It’s finally our time to rejoice and relive the best days of our lives, again! Sri Lanka opens its gates for tourists from all across the world and that’s what makes it great news for a new year. With new resolutions and hopes, there comes a time for all the travel junkies out there, to finally start fresh, and start better! Where it seemed almost impossible to ever travel again to exotic islands, and picturesque beaches (thanks to the unending pandemic lock-downs), the fact that SriLanka welcomes tourists to its premises, is uplifting and hopeful!
SriLanka To Open Its Borders For International Tourists: Things To Know For Safe Travel
1. General Trivia
- When does the airport open and how long can you stay?
The airport opens on 21st January for tourists. There is no compulsory quarantine or minimum stay days. It’s totally okay for you to even visit this astonishing country for 3/4 days.
- Can tourists from any country visit Sri Lanka?
Apart from tourists from UK (for safety and security reasons), there are no particular restrictions as such for tourists visiting from any country (unless specified).
- Does being vaccinated give you an upper hand in any way?
Yes. For now, there are no such special reservations for anybody. All safety protocols are being followed.
- Will there be a dedicated medical officer in every hotel?
Yes. There will be an appointed medical officer in each of the ‘Safe and Secure’ certified hotels including the Level 1 hotels.
All countries have been allowed for international traveling currently unless specified otherwise. Also, read the following information to understand things better.
- All visas must be applied online through the immigration ETA portal.
- The completed Health Declaration Form(HDF) should also be submitted on arrival at the airport Health Counters. These HDFs will be given prior to boarding the flight or upon arrival.
3. Preparations Before Boarding The Flight
Given below is a well-curated list of things that are a must-do before boarding your flight. It’s very important to keep all of these things in mind.
- Travelers are requested to undergo a PCR test from a recognized laboratory and need to obtain a negative test approximately 96 hours before the flight.
- The Covid-19 Insurance Cover purchased during the Visa process should at least be of value $50,000 for a month.
- A Health Declaration Form (HDF) should also be submitted prior to boarding, on-board the flight, or upon arrival.
4. Covid-19 Insurance
- Do you need Covid-19 insurance?
Yes, you will need to pay USD 12 for a 1 month cover of USD 50,000 offered by People’s Insurance PLC. Most importantly, it’s a mandatory thing to do while applying for the Visa itself.
- How to apply for the mandatory Covid-19 insurance cover?
Visit www. Srilanka.travel/helloagain for the information and the site will direct you to the payment gateway.
- Will you need a Covid-19 insurance cover if you stay beyond 30 days?
Yes. You pay USD 12 initially for a 30 day COVID-19 insurance cover of USD 50,000, which is indeed compulsory. However, if your stay is more than 30 days, you should extend your insurance cover.
5. PCR Tests
- Are you required to do PCR tests even if vaccinated?
Yes. There would not be any exceptions for now. All safety protocols are to be followed upon arrival in Sri Lanka for now.
- Is there a need to pre-purchase PCR tests before arrival?
Yes, all travelers need to pre-purchase PCR tests depending on the length of their stay and this is an indispensable thing to do for your visas as well.
- Where can you get your PCR done upon arrival?
It will be arranged by your Level 1 ‘Safe and Secure’ certified hotel. The test will be performed by a private-sector laboratory approved by the Ministry of Health.
- Where are you allowed to get your PCR done before arrival?
Travelers should undergo a PCR test from an accredited laboratory and obtain a negative result, within 96 hours before boarding their flight. This is an important thing to do with reconfirmation from the respective airline.
6. Hotels And Tourist Attractions
You need to show your hotel booking confirmations during the visa application process.
These are the following things that are to be kept in mind while choosing your hotel accommodations.
a. Travelers must book their stay at a Level 1 ‘Safe & Secure’ hotel for their protection. Only a negative PCR will give guests permission to visit approved tourist sites under a bio-safety bubble.
b. There has been given a list of trusted hotels and accommodation places that agree with the COVID-19 Health Protocols and the issued Tourism Operational Guidelines. The hotels have been subjected to an audit by an independent firm and will be continually assessed. The ‘Safe & Secure’ certificate is issued with a QR code unique to each certified hotel. By scanning the QR code using a smartphone, visitors can not only check the key information of the certified hotel but also immediately report to SriLanka Tourism of any violations related to the guideline procedures with photo evidence.
c. Visitors can use all hotel facilities including gym, swimming pool, spa, etc.
d. You can even change hotels provided they are ‘Safe & Secure’ certified Level 1 hotels with 14 days; After 14 days, you can move to any hotel despite of the fact that they are level 1 Safe and Secure Certified or not.
e. You cannot use public transport within 14 days. Even after that, the use of public transport is discouraged.
7. Covid-19 Protocols
a. What happens if someone is tested positive for COVID-19 with symptoms?
Your level 1 ‘Safe & Secure’ certified hotel in consultation with the hotel doctor/local health authorities, will admit you to a Private Hospital approved by the Ministry of Health. Here’s when your COVID-19 Insurance cover will reimburse hospital charges including the ambulance transfer fees up to $ 50,000 for a month.
b. What happens if someone is COVID-19 positive and Non-symptomatic?
Non-symptomatic COVID-19 positive persons will be quarantined in an isolated area in the same hotel, under the strict supervision of the hotel doctor and local health authorities. In case of an emergency, the person will be transferred to a hospital, and that will further be reimbursed with the insurance money including the ambulance transfer fees up to $50,000 for a month.
c. What happens to the close contacts and exposed guests in case someone is tested positive for COVID-19?
They will be kept under quarantine in an isolated area in the same hotel, under the strict supervision and administration of the hotel doctor and local health authorities. However, based on the decision of the hotel doctor/local health authorities, if they are sent to a quarantine hotel/center or a pre-arranged Private Hospital, the COVID-19. Insurance will reimburse relevant charges including the ambulance transfer of up to $ 50,000 for a month.
d. What if I get sick / illness other than COVID–19?
A medical officer at your hotel will decide what to do accordingly and the cost of the treatments should be covered via the patient’s own personal medical insurance. This will NOT be covered by the COVID-19 insurance cover.
Well, it seems like a privilege to get to travel to Sri Lanka, a beautiful place indeed, once again. Do take that chance to travel and explore. With proper care and strict following of instructions, everything would eventually fall into place. Good luck.
Stay Safe, Travel Well!!