Colombo: Sri Lanka will provide international visitors with the highest standards of safety when its airports re-open from August 1 following the containment of COVID-19, the Tourism Ministry said on Sunday.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has put in place all precautions recommended by global health and travel authorities to re-open the country to tourists as Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and RatmalanaInternational Airport (RIA) as well as Hambantota's Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), reports Xinhua news agency.
However, the issuance of visas will be only online and must be applied for prior to travel, the Ministry said in a statement.
All passengers will have to have a negative PCR test report from an accredited laboratory taken within 72 hours prior to landing in Sri Lanka and a confirmed travel itinerary covering at least five nights at certified accommodations.
A valid return air ticket and travel insurance with health and hospitalization cover will also have to be issued upon arrival in the island country.
"Tourists will not have to undergo quarantine procedures. A mandatory health screening and sanitizing process including a PCR test will be conducted at arrival airports free of charge for tourists, and all travellers will be transferred through pre-booked transportation to designated hotels in close proximity to the airport, to await their PCR test results which would be expected within 24 hours," the statement said.
The Ministry will conduct further PCR tests free of charge, for any tourists staying longer than five nights.
"Sri Lanka has been highly successful in its efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 and has proven that the country is not just the world's number one travel destination, but also a destination with an excellent health care system.
"As of May 20, Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health declared zero community transmission for over three weeks," the statement said.
Sri Lanka shut its international airports in March for all passenger arrivals to prevent a further spread of the COVID-19 but said passenger departures would continue.
The country has so far detected over 1,800 COVID-19 patients with 11 deaths.