In the wake of Covid-19, many of you will be as eager as ever to plan your next trip. There is a big world out there and you want to see it.
Some of you will be more wary.
Assessing the risk of Coronavirus on your holiday to Sri Lanka will mean different things to different people.
All of you have a right to expect new safety standards and precautions from airlines, drivers, guides and hoteliers.
You will want to know the answer to the question “Is Sri Lanka safe?”
Red Dot has a simple commitment: caring for your health and safety will be at the heart of everything we do.
- Our safety measures outlined below will be designed so you can enjoy your holiday with confidence.
- Our FlexiBook scheme will enable you to cancel up to seven days before travel with a no-questions-asked 100% refund.
- We will never lose sight of our overriding aim – to deliver memorable, fairly-priced, tailor-made holidays for all.
On 19th November, Sri Lanka was added to the U.K.’s list of travel corridors which means that there is no mandatory quarantine for U.K. residents when they return from their Sri Lanka holiday.
This recognises that Sri Lanka has been let off relatively lightly as the world adjusts to a global pandemic. And a well-established and warm-hearted tourism industry makes this tropical escape ideally placed to look after your needs.
Red Dot is also a company you can trust. Our high customer service levels come from 20 years of experience. We have responded professionally to terrorism, tsunamis and global financial crashes.
We have carried out a detailed examination of our procedures in all areas of the company to look after our holidaymakers, to protect our staff and to champion best practice from all our providers, including drivers, property owners and activity organisers. You can find an overview of our proposed health and safety measures below.
Based on an independent evaluation conducted by KPMG Sri Lanka, our ground operator 'The Fabulous Getaway' was amongst the first Sri Lanka Destination Management Companies to receive a 'Safe and Secure' certificate from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). This ‘Safe and Secure’ certificate signifies that the company has put in place appropriate health & safety protocols to safeguard clients against Covid-19 during their holiday in Sri Lanka. Holidays in Sri Lanka can now only be operated by travel companies with this accreditation.
Click here to download our Safe and Secure certificate
Whilst we encourage best practice from all of our providers and are committed to upholding the highest standards of health and safety for your Sri Lanka holiday, we will also be flexible whenever we can towards YOUR personal wishes.
Prior to arriving in Sri Lanka:
- You are encouraged to make an informed decision about your holiday with respect to your own and others’ wellbeing by staying abreast of the latest COVID-19-related information for Sri Lanka, using reliable sources such as the World Health Organisation and the travel advisories of your own and / or the Sri Lankan government
- Our travel consultants will provide up-to-date information about the prevailing COVID-19 climate in Sri Lanka and any applicable government health and safety regulations for tourists
- We are endeavouring to strengthen pre-arrival communication with all partners (e.g. hotels) to reduce wait times during the tour, ensuring faster check-ins and securing advance ticket purchases to sites and experiences where possible
During your holiday:
- A dedicated Airport Representative will be present on arrival to introduce you to your chauffeur / chauffeur-guide / guide
- You will be welcomed by a traditional ‘Ayubowan’ greeting (both palms pressed together) instead of a handshake at all applicable points
- You will be encouraged to practice a minimum 1.5-metre physical distance between yourself and others
- You will be discouraged from engaging with large gatherings, festivals and celebrations
- You will be encouraged to wear a face-mask at all appropriate times
- You will be discouraged from engaging in group photography with external parties
- You will be required to adhere to applicable government health & safety regulations at all times
Chauffeurs / chauffeur-guides / guides
Prior to the beginning of the tour:
- They will undergo training on COVID-19 risk prevention and management
- They will be briefed on existing regulations and emergency protocols
- They will undergo a PCR test no more than 48 hours prior to the commencement of the tour
- In the event that they test positive for or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, they will not be allowed to participate in the tour
- They will equip the tour vehicle with hand sanitizer, gloves, masks and waste disposal bags, and sanitize all touch points regularly
During the tour:
- They will regularly sanitize all touch-points of the tour vehicle
- They will practice a hand and face sanitization ritual frequently
- They will be encouraged to wear a face-mask at all times
- They will be encouraged to dine and sleep in isolation rather than in shared accommodation
- They will be encouraged to avoid comfort stops and restaurants which do not follow approved health & safety regulations
- They will discourage you from engaging in group photography with external parties
- They will be encouraged to avoid consuming alcohol and/or tobacco during the tour
Prior to arrival:
- All hotels will be required to implement the new health & safety measures imposed by the Sri Lankan government, which cover everything from staff training on risk prevention and management to new daily protocols such as staff wearing face-masks at all times, staff and travellers undergoing frequent temperature checks and a more frequent cleaning of all areas of the property
During your holiday:
- You will be required to sign a health & safety declaration form on arrival
- Temperature checks for all travellers / visitors will be conducted on arrival and then on a daily basis by the hotel
- You are encouraged to adhere to the protocols put in place at all hotels
- Hotels will be encouraged to prepare specific check-out slots for all travellers at least an hour prior to the latest check-out time
- You will be encouraged to adhere to the protocols in place at all sites and activity centres
- You and the experience host(s) must wear a face-mask during an experience / activity, especially during visits to plantations (e.g. tea or spice estates) and when interacting with rural communities
- You will be provided with gloves prior to participating in an experience, and these gloves will be disposed of responsibly prior to you re-entering the tour vehicle
- Experience hosts may alter the route of an experience / activity to avoid large gatherings
- Special transportation for the experience, such as jeeps and boats, will be sanitized before and after each experience and equipped with hand sanitizers, disposable masks and gloves
- You will have access to a dedicated 24-hour customer care hotline during your tour
- You will have a check-in call from our Customer Care team throughout the course of your tour
- You will be informed of any changes in government or TFG health & safety regulations whilst you are on tour
- We will monitor the health and wellbeing of you and your chauffeur / chauffeur-guide / guide regularly throughout the tour
Safety of our Employees
Most of our employees have moved to a work-from-home model, but when they are in the office all employees are required to adhere to WHO and governmental instructions regarding workplace safety:
- Prior to entering the office, employees and visitors will have their temperature checked
- Prior to entering the office, employees and visitors must use hand-sanitizer and hand / foot-washing stations
- All shared office spaces will be regularly disinfected by cleaning staff throughout the course of the day
- All employees and visitors must wear a face-mask at all times
- All employees and visitors must maintain a minimum 1.5 metre physical distance with others
- All employees should sanitize their hands and equipment (e.g. laptop / mobile phone) regularly
- All employees should conduct virtual meetings instead of physical meetings where possible
Sri Lanka Tourism safeguards
Sri Lanka Tourism have not yet set a date for the reopening of the country’s airports to tourists or officially announced their revised guidelines for Sri Lanka tours, but below is an overview of their initial intended measures, proposed in June 2020, to safeguard tourists against Covid-19 during their Sri Lanka holiday.
Under the plans, all travellers will require a valid visa; this will be issued for 30 days and extendable for up to 6 months after arrival. Apply for an online visa here. Further relaxation for long stay guests is currently under consideration, enabling tourist to be granted five-year multiple entry visas with maximum 6 months stay. Visa fee US$100.
Pre-departure Covid-19 PCR testing: A negative PCR test is required prior to boarding your flight and on arrival in Sri Lanka. The test should be no older than 72 hours prior to boarding.
On-arrival Covid-19 PCR testing: A free PCR test will be carried out on arrival at the airport. No charge. Plans are to have results within 4-6 hours by August.
Subsequent Covid-19 PCR testing: A further test will be carried out 4-5 days after arrival by a mobile unit in co-ordination with accommodation providers and Red Dot. Travellers staying for more than 10 days will be required to take a third test during their stay. In case of a positive PCR result, quarantine in a designated hotel or hospitalisation will take place depending on the details of the case. Quarantine would usually be 14 to 21 days if symptoms are detected. (See below for Can I get Covid-19 travel insurance?)
The Sri Lankan government has not yet released the new regulations for site visits and national parks – as soon as we receive this information, we will update you and plan accordingly
More information from Sri Lanka Tourism here
Is Sri Lanka safe?
Nowhere can claim to be entirely safe from the effects of a global pandemic, but Sri Lanka should be regarded as one of the safer holiday destinations:
- Low number of coronavirus cases: There have been comparatively few cases of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka.
- Proactive government regulations: From quickly imposing an island-wide curfew to producing detailed guidelines for hotels, restaurants and transport resuming operations post-lockdown, the Sri Lankan government have been proactive in putting in place effective policies to help limit the spread of the virus from as early as January 2020. On 10th August, Sri Lanka received the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council in recognition of the comprehensive health and safety measures the government has proposed to safeguard tourists during their holiday.
- Private chauffeur-guides for tours: Unlike other destinations around the world, when travelling around Sri Lanka you can use the same vehicle and chauffeur-guide throughout the tour rather than multiple separate transfers or public transport, and you are not required to take any internal flights. This dramatically reduces your contact with others.
- An abundance of small boutiques and villas: You can easily avoid encountering other travellers by staying at some of the many small boutique hotels and private villas scattered around the island. There are high-standard options to suit all price ranges and tastes.
- Sri Lanka is largely uncluttered: Despite enjoying several years of being ranked amongst the top holiday hotspots in the world, Sri Lanka remains largely uncluttered and it is easy to escape the tourist trail should you wish to. Our talented team of trip designers can make recommendations for the best off-the-beaten-track itineraries, beaches, rural retreats and experiences.
Can I get Covid-19 travel insurance?
Travel insurance cover for contracting coronavirus while on holiday is now a possibility with Staysure and Saga among the first companies to offer this option. We are sure other providers will adjust to the new normal and follow suit. It will ensure that Britons travelling overseas are covered for emergency medical and repatriation expenses if infected with the virus. The Staysure cover will only apply to trips taken to countries that the British Government has said are safe to visit.
Talk to us today about any aspect of your holiday in Sri Lanka. Discover the island with a little bit of everything.