After a 10 month pandemic closure, Sri Lanka has reopened to welcome foreign tourists. On Thursday, the restrictions were dissolved and operations resumed completely at the island’s two international airports that bring the commercial flights.
New protocols have been listed to prevent the spread of the virus. Tourists will be tested for the virus in their respective countries 72 hours before they board their flights. Then when they arrive in the hotel and seven days after it too.
The tourists will need to stay in a ‘travel bubble’ i.e. in designated spaces consisting of 14 tourism zones. They will not be able to mix with the local population. 180 hotels have been recognised as tourist accommodations. The pilot project of the tourism resumption began on december 26th, 2020. 1500 tourists from Ukraine had visited Sri Lanka under the same created ‘travel bubble’.
Sri Lanka had fewer than 4,000 cases of coronavirus infection until October and by this Thursday 55,000 cases with 274 fatalities were confirmed. In March, 2020 the government imposed restrictions on the flights. The country was locked down after the pandemic hit the world. International airports were closed for tourists. Only Sri Lankans living away from home could use the flight services to come back to their home country.
Tourism industry contributes hugely to the economy of Srilanka making it a vital economic sector. It employs more than 2,50,000 people directly and upto 3 million are employed indirectly. Income losses were faced by hotels, and other hospitality businesses.