sri lanka reopening to tourists

Sri Lanka Is Open For Tourism And Hitting Record Visitor Numbers in 2022

Sri Lanka is open to visitors from most countries but various entry requirements apply.

All foreign travelers will need to acquire a visa, health insurance, and present a negative COVID-19 test result taken no longer than 72 hours before their trip. 

Fully vaccinated travelers visiting from not restricted countries bearing a negative COVID-19 test do not have to undergo quarantine.

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Sri Lanka reopening tourism – Latest Updates

Sri Lanka
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

January 14 – Sri Lanka has received record tourists numbers in 2022

Sri Lanka has received a record number of 31, 688 tourist arrivals in the first 11 days of 2022. 

Most tourists have arrived from Russia – 5,726, In addition to visitors from India – 5,566, Ukraine – 3,028, UK – 2,370, Germany – 2,046, Maldives – 1,269, France – 1,241, Australia – 1,093, Poland – 771 and US – 662.

“It is great to see the tourism is beginning to rebound amidst concerns on… COVID variant Omicron. The collective effort of all citizens contributed to the successful recovery of the industry,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson told reporters yesterday.

December 17 – Sri Lanka has lifted restrictions on Southern African countries 

Sri Lanka’s travel ban on visitors from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini was lifted this week, according to the Director-General of Health Services.

Domestic COVID-19 restrictions have also been eased, allowing for indoor private meetings. Restaurants, stores, and other similar places to operate at 50% capacity.

Institutes and cinemas can operate at 75% capacity.

The new rules will be in effect from Dec. 16 through Dec. 31.

December 2 – Sri Lanka has imposed travel restrictions on six African countries 

Sri Lanka has imposed travel restrictions on people arriving from six Southern African countries, announced the Civil Aviation Authority.

The travel ban includes South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, and Eswatini.

Earlier today, the country received nearly 200,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses as a donation from the U.S. government to help them in the fight against COVID-19

Is Sri Lanka open for Americans?

The government of Sri Lanka has announced that all international airports in Sri are now reopened for commercial passenger flights. However, visitors must get a proper visa before traveling.

What is the situation for airports and airlines in Sri Lanka? 

Sri Lanka airports - Travel restrictions

Katunayake and Mattala airports are open to international chartered and commercial flights. Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) is open and it has also been certified as safe by the ACI.

COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka

COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka
Source

As of January 14, the country has reported 594,319 cases and 15,174 deaths.

According to the CDC, Sri Lanka is at warning level 3 which means that traveling to Sri Lanka is not recommended. (CDC.gov)

Why should Sri Lanka be on travelers’ bucket list? 

Sri Lanka opening for tourists

The stunning landscapes, fascinating heritage, and the warmth of their population have made the small country island of Sri Lanka a must-see for travelers worldwide. Today, when many countries are focusing their efforts on reactivating their economies, we wonder, as travelers probably do too, when we will be able to bathe in the beautiful Sri Lankan beaches again.

Sri Lanka is home to wildlife-packed national parks, sparkling beaches, blue whales and dolphins, tea plantations, and way more. Here are our recommendations for places visitors can’t miss.

Mirissa Blue Whale Watching 

Perhaps we will all be in luck and the country does open in time for us to partake in the miracle that is to personally witness these beautiful animals migrating to better waters to mate from December to April.

Koneswaram Kovil

This temple overlooking the sea is not only a site of Hindu pilgrimage but also a beautiful place for every person looking to be quiet for a moment and enjoy the little magical places where nature and man-made wonders have found a perfect balance. 

Hikkaduwa Beach

Considered one of the best Hikkaduwa surfing spots in Sri Lanka, it has become popular among visitors thanks to its clear and hot waters and because waves size ranges from 4 to 11 feet. Tourists can enjoy the best surfing during its dry season, from November to March.

Pigeon Island National Park

Pigeon Island is a national park home to 100 species of coral and 300 coral reef fish. This natural place is located within the dry zone of Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka Reopening – Update Archives

November 15 – Sri Lanka to impose new COVID-19 restrictions

In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, the Sri Lankan government has announced a new policy that will limit the number of citizens allowed to attend public events.

The director-general of health services will be in charge to determine the number of participants, locations, and settings allowed for any gatherings, activities, or events “from time to time.” 

A few days ago, authorities started giving COVID-19 booster shots to frontline workers after the country’s top medical association warned of a possible surge in cases.

To date, 62% of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the ministry’s statistics.

October 24 – Sri Lanka’s inter-province travel ban will be lifted on Oct. 31, says government

The existing inter-province travel ban will be lifted on October 31, announced the national COVID-19 prevention task force on Friday.

“After a discussion among the task force on Friday (23), with the permission of the president, it was decided to lift the travel ban from 4 am October 31,” Army Commander told reporters on Friday.

To prevent a public health emergency as a result of this decision, the government has announced that from November 1, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine would be administered as a booster shot to frontline workers in the health, military, police, and tourism sectors.

September 29 – Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 Lockdown To Be Lifted on October 1, Says Government

Sri Lanka’s “quarantine curfew” will be finally lifted on Friday, the Health Minister tweeted Wednesday. However, conditions apply.

In order to avoid another wave of the pandemic, the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLM) has recommended a “restrained, phased, and well-monitored” lockdown exit strategy. 

The new conditions are yet to be announced by the health authorities.

September 9 – Sri Lanka plans to reopen economy on Sept. 9 – Travel restrictions could be relaxed

Government officials have released a plan to lift lockdown and reopen the economy and other activities on Sept. 13. 

Also, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) requested the Health Services Director General to further relax Covid-19 entry restrictions.

The petition includes,

  • Remove wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for fully vaccinated flight crew
  • Remove PCR test for fully vaccinated travelers
  • Remove PCR for children younger than 12
  • Allow on arrival rapid tests for fully vaccinated travelers

The government has not replied yet.

Source: Economy Next

August 24 – Sri Lanka has imposed a nationwide lockdown until August 30

After nearly one year of refusing a lockdown and disregarding advice from epidemiologists, the government has finally imposed a 10 day countrywide lockdown until August 30, said Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse in a “special address” on Friday.

According to official sources, between August 1 and 23 the number of infections increased by 85,516 and the death toll by 2,838. 

The announcement is a response to both, a rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths across the country and a joint “ultimatum” signed by health, railways, bank and education sectors. 

Source: WSWS.org

August 10 – Sri Lanka to enforce new COVID restrictions through September 1 due to growing health crisis

Sri Lankan hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients who are dying while awaiting admission. Medical experts warned that the spread of the Delta variant may be now beyond control, local media report.

On August 6, the government decided to tighten the restrictions in an attempt to flatten the curve of infections.

Accordingly, state ceremonies and public gatherings have been banned until Sep 1. Also, wedding guest’s capacity was capped at 150 guests only.

Source: Global Times

July 26 – Sri Lanka to resume inter-province public transport on Aug. 1 while Delta variant spreads

Authorities will lift the inter-provincial travel ban on August 1, according to State Minister of Transport Dilum Amunugama. Certain limitations will still apply.

Hotels, restaurants, conferences, seminars and brand launches can also be held with a maximum of 50 on-site participants. 

The Delta variant is now responsible for 20-30% of the new coronavirus cases but the government will go ahead with its reopening plan, said Dr. Hemantha Herath, Sri Lanka’s deputy director general of health services on July 15. 

“Keeping the country closed indefinitely is not going to help at all,” Herath told reporters. “People should take the responsibility [for ensuring] social and economic activities are carried out without leaving any room for the spread of the disease.” 

Source: WSWS

July 26 – Sri Lanka to resume inter-province public transport on Aug. 1 while Delta variant spreads

Authorities will lift the inter-provincial travel ban on August 1, according to State Minister of Transport Dilum Amunugama. Certain limitations will still apply.

Hotels, restaurants, conferences, seminars and brand launches can also be held with a maximum of 50 on-site participants. 

The Delta variant is now responsible for 20-30% of the new coronavirus cases but the government will go ahead with its reopening plan, said Dr. Hemantha Herath, Sri Lanka’s deputy director general of health services on July 15. 

“Keeping the country closed indefinitely is not going to help at all,” Herath told reporters. “People should take the responsibility [for ensuring] social and economic activities are carried out without leaving any room for the spread of the disease.” 

Source: WSWS

July 11 – Sri Lanka lifted travel ban on Middle Eastern countries at the beginning of July

The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) lifted the travel ban it had imposed on Middle Easter countries just a few days after it came into force. 

As of today, travelers from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait are allowed entry as long as they can produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours prior to arrival. 

Unfortunately, visitors must agree to 10-day hotel quarantine if they are not arriving under the tourism “biobubble” agreement. 

Source: Simple Flying

June 27 – Sri Lanka has reimposed new severe COVID-19 related restrictions through at least July 5.

Three weeks ago, Sri Lanka announced the creation of a special team to permanently check the cyber space to trace “false news related to COVID-19 or any other sensitive issues.”

Those caught spreading misinformation about the virus and other matters will be “arrested without a warrant for disrupting public order,” said Senior Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana.

The country has also modified and expanded its domestic restrictions through July 5. As of now, nonessential vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be barred from 22:00 to 04:00 and all non-essential businesses must remain closed until July 5. 

Source: GardaWorld

June 11 – Sri Lanka resumed international flight operations but adjusted entry rules as of June 8.

Sri Lanka has imposed new entry and quarantine rules for fully vaccinated visitors. 

Effective June 8, all travelers must carry a proper visa issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration reflecting the purpose of their visit. As of now, these are the visas and permits the Sri Lankan government will accept.

  • Electronic Travel Authorization ( ETA)
  • Landing Endorsement
  • Entry Visa
  • Multiple Entry Business Visa
  • Residence Visa

Additionally, visitors with travel or transit history to India, South Africa, Vietnam, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela within the previous 14 days will be refused entry. 

This new rule applies regardless of the traveler’s vaccination status.

(Source: GardaWorld)

May 30 – Sri Lanka will resume most international current banned flights from June 1

Effective June 1, most carriers will be permitted to resume currently banned passenger flights to/from Sri Lanka.

Although this is great news, this new lifting has some restrictions. For starters, commercial airlines are only allowed to transport 75% of their regular passenger capacity. Also, visitors with a travel or transit history to India in the past 14 days will be denied entry to Sri Lanka.

Besides, due to epidemiology concerns Sri Lankan authorities have tightened nationwide bans on nonessential movement until June 7.

(Source: GardaWorld)