Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Kimarli Fernando said Sri Lanka does not require a minimum number of days to stay in Sri Lanka within the ‘Bio Bubbles’ introduced by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB).
While participating in the virtual ‘Hello Again – Sri Lanka tourism awareness session’ to announce the re-opening of Sri Lanka for international tourists from the 21 January, she said Sri Lanka is “safe and exciting even during the pandemic”.
“While staying in a secure level 1 hotel recognzed by Sri Lanka Tourism, or multiple hotels if needed within the ‘Bio Bubble’, they could use all the facilities of the hotels including SPA, the pool and the restaurants and visit tourist sites within the bubble. These level 1 hotels which have been certified by KPMG, as well as Ernst & Young, provide accommodation exclusively for international tourists. After an initial 14 days of the stay within the ‘Bio Bubble’, travelers will be able to exit from it at any time subject to having a negative PCR test, and be able to interact with the local community. The tourists are required to undergo several PCR tests during their stay, and medical insurance with a premium of 12 Dollars covered all the expenses related to transportation and ICU facility in the event of any difficulty,” she said.
The event was organized by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington D.C., with assistance from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Sri Lankan Airlines GSA office in the U.S., and attracted more than 60 tour and travel partners and media personal, including Expedia and Priceline.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Ravinatha Aryasinha has observed that the credibility Sri Lanka Tourism earned in caring for the tourists who made lengthy extensions of their stay in the country at the time COVID broke out, and Sri Lankan Airlines being one of the few carriers that continued to fly when most commercial airline fleets were grounded, should give confidence for international travelers to visit the island once again, now that travel for tourists has resumed.
Ambassador Aryasinha noted that prior to COVID curtailed global travel, tourist arrivals from the US had grown by 260% from 2010 to 2019, an annual average growth well over 20%, making the US one of the fastest-growing tourist arrival countries, which mainly drew niche tourists visiting and also staying longer.