Govt Aims to Bring 3,000 Tourists Per Day
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake and Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in Mattala expect to clear at least 3,000 tourists per day, once the airports open for foreign tourists from 21 January.
The two airports are hoping to clear passengers from each aircraft within 90 minutes, Chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL), Upul Dharmasena, said.
One of the key elements in the new tourist arrival plan is all travellers will have to obtain their visas, air tickets, and payment for visas and PCR tests online, personally. There will be no assistance from anyone other than their tour operators.
The tourists have to be in the bio bubble until they leave the country, or after a 14-day quarantine they can move out from the bio bubble to travel separately under the guidance of Sri Lanka Tourism.
There will be no PCR tests at the airports but 72 hours before boarding the flight, they will have to do their PCR and clear their health condition before landing in Sri Lanka. The PCR tests will be conducted before checking into the hotels and not at the airports as it was done earlier and this is to curtail the rush at the BIA and the MRIA.
There would be no minimum mandatory stay. The number of PCR tests depends on the duration of the stay. Currently, visitors from all countries, excluding the UK, are permitted to enter Sri Lanka.
The travellers moving in the bio bubble will be checked-in at only selected hotels. There will be around 40 hotels that have applied for Safe and Secure Compliance Certification. The category one hotels will be for overseas tourists and for the locals it will be a different planning, where the foreign tourist will not mix with the locals, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said.