ECONOMYNEXT – Tourists travelling to Sri Lanka from January 21, 2021 will have to book at a designated ‘Level 1’ certified hotel, get a Covid-19 test 96 hours before departure and pre-pay for PCR tests and a health insurance, the island’s tourism promotion office said.
The list of Level 1 certified hotels is listed at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority’s HelloAgain link.
There is no minimum stay. All visitors have to pre-book at a ‘Safe and Secure’ Level 01 hotel for the first 14 days. The list of Level 01 hotels includes those in Galle, Colombo, Negambo (Gampaha) and Batticaloa.
“This ensures the creation of a bio-bubble for the international visitors assuring the safety of the local communities, employees of the industry and the visitors to the industry,” the tourism office said.
“The respective hotels and accommodation providers along with the travel agents and tour operators will be entrusted to ensure that visitors don’t break the bubble of safety.”
Visitors can use all facilities including swimming pools, spas and gym.
Updated Health Guidelines have been published by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
Level 1 hotels have been audited by an independent firm and will be re-assessed periodically.
Level 1 hotels cannot accept domestic tourists and cannot hold banquets for locals. Each will have a QR code, which has to be displayed for guests to see.
“By scanning the QR code using a smartphone, visitors can not only check the key information of the certified hotel but also immediately report to Sri Lanka Tourism of any violations related to the guideline procedures with photo evidence,” the tourism office sid.
“Sri Lanka Tourism believes this certification will serve as a mark of trust, safety and assurance to all international guests.”
Tourist have to apply for an online visa through the Department of Immigration electronic travel authorization portal at http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/.
Before applying for a visa a confirmed hotel book, pre-purchased PCR test and a mandatory Covid-19 insurance over has to be purchased.
The cost per pre-purchased PCR test will be 40 dollars depending on the number of days of stay. It will 2 PCR tests for 7 days stay and 3 PCR tests for stays over 7 days).
Mandatory COVID-19 Insurance Cover from People’s Insurance PLC will cost 12 dollar for a policy of 50,000 dollar for a period of one month.
Tourists will have to contact the Level 01 hotel or travel agent. The hotel will issue a reference number after getting the payment for PCR tests and the health insurance. The reference number has to be given in the ETA visa form. The address in Sri Lanka is the hotel.
Sri Lanka Tourism with the tourism industry a bio-bubble for international visitors to explore multiple sites and attractions in Sri Lanka.
Th sites include places Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Yala, Udawalawe, Kaudulla and Wilpaththu National Parks, Mirissa Whale Watching, Sigiriya Fortress, Anuradhapura (excluding ‘Sri Maha Bodhiya’) and Polonnaruwa to name a few. (Visit srilanka.travel/helloagain for complete list of approved sites).
List of approved sites are listed at the Sri Lanka Tourism website.
All tourists should have a negative Coronavirus PCR test taken from anaccredited laboratory 96 hours before departure. The report will be checked at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport or Mattala Airport. The first prepaid PCR tests would be done on-arrival at the guest’s hotel before check-in.
The second PCR test would be done 5-7 days after, or earlier if any symptoms develop. Positive tourists will be at first isolated at the hotel. If required they will be transferred to a private hospital or a designated hotel to be quarantined. The cost will be covered by the pre-paid COVID-19 insurance.
At the moment no exceptions are made for vaccinations taken.
The full statement is reproduced below:
SRI LANKA TOURISM GEARS UP TO WELCOME INTERNATIONAL VISITORS
As Sri Lanka opens its doors to the world once again; Sri Lanka Tourism has pulled out all the stops, ensuring that every precautionary measure has been set in place to make the island getaway as safe, secure and serene as possible for the visitors. In this regard Sri Lanka Tourism has published a ‘Safety Protocols’ to be followed by the Tourism industry stakeholders and visitors. These protocols were issued by the Ministry of Health and adopted by Sri Lanka Tourism after a thorough analysis of the situation and following multiple consultations with all relevant stakeholders and health professionals to ensure a smooth transition to begin operations in the midst of this new normal.
As per the safety protocols published Sri Lanka does not require a minimum number of days to stay. i.e. visitors to the island can stay even 3 to 4 days. Also offers ‘Quarantine free’ visitor experience where the visitors are allowed to enjoy all facilities in their respective hotels including the swimming pools, spas, gym etc. However the only requirement put in place for the safety of the traveller, tourism stakeholders and Sri Lankan community is the need for the travellers to stay at a ‘Safe and Secure’ certified, Level 1 hotel or hotels in the initial 14 days of their stay. This ensures the creation of a bio-bubble for the international visitors assuring the safety of the local communities, employees of the industry and the visitors to the industry. The respective hotels and accommodation providers along with the travel agents and tour operators will be entrusted to ensure that visitors don’t break the bubble of safety.
‘Safe & Secure’ Certified hotel
These are hotels or accommodation providers who comply with the COVID-19 Health Protocols and the Tourism Operational Guidelines (visit srilanka.travel for details of the Tourism Operational Guidelines issued). The hotels have been subjected to an audit by an independent audit firm and will be continually assessed. The ‘Safe & Secure’ certificate is issued with a QR code unique to each certified hotel. By scanning the QR code using a smartphone, visitors can not only check the key information of the certified hotel but also immediately report to Sri Lanka Tourism of any violations related to the guideline procedures with photo evidence. Sri Lanka Tourism believes this certification will serve as a mark of trust, safety and assurance to all international guests. Hotels with the certification are encouraged to display the certificate with the QR code that can be easily accessed by all guests.
‘Safe & Secure’ Certified Level 1 hotel
From all the ‘Safe & Secure’ certified hotels, these are the accommodation service providers who 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. International travellers are allowed to stay in any number of ‘Safe & Secure’ Certified Level 1 hotels during the initial 14 days of their stay. Visit srilanka.travel/helloagain for the complete list of Level 1 hotels.
As Sri Lanka opens its borders for international visitors, it will be mandatory for them to have a pre-booking at a‘Safe & Secure’ Certified Level 1 hotel.
Process of applying for Visa for international travellers
Visitors planning to visit Sri Lanka must apply for their visas online through the Immigration ETA portal (www.eta.gov.lk). Before applying for visa, potential visitors are required to have a confirmed hotel booking, pre-purchased PCR tests and a mandatory COVID-19 Insurance Cover.
The cost per PCR test will be $ 40 and pre-purchase PCR tests depending on the number of days of stay (eg: pay for 2 PCR tests for 7 days stay and 3 PCR tests if the travel exceeds 7 days). Mandatory COVID-19 Insurance Cover from People’s Insurance PLC will cost $ 12 for a policy of $ 50,000 for a period of one month. Visitors are advised by Sri Lanka Tourism to Contact their ‘Safe and Secure Level 1’ hotel or Travel Agent when making their booking. Upon the payment of the PCR tests and insurance premium, the hotel will issue a reference number which the visitors need to include in their visa form under the section ‘contact details’. There you will be asked for ‘address in Sri Lanka’ under which you need to indicate your hotel name, address and the reference number issued by the hotel confirming the payment for mandatory PCR and insurance premium.
Sri Lanka Tourism has made it mandatory for the Hotels to provide confirmed booking number (reference number) only after collecting funds for necessary PCR tests ($ 40 per PCR test and number of PCR tests depends on the duration of stay) and Insurance premium of $12 for a cover of $50,000 for one month.
Going forward the visa process will be directed through the Sri Lanka Tourism’s mobile app; ‘Visit Sri Lanka’.
PCR Testing for International Visitors
All visitors, prior to boarding, will have to carry a negative PCR test result from an accredited laboratory 96 hours before their departure. This report will be checked at the respective airport (BIA or Mattala). The first of the prepaid PCR tests would be carried out on-arrival at the guest’s hotel; prior to check-in. The second PCR test would be conducted 5-7 days after, or if any symptoms should develop before. If a test should result as positive, initial isolation would be accommodated at the hotel; and if necessary, transfers to a private hospital or a designated hotel to be quarantined; would be arranged. Costs to be covered via your COVID-19 insurance, already paid for at the time of visa issuance. Currently no exceptions are made for vaccinations taken; all safety protocols should be adhered to regardless.
Visiting sites and attractions
Sri Lanka Tourism with the tourism industry has created a bio-bubble for international visitors to explore multiple sites and attractions in Sri Lanka: This include places such as, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Yala, Udawalawe, Kaudulla and Wilpaththu National Parks, Mirissa Whale Watching, Sigiriya Fortress, Anuradhapura (excluding ‘Sri Maha Bodhiya’) and Polonnaruwa to name a few. (Visit srilanka.travel/helloagain for complete list of approved sites).
Connecting with Sri Lanka Tourism for updates
Sri Lanka Tourism will take every possible step to provide the international visitors to the paradise island an amazing time while ensuring their safety, providing a safe and secure operational environment for the service providers of the tourism industry and ensuring that local communities are protected and secured. All information related to the re-opening for international travel are listed on srilanka.travel/helloagain along with important notices to the industry. Thus Sri Lanka Tourism invites all international travellers, industry stakeholders to connect with its social media and official channels to obtain timely, authentic information.