The visitors will be required to produce a negative result from a PCR test taken up to 96 hours before their arrival. They must also undergo two more tests for a visit of up to seven days, and three tests if they stay for more than a week, which cost USD 40, SLTDA said.
During the visit, for the first two weeks, the tourists will have to be accompanied by officials when travelling to designated tourism spots.
Apart from this, the tourists are also required to fork out USD 12 for mandate insurance that will cover up to USD 50,000 in COVID-19 related medical costs when applying for visa online
Furthermore, Sri Lanka Tourism with the tourism industry has created a bio-bubble for international visitors to explore multiple sites and attractions in Sri Lanka, the media reports said.
This include places such as, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Yala, Udawalawe, Kaudulla and Wilpattu National Parks, Mirissa Whale Watching and Polonnaruwa among others.
So far, Sri Lanka has registered over 53,700 coronavirus cases, with 270 deaths since the start of the pandemic, the John Hopkins University data shows.