Effective from October 7, 2021, fully vaccinated tourists can enter Sri Lanka with no need to quarantine on arrival. The only major requirement is a PCR test taken within 72 hours of embarkation for Colombo.
Sri Lankan Airlines, Air Canada, Qatar Airways and others currently fly to Sri Lanka from major hubs such as London, Frankfurt, Paris, Doha, Singapore and Toronto. Tour operators in Sri Lanka have already seen a strong uptick in bookings. “There has been a noticeable increase since September,” said Mahiru Fernando (pictured right), Acting General Manager of Khiri Travel Sri Lanka. “But since the October 7 announcement enquiries and bookings have picked up at an even faster rate.”
In anticipation of the easing of restrictions, Khiri Travel Sri Lanka has created four ecotourism tours in Sri Lanka for visitors interested in respecting nature, going local and giving back.
From Mirissa on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, guests can sail in a catamaran with a marine biologist to spot blue whales and dolphins. The trip includes swimming, stand-up paddling (SUP) and a seafood lunch on board.
In the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, the Trails of Matale trip lets guests talk to villagers and hike through pepper, cinnamon and coffee plantations followed by a delicious banana leaf lunch.
In the Kandy hill country, Khiri has created an educational tour of herb gardens in the forest to show how spices such as cinnamon are cultivated. The trip includes a mug of locally grown “wild coffee”, a forest curry lunch and a donation to a reafforestation foundation.
Guests can also help with a seagrass restoration project in the Puttalam/Kalpitiya area in the north west of the country. The experience involves getting muddy and wet in a lagoon planting seagrass, which is an important breeding ground for sealife. As is often the case, a delicious Sri Lankan lunch follows.
Since January 2021, Khiri has been offsetting guests’ holiday carbon emissions by charging US$1.50 per person per day. The process is being carried out in cooperation with ClimateCare which helps companies such as Khiri Travel with the technical fulfillment of carbon offsetting.
“Khiri Travel is very pleased that Sri Lanka is taking a lead role in Southeast Asia tourism destinations by responsibly easing Covid-related travel restrictions,” said Willem Niemeijer (pictured left), CEO of Khiri Travel.
“Sri Lanka has thousands of tour guides, drivers and people dependent on tourism. They will all welcome the economic boost that the lighter regulations bring,” he said.
Full details of the health protocols for Sri Lanka tourism that became effective on October 7, 2021 are available here.
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