Govt. eases entry rules for vaccinated tourists, THASL welcomes move

The Government yesterday eased entry rules for vaccinated tourists, a move widely hailed by the industry.

From 1 October, fully vaccinated passengers arriving who were tested negative at the time of departure, will not be required to do another PCR test at the airport on arrival but be allowed to enter without a hassle. Such passengers should be travelling after 14 days of the second dose and board a flight within 72 hours.

However, those not vaccinated will be required to undergo a 14-day hotel or home quarantine.

The Health Ministry has issued a revised comprehensive guideline to be followed by all stakeholders.

The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), in a statement, yesterday welcomed the decision by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Tourism to remove quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers to Sri Lanka.

THASL noted that these measures were in line with emerging best practices and would contribute towards a revival of Sri Lanka’s crisis-stricken tourism industry.

For the last 18 months, Sri Lanka has observed strict quarantine measures for travellers and a series of lockdowns to control the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures have been extremely hard-hitting for the tourism industry. Hotels and nearly three million dependents have suffered immensely due to the twin crises of the Easter Sunday Attacks and COVID-19.

In the statement, THASL said it was grateful for the sacrifices made, especially by medical professionals and the armed forces, in ensuring that all Sri Lankans were protected and cared for during the most challenging crisis in modern history.

“We are glad that members of our association were able to contribute towards the national effort in mitigating the crisis by opening up hotels as intermediate care centres. With nearly 80% of everyone above 20 years being fully vaccinated, THASL believes that Sri Lanka is ready to once again open her borders to the vaccinated travellers of this world and re-start tourism,” THASL stated, adding, “We look forward to a year where things will start returning to normal and the world will come together again.”