A globe-trotters guide to travelling to Sri Lanka during a pandemic
While you will be soon welcome to visit Sri Lanka from the start of September, there are few things you would need to be ahead of to make sure your travel into the country is safe and will not run the risk of catching the infection.
The onset of the novel coronavirus has most certainly changed our lifestyles including the way we travel. Gone are the days when you could pack your suitcase and head to Sri Lanka for a short visit! The pandemic has a larger say on your travel plans meticulous planning, a lot of paperwork and medical tests make up a huge part of it, but it does not mean you can’t enjoy a great vacation. The mantra is to be responsible. These tips here would help you plan a safe trip to Sri Lanka.
Get your visa before arrival
Until the Covid19 pandemic broke out, you could get a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka. The country has suspended “Visa Free” status and the issuance of “On Arrival” currently.
You need to get a visa for Sri Lanka in advance before your visit. The visa fee is at USD 100, which is slightly higher than the USD 30 you had to pay earlier.
You can apply throughhttp://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/
Before applying for the visa, make sure you have the following documents with you:
- A valid travel insurance with health and hospitalization coverage for the entire duration of stay.
- A valid return air ticket.
- Travel itinerary and details of confirmed reservations made at SLTDA ( Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority) registered and ‘Safe & Secure’ certified accommodation establishments. Your stay on the first night in Sri Lanka need to be at a facility in and around Colombo/ Negombo or Hambantota depending on the arrival airport.
Preparing for your trip to Sri Lanka
Before you catch your flight for Sri Lanka, see to it that you are prepared for the trip. Travelling during a global pandemic outbreak will need you to be more responsible, both for your health and that of individuals you will encounter throughout your travel.
- You will be allowed to board your flight to Sri Lanka, only after the airline officials have checked you for valid visas and negative PCR test reports, in addition to the boarding pass and the passport. Hence make sure that you have a medical report indicating you have been tested Negative for Covid-19 which has been issued by an accredited laboratory 72 hours before arriving in Sri Lanka.
- You will be required to stay at SLTDA registered hotels which are accredited ‘Safe & Secure’ to ensure your well-being. Make sure to book your accommodation, in advance.
- Make sure you have travel insurance that covers the cost of any medical and health emergency before you begin your vacation.
- At all times during your travel, make sure that you are taking all the necessary precautionary measures.
- Make sure to carry adequate masks and alcohol-based sanitizers. These need to be changed every 4-6 hours. Face masks will be available for purchase at the airport too, should you run out of stocks.
- It is recommended that you wear closed footwear and make sure that they are free from dirt. Whenever possible, sanitize them with 70% alcohol-based solutions as an additional preventive measure.
Airport conduct during a pandemic
Sri Lanka has been lauded for its prompt response in handling the spread of Covid19 withing the country. However, as the island opens up for tourists, the country will introduce even stronger measures to ensure the safety and good health of all guests arriving in the country. Here is what to expect at the airport.
- Once you arrive in Sri Lanka, you will have to fill the Health Declaration Form (HDF) of Sri Lanka and submit it at the health counters at the airport.
- You will be required to undergo a temperature screening through thermal scanners. If you happen to have a temperature of 37.4oC or above, you will be requested by the health officials at the airport to undergo a medical examination
- Keep your travel documents including your PCR report, travel insurance, travel/stay details, health counter clearance note and tourists’ handy. These will be requested by the officer at the immigration counter to process your details and allow your entry into the country.
- After completing immigration procedures, you will be required to take a mandatory PCR testing at the sample collection facility inside the airport.
- Your luggage will be disinfected before they are sent on the conveyor belt. Wait at a safe distance of at least 1.5 metres from the collection point, until you spot your bag.
- If you are making a stop at the duty-free shops you make sure you don’t touch any of the items on sale. Wait for the staff to assist you in making your purchases.
Covid testing during your stay
The PCR test taken at the airport will not be the one have to take. There are a few more that you will have to undergo during your stay.
Currently, with no vaccine in sight, the best way to manage the increase of the spread of the pandemic has been to reduce the number of possible infections. Hence, as a tourist visiting Sri Lanka, you would be required to undergo a medical examination at several stages during your stay:
- You will be tested for Covid-19 at several intervals once you arrive in Sri Lanka.
- A repeat PCR test will be conducted 5-7 days after the arrival or if you develop any respiratory issues.
- All tourists who are staying for longer than 10 days will be required to take a Covid-19 test between 10-12 days after landing in Sri Lanka.
These tests will be conducted free of charge. In case, you are tested for COVID-19, you would be required to undergo quarantine either in a hospital or at a quarantine hotel, and your stay in these establishments will be charged at the rate of USD 100 per night.
Other helpful tips
While you are on your trip, think of all the possible ways in which you can prevent the spread of Covid-19. What can you do besides wearing surgical masks and making sure your hands are sanitized before and after making contact with any person? Here are a few tips to get you started on being a little more helpful:
- Greet any person you meet with the traditional folded hands and say
You inadvertently wish them a long life while maintaining the necessary distance from them.
- Opt for self-checkouts, cashless or contact-less payments to speed up the payment process and also reduce cash-handling.
- Once the contact tracing app is available in Sri Lanka, make sure to install it on your phone.
We hope you will have a wonderful vacation in Sri Lanka. Do check out the car rental options with Kings Rent a Car, if you need a safe and sanitized ride for your island vacation.