Preparing to resume tourism operations in Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has drafted a set of guidelines for the industry. The guideline outlines stringent measures on preparedness and response for COVID-19 outbreak and covers all the aspects of travel from arrival to departure of a tourist.

The operational guidelines thoroughly explain the regulations and precautionary measures which will be implemented once finalised. As per the guideline, entry procedure requires a prior booking of the tour package online or through an SLTDA registered travel agency. Having a confirmed booking in an SLTDA registered and COVID certified hotel is mandatory and a pre-requisite for Visa. Travellers are required to submit health insurance, tour booking details and a valid return ticket to obtain the visa. Visa on arrival will not be issued until an official announcement is made by the government of Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, a negative PCR report or positive antibody test taken two weeks prior to arriving in Sri Lanka must be uploaded with the visa application. If not, travellers are to produce one at the Colombo Airport on arrival. In addition to thorough disinfection procedures for body, luggage and travel documents, tourists would undergo temperature checks as well as a PCR test or Rapid test upon the time of arrival. Staff and passengers must wear face masks, maintaining social distancing norm, and using sanitizer frequently at the airport.

According to the draft guidelines, airport transfers will only be allowed through registered taxis, arranged buses, pre-approved vehicles. Travel options for tourists within the country includes tourist buses for tour groups, hired taxis from travel agencies or other registered taxis or registered rented vehicles. The use of public transport will not be allowed until further notice.

In addition to that, several measures have been proposed in the guidelines with regards to accommodation facilities, tourist facilities and services, travel agencies and tour operators, tourist activities and more.

Sri Lanka had been battling COVID-19 since late January 2020. As of yet, the country has seen 1028 cases of the virus and recorded 09 deaths, while 584 has recovered from it.

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