A burning question in the hearts of most avid tourists since last March has been; When will Sri Lanka reopen again? Much to everyone’s relief, the Sri Lanka reopening date has finally been announced! Sri Lanka is set to open for the arrival of tourists today, the 21st of January 2021! Sri Lanka is set to open its doors to tourists under a bio-security bubble and we cannot wait to welcome you all back to Sri Lanka!
Who can travel to Sri Lanka?
All are welcome to visit and experience this paradise island, Sri Lanka except anyone living in the United Kingdom and anyone who has visited the United Kingdom within the period of 1-14 days before arrival in Sri Lanka. However, strict health guidelines will be imposed that will need to be adhered to by all tourists entering the country.
What are the requirements prior to arriving in Sri Lanka?
All tourists hoping to visit Sri Lanka are expected to produce a confirmed hotel booking, negative PCR test result taken within 96 hours prior to departure and an Insurance cover which covers COVID-19.
You may need to pre-purchase your PCR tests, one of which will be conducted at the Airport itself and will cost approximately around USD 40. Thereafter, a PCR test would be carried out on-arrival at your hotel; prior to check-in. The second PCR test would be conducted 5-7 days after, or if any symptoms should develop before.
You must also ensure that you submit a duly completed Health Declaration Form to the Health Counters upon arrival, you may obtain the Health Declaration Form when you board the flight.
Photo Credit : @bia_srilanka
What about the travel insurance?
All tourists will also be required to obtain an insurance policy which also covers COVID-19 prior to their arrival in Sri Lanka. The insurance cover should be paid for through your ‘Safe and Secure Level 1 hotel when making your booking. The cover will cost approximately USD 12 for a 1 month cover of USD 50,000.
Visa on arrival?
Whilst Sri Lanka offered visa on arrival facility, that has now been temporarily suspended. Tourists have now been requested to apply for visa in advance, which can easily be done via the online Immigration ETA portal at a cost of just USD 35! On the brighter side, you can stay even longer with us at Sri Lanka as Sri Lanka Tourism has proposed that the current one-month long visa should be extended to be a six-month long visa in order to encourage our tourists to stay longer!
Tourism under a bio-security bubble ?
Sri Lanka will be welcoming guests and maintaining a bio-security bubble for those visiting the island, that is depending on the PCR test results of the tourists they will be moved around in a bio-security bubble or in a group and will be allowed to visit certain travel attractions of Sri Lanka on specific days. Travelling within the island will only be allowed if it has been arranged by the approved hotels. Tourists will not be allowed to use any public transportation during their 14 day stay and any movement will have to be organized by the hotel and by approved tour guides employed by the hotels.
Are there any mandatory quarantine requirements?
Tourists arriving in Sri Lanka will not be required to undergo a full quarantine of fourteen days but will have to stay in an approved hotel, known as a Level 1 Safe and Secure Hotel for a minimum of fourteen days. Upon the completion of these fourteen days, tourists will be allowed to travel within Sri Lanka and change their hotels too. Travel to your hearts content and tick off all the destinations on your Sri Lanka Bucket List!
What is a Safe and Secure Hotel?
These are hotels or accommodation providers who comply with the COVID-19 Health Protocols and the Tourism Operational Guidelines. The hotels have been subjected to an audit by an independent firm and will be continually assessed. A Level 1 safe and secure hotels are hotels which will provide accommodation services exclusively for international tourists during the first 14 days of their stay. The level 1 hotels cannot accept bookings from locals and also are not allowed to hold any events or banquet functions for locals. We have some good news to make your visit to Sri Lanka even more exciting! Cinnamon Bey Beruwala and Cinnamon Bentota Beach have been certified as Level 1 safe and secure hotels, so you can enjoy your first fourteen days with us in absolute comfort and luxury.
What are the tourist sites to visit during the first 14 days?
During your stay of fourteen days in a safe and secure hotel, tourists will be allowed to move around the premises, use the common utilities such as pool and spa, explore all facilities within the hotel, and to visit designated tourist sites. Some of these must-see tourist destinations are the pink stone Sigiriya Fortress, the Yala National Park and fourteen other destinations. These visits will be organized on specific days dedicated only to international visitors by the hotels themselves.
Thereafter, following the 14-day confinement in a safe and secure hotel, visitors will be able to move to different accommodation and continue to visit attractions accompanied by a registered guide.
The Tourism Mobile App?
You will be required to download a Tourism Mobile App ‘Visit Sri Lanka’ for coordination and facilitation purposes. The App will be incorporated into the online visa application form and will be available for download on both the Play Store and Appstore.
Requirements while you’re in Sri Lanka?
It is of utmost importance that you maintain adequate distance at all times and to ensure that you’re always wearing your mask. Public transportation is discouraged even after the first 14 days of quarantine. Refrain from handshaking, hugging or kissing; instead, use the traditional Sri Lankan greeting- “Ayubowan”. Don’t forget to wash your hands and also sanitize!
The Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts Properties in Sri Lanka have prepared and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our guests! We cannot wait to show you the true hospitality of Sri Lanka and make sure you experience the plush comfort, luxurious living and delectable array of dishes that the Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts are well-known for! We at Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts together with Cinnamon Care have implemented a unique safety and distancing protocol throughout all our hotels and restaurants to make sure that all our guests are safe. So do make sure you book your stay with us for a safe and memorable tour to Sri Lanka.
Author – Shenella Fonseka