Sri Lanka is open to visitors from most countries but 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 form not restricted countries bearing a negative COVID-19 test and “released from quarantine with an – on arrival negative COVID-19 PCR report – do not have to undergo a COVID-19 test on day 7,” according to the latest quarantine amendment.
People with a travel history in the last 14 days to South American countries, India, South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are not permitted entry until further notice.
Sri Lanka reopening tourism – Latest Updates
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.”
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.
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)
Multiple Entry Business 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.
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.
May 14 – Sri Lanka to put on hold its travel bubble agreement with India.
After tons of misinformation coming from different Sri Lankan ministries, with ministers stating the travel bubble would go ahead and others saying exactly the opposite, now it’s official, Effective May 6, Sri Lankan authorities have indefinitely banned passengers with travel history to India in the last 14 days.
Travelers from India can transit through Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) but cannot enter the country.
Sri Lanka is experiencing a critical shortage of vaccines because of the current crisis in neighboring India which is the major COVID-19 vaccine producer in the world and had promised to give vaccines to Sri Lanka.
Because of this, regardless of nationality and vaccination status all visitors must undergo mandatory quarantine including diplomats and officials. These restrictions will be in effect until May 31.
Last week, the country’s National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) approved the purchase of 7 million doses of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V. Sri Lanka will be receiving 20,000 doses Russian vaccine as early as next month. This vaccine has already been approved by 39 nations world-wide.
On the other hand, the authorities announced they had withdrawn the approval it had previously given for the emergency use of the China-manufactured Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.
Madhubani Perera, director at Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, recently mentioned that international tourist numbers have been rising rapidly over the last weeks, especially because more flights coming from Kazakhstan and Ukraine have been allowed to resume operations to the country.
Tourists thinking of Sri Lanka as a future destination should book their hotel rooms in advance since local tourists are keeping them full.
To visit Sri Lanka travelers must first obtain a proper visa. During the process they need to purchase local health insurance and show proof of a COVID-19 testing appointment. They will also need to book accommodations in a level 1 hotel.
There is a period of 13-14 days of isolation in the “bio bubbles” the country has designed. During this time visitors cannot interact freely with the locals but they can use their hotels facilities, switch hotels and visit a number of approved tourist attractions within the bubble.
Sri Lankan officials confirmed reopening of tourism after 10 months. Entry and travel restrictions will be very strict.
“It is with great pleasure and excitement that we announce that Sri Lanka will be open for tourism from Thursday,” said Kimarli Fernando, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
Tourists can only stay in 55 designated hotels and they will be required to take 3-4 COVID tests.
All visitors will need a proof of a negative PCR COVID test taken no more than 4 days before departure. Visitors staying up to 7 days, will need to take 2 more tests and those staying longer than 7 days will need to take 3 more tests.
All visitors will also be required to purchase US$12 medical insurance that covers up to US$50,000.
Flights from the U.K. remain banned and also travelers who spend 2 weeks before arrival in the UK.
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?
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
As of July 25, the country has reported 296,516 cases and 4,099 deaths.
According to the CDC, Sri Lanka is at warning level 4 which means high alert and traveling to Sri Lanka is not recommended. (CDC.gov)
Why should Sri Lanka be on travelers’ bucket list?
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.
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.
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.