Following a pilot project to reopen tourism last December, the government of Sri Lanka announced the country had completed all necessary agreements and finalized strict compliance with health and safety guidelines for the reopening.
On December 26, 2020, Sri Lanka officially launched a reopening pilot project, which was reported to help to welcome 1,500 Ukrainian tourists and to generate revenue of 420 million LKR (about 2.2 million USD).
Sri Lankan Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that all necessary arrangements for the reopening have been completed accordingly to strict health guidelines.
Sri Lanka’s decision to reopen was possibly accelerated to address the challenges and pressures its tourism industry is suffering.
“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”, the Tourism Minister affirmed.
Under the reopening plan, tourists wishing to enter Sri Lanka must meet very stringent standards. They need to present negative test results to Covid-19 which was done within 4 days prior to departure. After that, they are also required to other two mandatory PCR tests if their visit in Sri Lanka is up to seven days, and three mandatory PCR tests if their stay is more than seven days.
In addition, Sri Lanka has made it compulsory for all travelers to buy travel insurance at the price of 12 USD to be covered with 50,000 USD for medical expenses if necessary. During the 14-day quarantine, they will stay in one of 55 designated hotels across the country.
Prior to the reopening, the Tourism Development Authority of Sri Lanka has also certified 180 hotels which comply with the safety and hygiene measures introduced by the government to accommodate the upcoming tourists.
Moreover, to facilitate the reopening, several airlines have already conducted commercial flights to the commercial capital Colombo of Sri Lanka ahead of the reopening of airports while many other airlines have expressed their interest in operating this new route once the country officially reopened.
However, Sri Lanka still does not allow tourists from the U.K. to enter if they have stayed there more than 2 weeks. This is an attempt to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 variant.