As Sri Lanka paves the way to restart tourism, fully-vaccinated international travellers who have received the second dose of the vaccine 14 days prior to arrival will now be allowed to enter the country without undergoing quarantine.
While several restrictions remain for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated visitors, those who have been ‘double-jabbed’ will have travel restrictions eased; this includes entry into the island without a period of quarantine other than the 24 hours required to stay in a Safe and Secure Level 1 Hotel until the on-arrival PCR test results are available. Once the ‘Day One’ PCR test report is negative, travellers will be able to leave the Level 1 Hotel and enjoy their holiday. They will be required to undergo a PCR test once again on the seventh day during their travels at a Ministry of Health approved laboratory.
In addition, travellers will require to produce a negative PCR test report done 72 hours prior to boarding the flight as per standard procedure, obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) via the Sri Lanka Tourism website https://www.srilanka.travel/helloagain/ and purchase a mandatory visitor COVID Insurance coverage costing $ 12 covering a period of 30 days and a $ 50,000 cover.
All other visitors travelling as a tourist who are either partially vaccinated or not vaccinated will have to follow standard procedure of quarantining in a Safe and Secure L1 Hotel up to 14 days; depending on the vaccination status and the duration of stay. All relevant details on procedure to follow is available on the Sri Lanka Tourism website.
Travel restrictions will however still apply to certain countries; travellers with a travel history (including transit) in the past 14 days to India, Vietnam, South America, South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia will not be permitted to disembark in Sri Lanka until further notice.
Discussing the long-awaited reopening, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said: “Under current regulations all visitors to the island, whether foreign travellers or citizens, have been subject to stringent regulations. These measures have helped curb the spread of the pandemic while preventing new variants from entering the island. With the success of the national vaccination rollout program, we are ready to commence operations as usual for fully-vaccinated arrivals and the tourism industry is well-prepared to welcome our international travellers while ensuring the safety and security of our communities.”
Travellers who have received the recommended dose of COVID-19 vaccines must carry their original vaccine certificate card. If their certification is in any language, other than English, an authorised translation of their vaccine certificate must be produced along with the original certificate.
For travellers to be considered fully vaccinated and be eligible for quarantine-free entry, they must have received both doses of the vaccine at least two weeks prior to arrival. Non-vaccinated children under 18 are able to undergo an on-arrival PCR test along with their parents and upon obtaining a negative test result will be permitted to travel within the island without quarantine when accompanied by a fully-vaccinated parent or guardian. Children under two will not be subject to a PCR test unless their parent or guardian tests positive for COVID-19.
While travel restrictions have been eased for fully-vaccinated arrivals, Government officials advise caution and encourage all visitors to abide by the extensive health and safety measures, put in place to ensure the public’s wellbeing. Apart from the eased restrictions, fully-vaccinated travellers will enjoy exclusive access and incentives throughout the island. This includes upgraded facilities and amenities, a wide choice of accommodation, uncrowded attractions, and the experience of having this treasure trove, Sri Lanka, almost all to oneself.
“Sri Lanka Tourism has been preparing for this opening for quite a while now and we are ready to welcome travellers back. Looking at our vaccination statistic, when compared to some of our regional tourism rivals, Sri Lanka’s numbers are a strong indicator that we are ready to bounce back,” Fernando said.
Thailand has had 16.2% of its population with at least one dose of vaccine administered while Sri Lanka has 19.8% of its population administered with at least one dose of vaccine. There is cause for optimism and we are confident about what the future holds.
In preparation for the forecasted influx of tourists we have some strategic initiatives currently being implemented around the island and with safety and security being our number one priority for both our communities and our visitors we hope to have all our tourism workforce vaccinated by October. Vaccination drives for the industry are currently underway with a vaccination drive for hospitality employees in the Hambantota District taking place recently,” said Fernando.
The opening of Sri Lanka to the world arrives on the heels of a concentrated and systematic vaccination drive carried out by the Government. The Ministry of Health has worked closely with officials around the island and the private sector to ensure rigorous testing and vaccination continues. Currently, efforts are underway to exceed the 70% vaccinated standard set by global authorities. This extraordinary task has immunised a majority of Sri Lankans and positions the island as one of the safest places in the world.