Sri Lanka has greeted with elation the first arrival of an international flight – Oman Air WY 371 – after a ten-month hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bandaranaike International Airport – the main international airport on the island nation – opened from January 21 for international tourists, HE Omar Lebbe Ameerajwad, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Oman, said, adding that the first airline to land on its soil after the reopening was ‘Oman Air, WY 371 from Oman carrying 50 passengers in the morning’.
As precautionary measures due to the coronavirus pandemic, only special flights for repatriation were operated in the past few months, while all other commercial flights remained suspended.
“We are happy to again re-open Sri Lanka for tourists,” the Ambassador said.
As per the latest norms, all visas must be applied online through the Immigration ETA portal. Before applying for visa, one must have a confirmed hotel booking, pre-purchased PCR tests and a mandatory COVID-19 insurance cover when making hotel booking.
The hotel will issue a reference number which will be needed to be included in visa form under the section ‘contact details’.
“One can visit Sri Lanka for even three or four days and there is no 14-day quarantine,” HE Ameerajwad said, adding, “People from all countries are welcome unless otherwise specified.”
Travel restrictions are in force only for the visitors from the United Kingdom, where the new strain of the virus is said to be spreading faster.
Many tourists have arrived in Sri Lanka mainly from Europe for tourism immediately after this opening, according to reports.
‘Bookings are on the rise. The government has been ensuring that every precautionary measure has been set in place to make trips safe, secure and serene as possible,’ reports said.
The authorities in Sri Lanka have advised tourists to visit www.srilanka.travel/helloagain to know about ‘things you need to know’ to ensure that they ‘have an amazing time’ there.