- Health Ministry issues guidelines for issuance of provisional certification pending formal accreditation
- At present, over 200 accommodations have been independently certified ‘Safe and Secure’
In a bid to fast-track the issuance of certification to accommodation entities, the Health Ministry has issued a comprehensive set of new guidelines to issue provisional certification of hotels pending ‘Safe and Secure’ Certification (Level 1).
In a memo on 1 March to all Health Services Provincial Directors and Regional Directors, Health Services Director General Dr. Asela Gunawardena said to adhere to following guidelines to issue provisional cer-tification of hotels pending ‘Safe and Secure’ Certification (Level 1).
Accordingly, 1) hotels pending ‘Safe and Secure’ Certification (Level 1), if requires to accommodate foreign tourist guests prior to receiving the formal certification, shall make a request to the area MOH to assess the suitability of the hotel to accommodate foreign guests complying with the health guide-lines, with documentary evidence of recommendation issued by the Sri Lanka Development Authority (SLTDA).
Secondly, the area MOH, upon such request, shall visit the hotel and make the recommendations on the suitability for accommodating guests within the first 14 days of their arrival to Sri Lanka, taking into consideration the factors such as; availability of additional space for isolation of asymptomatic COVID patients among guests, availability of adequate staff to manage the guests according to the existing health guidelines, availability of adequate space for maintaining the required distance and availability of the service of a Medical Officer designated to the hotel.
The Director General said if the hotel meets the above and other specific requirements stipulated in the guideline, the MOH shall recommend to the SLTDA to provide the provisional certification for the hotel.
The memo was also copied to the Health Ministry Secretary, Tourism and Aviation Ministry Secretary, SLTDA Director General, Chief Epidemiologist and Quarantine Unit Director.
Sri Lanka Tourism has audited and certified a total of 204 'Safe and Secure' accommodation providers countrywide to allow international bookings.
As of mid-last month, there were 97 Level 1 hotels and 107 other hotels certified as 'Safe and Secure'. It accounts to 11,540 rooms, which is around 30% of the total room capacity in the country. On 21 Janu-ary, when Sri Lanka re-opened borders and resumed international tourism, there were only 47 Level 1 ‘Safe and Secure’-certified hotels. The auditing of certification is done by internationally reputed pro-fessional consultancy firms KPMG and Ernst and Young.
According to SLTDA, Sri Lanka welcomed over 4,500 international travellers within three weeks of reo-pening borders and majority of them were from Ukraine.