Sri Lanka targets 1.5 million tourist arrivals this year as the government plans to re-open the country’s airports to travelers within the month with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines in place, according to local media reports.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga announced that all airports will be opened for commercial flights and international tourists from 23rd of this month onwards.
He said that all incoming tourists will be subject to PCR tests, 14-day minimum stay, and will have to stay in predetermined travel bubble areas and in 131 certified hotels by Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority (SLTDA).
The final guidelines for the tourists and hotels are expected to be issued within this week.
The Government has identified 14 tourist attraction sites exclusive for visiting tourists which include; Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Yala National Park, Udawalawe National Park Safari, Eth Athuru Sewana, Kaudulla National Park, Mirissa Whale Watching, Pinnawala Open Zoo, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sigiriya Fortress, Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and Golden Temple, Royal Botanic Garden in Peradeniya, Laksala Kandy and Pinnawala branches.
Sri Lanka estimated to have attracted a little over 500,000 in 2020 , down from 1.9 arrivals in 2019 as the country closed down the airports for incoming tourists in mid-March last year to contain the spread of the COVId-19 pandemic.