Can I travel to Sri Lanka?
Can I travel to Sri Lanka? It is a question that we are asked every day.
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. When you ask “can I have a holiday in Sri Lanka after Covid-19?” you deserve a proper answer. Below, we seek to give you all the information you need.
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 or adjust your holiday 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.
- Red Dot is 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.
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.
Sri Lanka reopened its borders to international tourists on 21st January 2021, with a series of protocols and guidelines in place to ensure the safety of both visitors and residents as tourism resumes. Whilst there are certain restrictions in place, every effort has been made to ensure that visitors can still have an enjoyable and safe experience in Sri Lanka.
The new tourist guidelines do not include a mandatory quarantine period, and providing the PCR test results are negative, you will be able to move between a variety of ‘Safe and Secure’ hotels (including boutique beach properties and private tea bungalows) and visit key tourist sites during your stay when travelling in a secure bio-bubble with one of our private chauffeur-guides. Tourists who have a negative result for their ‘exit’ PCR test on day 14 can move about freely without restrictions.
Travellers who are fully-vaccinated against Covid-19 (those who have had both doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine, with the last dose administered at least two weeks before travelling to Sri Lanka) have even greater freedoms, with just one PCR test conducted on arrival. Children aged between 2 and 18 years old who are not fully vaccinated but are accompanying fully-vaccinated adults must also take a follow-up PCR test on day 7. As long as the results of these tests are negative, fully-vaccinated travellers are free to explore the island as they wish.
For a comprehensive summary of the new guidelines for tourists, read this document or see below:
Travel restrictions in Sri Lanka
- Visa applications will need to be submitted online prior to arrival – you can no longer obtain a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka
- You will need to pay for your mandatory in-country PCR tests (1-2 tests depending on the length of your holiday, 40 USD per test) prior to your holiday, either through the Tourism Mobile App (when available) or through your sales consultant – we will advise you on and arrange all necessary tests
- You will need to have evidence of COVID-19 insurance cover for a minimum of one month to the value of at least 50,000 USD – this can be acquired via the Tourism Mobile App (when available) or organised through your sales consultant
- You will need to have proof of a negative PCR test, conducted no more than 96 hours prior to your outbound flight departure time, in order to board your outbound flight to Sri Lanka
- The first 1-14 days of your stay (one day for fully-vaccinated travellers, 14 days for non-vaccinated travellers) should be pre-confirmed prior to your arrival in Sri Lanka, with your accommodation for this initial period restricted to hotels that have been certified as level 1 ‘Safe & Secure’
- Tourists can arrive into Sri Lanka via scheduled and chartered flights and by private jet
- All inbound flights to Sri Lanka are required to adhere to the health protocols set out by the Civil Aviation Authority
- The number of visitors allowed to arrive into Sri Lanka each day will be determined by the testing capacity of the private laboratories that have been set aside for tourist PCR testing
- You will need to complete a health declaration form before boarding your flight to Sri Lanka
During your stay:
If you have had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine:
- You will need to present the original copy of your vaccination certificates / cards, with a certified English language translation if the documents are not written in English, to the Airport Health Officer upon arrival in Sri Lanka and at your first hotel when waiting for the result of your on-arrival PCR test
- You will need to take a PCR test on arrival – if this is negative, you are free to move around the island as you wish, subject only to a follow-up PCR test on day 7. Please note that once you leave the level 1 ‘Safe and Secure’ hotel system, you cannot stay in any more level 1 ‘Safe and Secure’ hotels during the rest of your holiday
- Children aged two years old or above who are accompanying fully-vaccinated adults must also take a PCR test on arrival. If the result of this test is negative and their travel companions do not test positive for Covid-19, then children will be exempt from the day 7 PCR test
- Children younger than 2 years old who are accompanying fully-vaccinated adults will not be subject to an on-arrival PCR test unless someone they are travelling with gets a positive result for their on-arrival PCR test
If you have not had both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine:
- You will need to take two PCR tests during your stay in Sri Lanka, with one test conducted on arrival and another either 1-2 days prior to departure or on day 14 (applicable to holidays of more than two weeks in length)
- If your on-arrival PCR test result is negative, you will be able to stay in multiple level 1 ‘Safe & Secure’ hotels and visit key tourist sites for the first 14 nights of your stay, subject to traveling under a secure bio-bubble with one of our private chauffeur-guides and with all stops (such as meals, bathroom breaks etc.) having been pre-confirmed before travel
- For holidays of more than two weeks in length, if the day 14 exit PCR test is also negative, you will be allowed to leave your level 1 ‘Safe and Secure’ hotel and are then free to explore Sri Lanka as you wish
- Children aged 2 years old or above are required to do all mandatory PCR tests
- Children younger than 2 years old who are accompanying non-fully-vaccinated travellers are exempt from all PCR tests unless someone they are traveling with gets a positive result for a PCR test
- If you are staying in Sri Lanka for less than 96 hours, you only need to take a PCR test on arrival
Applicable to vaccinated and non-vaccinated travellers:
- Your transport should be organised by a certified travel agent and should be completely private, with no mixing of groups during your journeys
- Should you test positive for Covid-19 during your stay, you will either be isolated in a care centre (asymptomatic cases) or transferred to a private hospital (those with symptoms)
- All hotels will have thorough health & safety protocols in place, but guests who have negative PCR test results will be able to use the common areas (such as the swimming pool) as usual
- Domestic flights are permitted, subject to strict health & safety protocols
Red Dot’s Health & Safety Measures
In addition to the protocols put in place by the Sri Lankan government, 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 follow the most up-to-date government health & safety guidelines
- 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:
- Our sales team will advise you of any tourism guidelines relating to accommodation
- Our sales team will have up-to-date knowledge of all hotels that have been certified as ‘Safe and Secure’ and will help you choose the best options for your holiday
- Our FlexiBook policy means that you can adjust and / or cancel your trip up to seven days before travel with a no-questions-asked 100% refund
During your holiday:
- You will be required to sign a health & safety declaration form on arrival
- 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
Check the list of Safe and Secure Hotels provided by the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Association.
- 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 may be provided with gloves prior to participating in an experience – 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 that occur 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)
- All employees should conduct virtual meetings instead of physical meetings where possible
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.