Sri Lankan tourism agency suggests reopening of airports for foreign visitors next year

Source: Xinhua| 2020-12-01 23:38:24|Editor: huaxia

COLOMBO, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairperson Kimarli Fernando has suggested the re-opening of the country's airports for international visitors from Jan. 1, 2021 under health guidelines, local media reported on Tuesday.

Fernando told the local Daily FT that a comprehensive set of guidelines for approval by health authorities has been submitted.

These guidelines include a minimum stay of 14 days for international visitors, with a confirmed itinerary which will be a mandatory section as part of the online visa process.

"During the first 14-day quarantine period visitors will be limited to Level 1 hotels and visas will only be granted for visitors with pre-booked and pre-paid booking in Level 1 hotels that are certified," Fernando said.

In the Level 1 accommodation, tourists are permitted to stay within the premises and move around only to isolated areas exclusively for the particular guest, family or group.

Tourists staying longer than 14 days are permitted to stay in Level 2 accommodation which will be KPMG Certified Safe and Secure accommodation and will be permitted to visit selected tourist sites accompanied by a registered tourist guide, the local daily reported.

The approved tourist sites will be available on the SLTDA website. Tourists staying longer than 28 days are free to book any type of accommodation registered with the SLTDA, Fernando said.

Long-stay travellers, dual passport holders or Sri Lankan passport holders travelling with international tourists in a group, resident permit holders, film tourism and sports tourism visa types will be considered according to the guidelines.

Fernando also said the SLTDA has proposed to issue visas for six months instead of the current one month and is awaiting cabinet approval while noting that the issuance of visas on-arrival are suspended until further notice.

Sri Lanka's international airports have been closed since March, following the detection of the first local COVID-19 patient and have been open only for repatriations.

The island country has since then detected over 23,000 cases and is presently facing its second wave with the Western Province which includes capital Colombo being the worst affected. Enditem