Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau sets up a “Safe and Secure” bubble

Published on : Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has set up a “Safe and Secure” bubble, directing pre-departure PCR tests for tourists.

Sri Lanka has finally reopened its borders for foreign tourists after being shut down for over ten months, in a bid to revive its pandemic-hit tourism sector.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has restricted the stay of tourists in selected high-end hotels and beach resorts, allowing right of entry to select tourist spots, and limiting visitors from mixing with the local community.

Sri Lanka Tourism said in a statement, “The only requirement put in place for the safety of the traveler, tourism stakeholders and Sri Lankan community is the need for the travelers to stay at a ‘Safe and Secure’ certified, Level 1 hotel or hotels in the initial 14 days of their stay.”

Sri Lanka witnessed the first COVID-19 case when a local tourist operator tested positive in March 2020. Even though the public health authorities with the support of the military could curb the first wave efficiently, the second wave breaking out in early October still endures, taking the number of cases from around 4,000 then to 55,189 as of Thursday. Fatality rates have also gone up more than ten times in the last four months to 274. More recently, health authorities have cited the new, “U.K.-variant” of the virus.

In the meantime, Sri Lanka is yet to start its vaccine rollout. Colombo is expecting supply from different sources including India to arrive in about two weeks. India is among Sri Lanka’s top tourist source markets and the possibility of establishing a tourism bubble for the neighbors was discussed when External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visited Colombo earlier this month.

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