Sri Lanka to Reopen to Tourism as Covid-19 Restrictions Eased

High testing rates and effective lockdown measures have helped to minimize the effect of the coronavirus in Sri Lanka.

With the situation considered under control, the government of Sri Lanka announced that the nationwide curfew which had been in place since March 22, was to come to an end on May 11th.

With life gradually returning to normal, the government is now looking towards reopening to tourists, some visas for Sri Lanka will be issued as early as June. Sri Lanka is one of just a handful of countries that is in a position to welcome foreigners back in the next few months.

Lockdown Has Been Lifted in Sri Lanka

As the world responded to the coronavirus outbreak, the government of Sri Lanka imposed restrictions on movement and travel.

For 49 days the Sri Lanka public was only permitted to leave their homes for essential items such as food and medical supplies, and visas were suspended.

Officials are hopeful that these actions have successfully curbed the spread of the disease with few new cases being reported daily.

Since May 11th, people in Sri Lanka have been allowed to leave their homes to go to work as public and private sector businesses have been reopened.

People have been advised to remain vigilant and continue to take precautionary measures such as frequently washing hands and maintaining social distancing where possible.

A decision on whether to open schools again is expected shortly.

Visas to Be Granted to Some Foreigners from June

Foreigners hoping for a summer getaway will be encouraged by the news that Sri Lanka plans to welcome some visitors back from June.

A senior tourism ministry official was quoted in a local newspaper as saying that initially small groups of tourists would be granted entry.

A series of measures will be in place to ensure the safety of the travelers

To limit the possibility of further coronavirus outbreaks tourists in Sri Lanka will be required to:

  • Stay in approved 5-star hotels only which have implemented specific protocols
  • Carry a certificate which declared them to be coronavirus-free, issued by either their government or a reputable agency
  • Be tested for Covid-19 on arrival at the airport

Bandaranaike International Airport and Mattala International Airport will be partially reopened and testing facilities set up to screen foreign arrivals. It is also expected that local private hospitals will offer medical assistance to tourists, should they require it during their stay.

At this moment in time, individuals cannot travel to Sri Lanka and details are yet to be released regarding the number of people to be permitted in one group.

It is hoped that this gradual reintroduction of international visitors to the country will allow tourist activity to resume without compromising health.

How to apply for a visa for Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka visa suspension is set to be partially lifted in the coming weeks. It is not yet clear who will be granted a visa during this initial period and how it can be obtained.

Tourism makes a significant contribution to the economy of Sri Lanka and for this reason, the government will be aiming to return to normality as soon as possible, with peak season beginning in November.

Where will tourists in Sri Lanka be able to visit?

Tourists will be able to visit a selection of areas that can offer larger open spaces and are therefore less at risk of crowding. Some of the countries most popular spots likely to make the list are:

  • Yala National Park
  • Arugam Bay
  • Trincomalee
  • A number of beaches

Daily temperature monitoring will allow tourists to enjoy their stay with greater peace of mind.

General Travel Restrictions for Sri Lanka

Under normal conditions, eligible international travelers should apply for an ETA for Sri Lanka online in advance.

The Electronic Travel Authorization is a digital document required to visit the island state for tourism, business, or transit. Foreign nationals with an ETA can stay in Sri Lanka for up to 30 days.

Check the requirements for the ETA for Sri Lanka to see which nationalities are eligible.

There are stricter entry restrictions for nationals of certain countries, who must visit a Sri Lankan diplomatic mission to apply for a traditional consular visa.

Customs Restrictions for Sri Lanka

When traveling to Sri Lanka, there are restrictions on certain items, such as alcohol, firearms, jewelry, animals, and plants.

Some items, such as tobacco products and narcotics, are banned outright and may not be brought into the country, according to Sri Lanka customs requirements.

Related News