Ayubowan from Sri Lanka!
As the world begins to travel again, we would like to introduce to you latest travel and safety measures in Sri Lanka.
1. Can I travel to Sri Lanka?
The reopening of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) for all incoming passengers has been pushed back to September by authorities. Due to this reason International travelers are not permitted to enter the island.
2. Are the airports open?
The Bandaranaike International Airport is operational. This is only for flights for travelers to Dubai and Doha via Qatar Airways and Emirates.
Photo Credits : @bia_srilanka
3. Do I need visa to travel to Sri Lanka now?
The “Visa Free” status and the issuance of “On Arrival” visas are suspended until further notice. All international leisure travelers entering Sri Lanka are required to obtain online tourist visas before arrival. An online tourist visa fee of USD 100 (35+65=100) will be applicable until further notice (this is inclusive of the cost for 3 PCR tests.)
Online visa can be applied by visiting https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp?locale=en_US# once the portal is open for international leisure travelers.
The following documents are mandatory for processing online tourist visa;
– A valid travel insurance with health and hospitalization coverage for the entire duration of stay.
– A valid return air ticket.
– Travel itinerary and details of confirmed reservations made at SLTDA registered and ‘Safe & Secure’ certified accommodation establishments, with the first night stay at a facility in and around Colombo/ Negombo or Hambantota depending on the arrival airport.
4. Do I need to show my medical history before travelling to Sri Lanka?
Every arriving passenger should submit a completed Health Declaration Form (HDF is available at the airport) to health counters at the airport; The Public Health Inspectors will scrutinize HDFs and passengers for COVID-19 symptoms and tourists with high risk conditions will be referred to the Airport Health Officer for further action.
5. What are the airlines that operate flights to Sri Lanka right now?
All airlines are permitted to operate flights to Sri Lanka. The list of airlines who were in operation are mentioned below, National carrier SriLankan Airlines continue to operate on specific routes based on the necessity
Sri Lankan Airlines (National carrier), Emirates, Malaysian Airlines, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Jet Airways, Gulf Air, Etihad Airways, Qantas, Ukraine International , Turkish Airlines, Thai Airways, China Eastern, Singapore Airlines, Air India, China Southern, Cathay Pacific, Saudia , Korean Air, Oman Air , Kuwait Airways and Air China.
Photo Credits : @srilankanairlinesofficial
6. What safety measures are imposed by airlines when travelling?
Most Airlines will check travelers for valid visas and negative PCR test reports before allowing them to board the flight. Please visit www.iata.org/ for more details.
7. What are the safety measures in place at the airport?
All tourists should undergo a PCR test upon arrival at the airport. A repeat PCR test to be conducted 5-7 days after the arrival or if the guest develops respiratory symptoms, whichever comes first. For tourists staying longer than 10 days, another PCR test will be carried out between 10-12 days after the arrival in Sri Lanka.
If any tourist is tested positive for COVID-19, he/she will be sent to a hospital or a quarantine hotel and will be charged at the rate of USD 100 per night.
The accommodation establishments/hotels, travel agents or tour operators booked by respective travelers are responsible for arranging safe transportation of tourists within the country.
Photo Credits : @bia_srilanka
8. Do I need to be in quarantine?
All arriving travelers may not require to be in quarantine. However, all travelers should undergo temperature screening through thermal scanners; if anyone records a temperature of 37.4oC (99.3oF) or above, he/she should be immediately referred to the airport health office of the Quarantine Unit for further examination and necessary action.
9. How long will I be in quarantine?
In the event, a traveler is detected with symptoms at the airport, he/she will be referred to the Ministry of Health. Based on the severity of the symptoms the traveler will be required to be admitted to a hospital or quarantine hotel. The cost of admission will be borne by the traveler.
10. What are the transport options available for tourist visits within the country
The booked in accommodation establishments/hotels, travel agents or tour operators are responsible for arranging safe transportation of tourists within the country; therefore, it is their duty to ensure the vehicles used for tourists’ transportation are cleared for required health and safety standards.
Cars, vans or any other vehicles transporting tourists should adhere to Ministry of Health recommended guidelines and ensure the number of passengers inside a vehicle is limited to maintain the recommended safe distancing between seated passengers; this condition may be relaxed, if one family is traveling together.
Tourists should sanitize hands and disinfectant footwear prior to boarding a vehicle and wearing of face masks is compulsory during the journey. The vehicle driver/pick up personnel should always wear face masks and maintain a safe physical distance of 1.5 meter, including greeting and handling of luggage.
Use of public transport is not allowed at this stage for tourists.
11. Can I travel between districts?
Yes, there are no travel restrictions between districts.
12. Are hotels & resorts open in Sri Lanka?
Yes, hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka are open. All properties in Sri Lanka are following precautions and guidelines imposed by the government and the World Health Organization (WHO).
13. What safety measures are imposed at public places?
General precautions such as use of hand sanitizer, provision for washing hands, disinfection of footwear, etc. are available before entering buildings. On pavements/ sidewalks, commuters are encouraged to maintain the required physical distance and wear a face mask.
Photo Credits : REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
14. Are restaurants open in Sri Lanka?
Most restaurants are open and are functional with approved health and safety precautions, which include the use of hand sanitizer, provision for washing hands, disinfection of footwear before entering the premise etc. Additionally, all service staff will be wearing masks and gloves when servicing customers.
15. Do I need to make a reservation at the restaurant ahead of time?
It is recommended to make a reservation ahead of time as restaurants will operate at lower capacity due to healthy and safety precautions.
16. How is physical distancing managed at a restaurant?
Seating is arranged for two guests per table, with adequate physical distance between tables. The exception is for families with young children where the family would sit together.
17. Are bars and pubs open in Sri Lanka?
Yes, bars and pubs are largely functional at lower capacity with necessary health and safety precautions.
18. Are tourist sites open in Sri Lanka?
a. Yala National Park
b. Sigiriya Rock Fortress
c. Kandy Temple of Tooth Relic
d. National Museum
e. The National Zoo
All Tourist sites are open with varied safety protocols and measures in place to ensure the wellbeing of our travelers.
Photo Credits : @dy.ranasinghe
19. How can I make arrangements for a tour?
You can arrange personalized and pre-arranged tours by contacting any tour operator in your country,travel agents or any online travel agent. They will provide you with all the details and arrangements for hotel bookings, transport, excursions and other necessities to ensure a comfortable stay. You may refer a list of approved travel agents in the link below –
20. Are shopping malls open in Sri Lanka?
Yes, shopping malls and retail stores are open in Sri Lanka with precautionary safety measures.
Photo Credits : indianexpress.com
21. Where can I purchase face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) if necessary?
Face masks and PPR are available in all pharmacies and supermarkets.
22. Am I required to wear a face mask at all the time?
It is mandatory to wear a face mask when in public while maintaining physical distance.
23. Who do I contact if I have any symptoms?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty in breathing. However, having these symptoms doesn’t mean you have contracted the illness, thereby it would be recommended that you follow a self-quarantine for several days. If the situation worsens you must contact the emergency hotline 1390.
For additional information, please visit https://hpb.health.gov.lk/en/covid-19# OR https://www.lk.undp.org/content/srilanka/en/home/coronavirus.html
24. Who do I contact if I see any safety measures not being followed?
If you see a breach in the quarantine process/regulations or require any information you may call 113.
Ambulance service – 1990
National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo – 011-2691111
Police Emergency call center – 119
Disaster Unit – Ministry of Health – 011-3071073
Tourism Police – 011-2421052
Health Promotion Bureau – 1999
National Emergency Operation Center – 117
For pregnant mothers – 071-0301225
24-hour hotline for women – 071-0301225
For any and all additional information please refer https://hpb.health.gov.lk/en/covid-19#