- Working with Foreign Ministry, especially UK, to develop travel with no quarantine
- Focus on developing all-encompassing COVID-19 protocol with Health Ministry
- SLT also looking at special COVID-19 insurance to cover foreign travellers
Sri Lanka Tourism said yesterday it is working closely with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to be included in developing travel corridors for travel with no quarantine overseas, for returning tourists or visiting Sri
“We are working closely with our Ambassador in the UK and other Ambassadors who are talking to the relevant governments. We are also in regular contact with the UK Ambassador Sarah Hulton.
Since the date of Colombo Airport (Bandaranaike International Airport) opening isn’t known, that can be a constraint to getting on safe travel lists, which also factor in reciprocity,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said. Sri Lanka Tourism is also working closely with the Ministry of Health on a detailed protocol on resuming international tourism in Sri Lanka in a COVID-19 safe environment.
“This is an all-encompassing protocol, going beyond just the certification of the accommodation sector,” stated Fernando, saying that it is in the final stages. Once approved, it would provide further comfort to other governments, as it covers all touch points of international visitors to the country.
She also stated that Sri Lanka Tourism is in discussion to provide insurance policies specifically to cover international guests for COVID-19 related risks.
The UK High Commission in Colombo said last week the UK has announced a change to its Global Travel Advisory, which advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.
It said from 4 July, the UK will exempt 67 countries from the Global Travel Advisory. The UK is also making some changes to border control health measures for travellers arriving from some designated counties.
The process for considering changes to Travel Advice takes into account a wide range of factors, including the entry requirements of that country, the availability of transport options and quarantine requirements.
“Sri Lanka has not been exempted from the Global Travel Advisory or border restrictions at this initial stage. This first review is part of a gradual and ongoing process of opening up global travel routes and relaxing border restrictions, and will be kept under constant close review to ensure it reflects the latest situation. The UK hopes to add other countries to the exemption list as conditions allow,” the UK High Commission added.
Separately, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Sri Lanka and the EU Member States Embassies in Colombo said with the process of lifting internal border controls well underway, the EU too was now preparing for the gradual reopening to travel from outside the EU.
The decision to lift travel restrictions with non-EU countries is ultimately the prerogative of EU Member States and the Schengen Associated Countries.
To that effect, Member States and Associated countries have been working together to agree an initial positive list of countries with which borders could be reopened soon on the basis of objective criteria, including the epidemiological situation in the given country and possibility to seek reciprocity with the country concerned.
The EU said the short list being examined at the moment is limited to 15 countries. It can be seen as a first step towards a return to normal.
The absence of a country on this positive list should therefore not be considered as being blacklisted. The list will be regularly updated and revised to ensure that further countries can be added as soon as the situation allows. Countries and travellers will be duly informed, the EU said.