Sri Lanka Opens its Airports for Tourism in 2021

Like so many countries around the world, Sri Lanka’s economy relies heavily on its tourism industry. Before the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down the entire sector, tourism was booming, supplying as much as 12.5% of the country’s annual GDP.

Thanks to strict measures and careful planning, the government has decided to reopen its airports for international travellers. This news is welcomed not just by the tourism sector, but across the entire nation as the economy kickstarts back into gear. 

Now, just because this announcement has been made, it doesn’t mean that travellers can grab their backpacks and head to the airport today. Careful restrictions and measures have been developed to ensure that Sri Lankans, as well as the tourists who visit, are kept safe. Read on for more information about what those restrictions entail for anyone flying into Sri Lanka now.  

Flying into Sri Lankan Airports: Can I Travel Today?

Happily, Sri Lankan airports are beginning to accept international tourists again. Hopefully, other countries are not far behind. We could all use more heartwarming travel stories. 

The most important factors to consider now for people who are intent on travelling to Sri Lanka are how to act responsibly as a tourist. The most important thing is to always follow the most up to date local guidelines and to err on the side of caution. 

For anyone who can’t wait to check out what the island nation of Sri Lanka has to offer, the requirements for flying into Sri Lanka today are: 

  • A negative PCR test within the previous four days. This certificate must be in English and travellers should carry a hardcopy with them as proof
  • Travel insurance that goes up to $50,000 for any coronavirus related hospital stays
  • Hotel bookings for the first 14 days 

I Have all the Requirements: Am I Free to Roam?

We, traveloholics, have all been feeling that itch over the past year. The desire to get lost in an unknown city and feel the familiar rush that has us searching for the next destination even before we have left this one. However, even we have to curb our expectations and understand that it is a privilege to be able to travel at all. 

Once a traveller has been admitted into Sri Lanka, they must quarantine for the first two weeks of their stay. This must be with a designated “safe and secure” hotel.

There are currently over 50 hotels that can accept tourists. Since proof of hotel accommodation is a prerequisite for entering Sri Lanka, this should come as no surprise. What is crucial to remember is that travellers must remain in their hotels during those first 14 days unless they are visiting previously approved tourist sites. 

The thought process behind this is that these measures will ensure as little contact between locals and travellers. Fortunately, there are plenty of amazing tourist sites that are open. 

What About PCR Testing in Sri Lanka?

The coronavirus has taught us a lot about life. It has also brought with it some new lexicon into the English language. One of the most commonly used words (or abbreviations) is PCR, which is a Polymerase Chain Reaction test for the coronavirus. 

As mentioned above, travellers must show proof of a recent negative PCR test before they will be allowed into Sri Lanka. However, that is not the only PCR test they will be required to take before leaving the country. 

For any stay of seven days or fewer, each traveller must submit a minimum of two more PCRs, even if the first one comes back as negative. Also, for any stay of longer than seven days, up to two more PCR tests could be necessary, depending on the duration of the stay. 

It is critical to remember that each time a PCR is administered, it will be at the cost of the tourist and not the Sri Lankan health officials. These costs can add up and must be factored into any budget that travellers are creating in anticipation of a trip to Sri Lanka.  

Dreaming of Seeing Sri Lanka

It is super exciting to think about flying into Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo or Mattala International Airport (MRIA) in Hambantota or setting off to explore the jungles and beaches of Sri Lanka. It is important to remember that for the time being, travel won’t be exactly what it used to be. Hopefully, that will all change soon. 

Until that day, following the local health guidelines of your government officials, as well as the most updated regulations in Sri Lanka, will help ensure that everyone can stay. 

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