Sri Lanka reopens borders to international travelers

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(CNN) — The island nation of Sri Lanka is now open to vacationers from all nations.

Sri Lanka Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga made the official announcement throughout a press convention on Thursday, confirming they might reopen the nation’s borders from January 21. Each of the nation’s worldwide airports reopened on the identical day.

“The livelihood of round 3 million individuals is determined by tourism in Sri Lanka,” Ranatunga instructed media. “It’s our nationwide duty to think about the wants of our residents that rely upon this business.”

As a part of efforts to forestall the unfold of Covid-19, Sri Lanka created a “bio bubble,” which is able to give guests a relative quantity of freedom to journey throughout the nation whereas nonetheless observing security protocols.

Although there is no such thing as a minimal time {that a} customer should spend within the nation, anybody coming from overseas should keep in a government-approved resort or resort for as much as two weeks upon arrival.

That implies that vacationers solely coming for a brief journey will simply keep of their resort the whole time, whereas people who find themselves planning longer stays will be capable of transfer extra freely inside Sri Lanka as soon as they full their two-weeks of semi-quarantine.

In contrast to locations like Hong Kong and Australia, the place individuals quarantining upon arrival must stay in their hotel rooms for the whole period, Sri Lanka’s rules are a bit laxer. Visitors can have free rein on-property, to allow them to use services like swimming pools, gyms, salons and eating places.
Vacationers can even depart the resort throughout quarantine to go sightseeing, offered they achieve this rigorously. A couple of dozen tourism sites and attractions are open to overseas guests, however with caveats.
The five-star Anantara Peace Haven in Tangalle is on the list of approved hotels.

The five-star Anantara Peace Haven in Tangalle is on the listing of accredited accommodations.

Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle

As an illustration, as a part of the “bio bubble,” sights like Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) and the Royal Botanic Gardens, each within the central metropolis of Kandy, require guests to return as a part of an organized tour group or with an accredited Sri Lankan information.

They need to journey in a personal automobile and never make any unauthorized aspect stops. Some websites will solely permit vacationers throughout designated time slots or on sure days of the week.

At the moment, 55 accommodations and resorts fall below the “protected and safe stage one” pointers. They aren’t allowed to simply accept any native visitors or host any occasions whereas they’re a part of the bio bubble.

With further safety comes further charges.

Along with paying for flights and lodging, vacationers are chargeable for the price of Sri Lanka’s government-sanctioned medical health insurance ($12 US) and as much as three Covid checks in-country ($40 every).

Everybody coming into the nation should present proof of a damaging coronavirus check taken inside 96 hours of journey and fill out a web-based well being declaration kind. Visitors shall be examined once more at their very own expense on the fifth and seventh days after arriving and folks staying longer than seven days must take a 3rd check the next week.

As soon as the 2 weeks are up and so they have a damaging coronavirus check, vacationers can keep at their resort or swap to a different one of many accredited accommodations. Airbnbs, visitor homes and different types of lodging are off limits. Taking public transit is discouraged.

All potential vacationers should apply for a visa online and obtain the Go to Sri Lanka app. The app shall be used for contact tracing in addition to storing details about check outcomes and resort bookings.
Sigiriya Fortress is among the dozen or so Sri Lanka attractions open to foreign tourists.

Sigiriya Fortress is among the many dozen or so Sri Lanka sights open to overseas vacationers.

ALEX OGLE/AFP/AFP/Getty Photographs

Whereas almost each nation can demonstrably present that its tourism income had taken a success amid the coronavirus pandemic, Sri Lanka has suffered from significantly unfortunate timing.

Following the preliminary Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020, most nations in Asia closed their borders to tourism and few have reopened since. Sri Lanka will join the Maldives as certainly one of two locations within the area with open borders.
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