Sri Lanka Ready to Welcome Travellers

Advertisement

All cultural and recreational sites in Sri Lanka are now open and tourists can access any part of the country with ease … A special report by Asian Lite News

An emerald isle perched in the azure waters of the Indian Ocean which has entranced explorers, adventurers and merchants over thousands of years is now fully open and ready to welcome travellers from around the world.

The Conde Nast 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards last month ranked the island among ‘The Best Countries to Travel to’ right now – reflecting the eagerness of tourists to flock to the island.

All cultural and recreational sites in Sri Lanka are now open and tourists can access any part of the country with ease. As a result of a steady decline in COVID-19 infections in Sri Lanka due to the efficient vaccine drive carried out where 68% of Sri Lanka’s 21.9 million total population are fully vaccinated, the Robert Koch Institute has removed Sri Lanka from its list of high-risk countries, thus paving the way for tourists to holiday in the island with the upcoming winter season being the ideal time to visit the island destination.

With no minimum duration of stay, travellers can apply for tourist visa online at www.eta.gov.lk. Tourists who have completed 14 days after the recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccination and arrive in Sri Lanka with a negative COVID-19 PCR Report within 72 hours of embarkation will be considered as fully vaccinated. Any vaccination type is accepted by Sri Lankan authorities. Moreover, fully vaccinated travellers are exempted from obtaining the mandatory COVID-19 Local Insurance cover. However, travellers should ensure that they have a comprehensive travel insurance that will cover health and other expenses related to COVID-19.  

Fully vaccinated travellers if accompanied by not-vaccinated/not-fully vaccinated children of 12-18 years, pay for on-arrival PCR test at USD 40 per test. Travelers can pay for PCR test at the Ministry of Health approved laboratory established at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) or any other MOH approved laboratory.

Also, travellers can visit www.visitsrilanka.gov.lk to pay in advance. Unvaccinated children below the age of 12 are allowed entry into the country with no PCR test on arrival. Travellers who have not received COVID-19 vaccination, nor completed the recommended doses of vaccination (not-fully vaccinated) and/or departed from abroad within less than 2 weeks of completion of recommended doses of vaccination will be considered as not-vaccinated or not-fully-vaccinated travellers will also be permitted to travel in Sri Lanka within the safety of the Tourism Bio Bubble.

Mr Prasanna Ranatunga, Tourism Minister, Sri Lanka

COVID-19 recovered travellers who are vaccinated, but not yet completed 2 weeks from the recommended doses of vaccination (not-fully vaccinated) can also visit under the safety of the Tourism Bio-Bubble and will be entitled for a shorter, flexible bio-bubble period at “Safe & Secure Certified L1’’ hotel/s.  More information on the protocol to be followed by the two traveller segments can be found on helloagain (srilanka.travel)

Despite its compact size, Sri Lanka boasts of one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world – whether in plants or animals – and is included among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. Teeming with wildlife parks and the surrounding ocean being home to large families of cetaceans including the mighty blue whales, sperm whales and playful dolphins – the island is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Sri Lanka has one of the richest diversity of amphibians in the world, containing over 106 species of amphibians of over 90 of which are endemic – offering the highest amphibian species density in the world with a high concentration in the Sinharaja rainforest. The destination understands the importance of protecting the natural resources the Island has been blessed with and Sri Lanka Tourism has implemental many initiatives in line with its goal of developing Sri Lanka as a sustainable destination.

The endless expanse of beaches and miles and miles of coastline attract many tourists to bask under its tropical sun. Other than taking a dip in the oceans or snorkelling, scuba diving and surfing are the most popular beach sports in the country. Today, the oceans filled with coral gardens, multitude of exotic fish and ancient wrecks offer one of the best diving experiences in the world.

The sea around Sri Lanka is also one of the most challenging marine game fishing locations while white water rafting, kayaking and canoeing are some of the relatively new water sports practiced in the country. With a multitude of roads winding through expanding mountains, lush green forests, paddy fields, parks and sleepy villages, Sri Lanka also offers many opportunities to keen hikers and trekkers.

Recognised as one of the World’s Top Wellness Destinations in 2021 by the Global Wellness Institute, Sri Lanka is the perfect wellness destination getaway.  With its Ayurveda and yoga traditions, rich heritage and culture, authentic and distinctive cuisine, warm and hospitable people, abundant flora and fauna and a multitude of water-based activities the island is ideally positioned to welcome the wellness seeker.

Ms. Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB)

 It is evident that wellness has evolved beyond yoga retreats and spa treatments, wellness now is anything that brings balance to ones being, be it a walk through a forest, swimming with giant turtles, plucking your own tea or learning to make authentic local cuisine. Wellness is now considered largely experiential, and the Sri Lankan Tourism product is positioned perfectly to curate authentic wellness experiences with the ability to differentiate the offering from regional rivals.

Highlighted by CNN , BBC and Forbes for as a destination not to be missed, Post Covid travellers looking for places to explore and re-connect with themselves and nature would find Sri Lanka ideal. Blessed with abundant flora and fauna, wildlife, serene beaches, friendly people, amazing food and authentic experiences will offer everything and more to the traveller seeking peace and a sense of freedom. The Island has emerged as a destination where travellers have a desire to look beyond the superficial elements and explore more the authentic experience-driven route. The Island is open and eager to welcome back visitors and the easing of entry protocols makes it the perfect escape. The Island is an experiential treasure trove, waiting to be re-discovered.

READ MORE: Another boost for Lankan tourism

READ MORE: Lanka beefs up efforts to revive tourism