Elephants at Udawalawe National Park (photo courtesy Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau).
There's good news for wannabe holidaymakers as Sri Lanka is now open to all nationalities - including visitors arriving from the United Kingdom - with no quarantine and no minimum stay requirements.
Following a ten-month hiatus, the country reopened to the world, bar the UK, in January. However, it’s now full steam ahead for Sri Lanka to begin welcoming visitors from all corners of the world.
Although there’s no quarantine, visitors are required to remain within a ‘bio-bubble’ for the first 14 days of their stay. This means they must pre-book with one of the country’s ‘Safe and Secure’ certified Level 1 hotels that have been audited, received ‘Safe and Secure’ certification and are being continually assessed. Each hotel is issued with an individual QR code which visitors can use to check the property’s key information and health and safety compliance. And all hotel facilities will be available for use, including all restaurants, spas and pools.
In a continuation of the bio-bubble, visitors will only be able to visit approved tourist sites. These include, among others, attractions such as Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Yala, Udawalawe, Kaudulla and Wilpaththu National Parks, Mirissa Whale Watching, Sigiriya Fortress, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.
Further entry requirements include holding a negative PCR test result from an accredited laboratory taken no more than 96 hours before departure.
All visitors must also obtain a visa before departure. Before applying, they must have a confirmed hotel booking, have pre-purchased the PCR tests at a cost of US$40 per test and have paid for mandatory Covid-19 insurance cover from People’s Insurance. The cover costs US$12 for a policy of US$50,000 for a period of one month.
The first of the two prepaid PCR tests will be carried out on arrival at the guest’s hotel before check-in. The second test will be taken five to seven days later. If guests are staying longer than one week, they must prepay for a third test.
On booking their accommodation, visitors will be issued with a reference number from their hotel which should be included on the visa application form. Going forward, the visa process will be directed through the Sri Lanka Tourism mobile app, ‘Visit Sri Lanka’.
If a visitor tests positive at any point during their trip, they will be required to isolate themselves in their hotel room and will be transferred to a private hospital if necessary.
Because of these regulations, visitors are able to enjoy a quarantine-free visit with no minimum number of days required for a stay.
There are currently no exceptions to these regulations for visitors who have received a coronavirus vaccination.
“As we open our doors to the world once again, we have 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 visitors,” said the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau in a statement.
All details, including a list of 'Safe and Certified' hotels and visa application information, can be found online.