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Sri Lanka will reopen its borders to travellers in August

The country’s government says it will allow small groups to stay at approved hotels

Huw Oliver
Written by
Huw Oliver

How’s this for some uplifting vacation-related news? That go-to for trekkers, beach lovers and culture vultures alike, Sri Lanka has announced it will reopen its tourism sector from August 1.

Kimali Fernando, who heads up the country’s official tourism body, has said that a limited number of small groups from around the world will be allowed to visit the south Asian country from August.

All groups will have to choose accommodation from a set list of hotels across the country that have appropriately strict hygiene measures in place – and, as you might expect, there are a number of other caveats. All visitors will be required to carry a health certificate issued either by their home government or a reputed health agency stating that they have been declared ’rona-free in the past 72 hours.

SriPhotograph: Shutterstock

They will also be subject to testing at the airport. And given it currently takes 24 hours to find out the results, visitors will then be asked to stay the night at a four or five-star hotel in Colombo or Negombo. Tough life!

Four or five days into your trip, you’ll be asked to take another test, and if you’re staying for more than ten days, you’ll be subject to a further check. Should you at any point test positive, you’ll have to quarantine in either a designated hotel or a hospital, depending how ill you are.

But in a sign the travel experience may otherwise seem relatively normal, all tourist sites will reopen from August 1 and there will be no travel restrictions between districts for international visitors. Those beaches, rainforests and savannahs will all be within reach.

So if you’ve been mulling over taking a lavish two-week trip as soon as ‘unlockdown’ deems it possible, Sri Lanka might just be the one.

Remember, many countries are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about travelling.

When will you be able to travel again? Here’s what we know so far. 

Where can you go on holiday right now? These are all the countries that have already reopened their borders.

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