"The livelihood of around 3 million people depends on tourism in Sri Lanka."
Sri Lanka has reopened its borders to foreign tourists after 10 months of closure due to Covid-19.
Prasanna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Tourism, made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday, January 21, 2021.
Both of Sri Lanka’s international airports reopened on the same day.
Sri Lanka’s borders are now open to tourists from all over the world. However, safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The country has begun to introduce a ‘bio bubble’, where visitors will abide by certain travel limits for a 14-day ‘semi-quarantine’ period before having free reign.
Visitors going for a shorter trip will observe these limits for their entire stay.
Requirements for entry into Sri Lanka
Prospective travellers must apply for a visa online and download the Visit Sri Lanka app, which visitors can use for contact tracing.
All visitors must have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test at least 72 hours before arrival.
Visitors will have a test upon arrival, and those staying longer than seven days will have a third one.
All international travellers must stay in a hotel or resort that is government-approved for up to 14 days.
Where travellers can go during semi-quarantine
Visitors must stay in their accommodation for the first 14 days, with the exception of visiting any government-approved tourism sites.
Attractions such as Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) and the Royal Botanic Gardens are on Sri Lanka’s government-approved tourism spots.
Tourist sites part of the bio-bubble require visitors to arrive and depart in a private vehicle and only visit as part of an organised tour group.
After 14 days, tourists can travel freely and move to any destination of their choice.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has taken a financial toll on Sri Lanka, as tourism makes up a large percentage of its economy.
Before the pandemic hit, the country had just finished rebuilding after a series of terrorist attacks in the nation’s capital, Colombo on Easter Sunday 2019. The tourist industry took a huge hit as a result.
During the announcement, Ranatunga said: “The livelihood of around 3 million people depends on tourism in Sri Lanka.
“It is our national responsibility to take into consideration the needs of our citizens that depend on this industry.”
Sri Lanka is one of only two South Asian regions currently open to international travellers. The Maldives also has open borders.