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Tuesday May 21st, 2024

Fully vaxxed tourists to Sri Lanka can leave bio-bubble but must pre-book travel sites

ECONOMYNEXT – Though fully vaccinated tourists to Sri Lanka are permitted to move out of a travel bubble, they still have to pre-book sites to visit and only travel using transport booked by the hotel or the agent that handles their travel, a Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) official said.

A circular published on September 04 said fully vaccinated tourists are allowed to move out of their ‘Safe & Secure Level 1’ hotel and check into any tourist hotel and travel the country.

As per the circular, hotels, bars, coffee shops and other common facilities were also to be kept open to inhouse guests, while international tourists are permitted to visit a tourist site with transport to be organised by relevant hotels.

SLTDA Director General Dhammika Wijayasinghe told EconomyNext that the tourist can travel with their discharge notice from quarantine.

“A full vaccinated tourist can travel with their discharge notice, and they can go to any other tourist hotel and stay there. They can cross provisional boundaries, but the transportation must be arranged by their agent or the hotel they stay in. A tourist cannot book public transport,” Wijayasinghe said.

“Transport must be arranged in a safe and secure manner following health guidelines,” she said.

Wijayasinghe said there are several wildlife parks and cultural sites that are open for tourists, but they must pre-book prior to visitation.

Since opening the country for tourists in January under a bio-bubble concept, Sri Lanka has not closed its borders for tourists despite a surge in COVID-19 infections caused by the delta variant.

From July fully, the island fully opened for vaccinated travelers with only a one-day mandatory quarantine until PCR tests were cleared.

Sri Lanka also offers an extended ‘digital nomad’ visa, in which tourists can stay for several months working online for their jobs back home.

With all these measures, the island for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country has welcomed 5,000 tourists in the month of August, compared to zero last year. (Colombo/Sep10/2021)

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Sri Lanka declares May 21 as National Mourning day over Iranian President’s death

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka declared a national mourning day on Tuesday, May 21 in view of expressing its solidarity with Iran after sudden death of Iran President Ebrahim Raisi following a helicopter crash.

President Raisi and eight others including Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian were killed in the crash when the helicopter had a “hard landing” reportedly due to adverse weather conditions with heavy fog. However, President’s two convoy helicopters reached the destination safely.

“The Sri Lankan government has declared a national mourning day on tomorrow (May 21) on behalf of the sudden death of Iranian president Mr. Ebrahim Raisi,” the Department of Government Information said in a statement.

It also urged all the state institutions have to hoist the national flag half mast.

Raisi was in Sri Lanka on April 24 to launch the Uma Oya dam on a one-day official visit amid tight security. His helicopter crashed when he was returning to Iran after launching a dam in the Azerbaijan border.

President Raisi is seen as a hardliner and a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Earlier this month, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said the island nation will deal with Iran for investments and trade without being caught into the United States-led sanctions.

Sri Lanka was unable to receive $450 million from Iran for a recently opened Uma Oya multipurpose project started before the sanctions.

Sri Lanka now exports tea to Iran for no dollar payment. Instead, Sri Lanka tea producers are paid by the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) in rupees for the pending crude oil import payments for Iran.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed his condolences on the tragic incident.

“Sri Lanka is deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic death of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian and other senior Irani official,” he said in his official X-platform.

“I express my deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the bereaved families, the government and the people of Iran.”

Raisi, a Muslim jurist, served as the eighth president of Iran from 2021 until his death. (Colombo/May 20/2024)

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Sri Lanka helps launch Global Blended Finance Alliance

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has joined a group of nations led by Indonesia which aims to mobilise capital to achieve carbon neutrality, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Jeevan Thondaman said.

The Global Blended Finance Alliance mooted by Indonesia in 2018, was formally launched at the World Water Forum in Bali today.

Among the other founding members are Fiji, France, UAE, Kenya, Luxembourg and Canada.

“Through our collective efforts, the Global Blended Finance Alliance aims to mobilise both public and private capital to help nations achieve carbon neutrality and the SDGs,” Thondaman said on social media platform X (twitter).

“The world has a USD 2.5 trillion funding gap to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030,” he said.

Blended finance is the strategic use of development finance, such as public and/or philanthropic funds, for the mobilisation of additional commercial finance towards sustainable development in developing countries. (Colombo/May20/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes slightly stronger at 299.60/75 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee appreciated slightly to close at 299.60/75 to the US dollar on Friday, from 299.70/80 the previous week, dealers said. Bond yields were up.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed up at 10.15/35 percent from 10.05/15 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed up at 10.45/55 percent from 10.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 10.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2030 closed at 11.70/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed up at 11.90/12.05 percent from 11.85/12.00 percent. (Colombo/May20/2024)

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