Sri Lanka(Unsplash)
Sri Lanka(Unsplash)

Sri Lanka reopens to tourists 10 months after closure due to Covid-19 pandemic

Full operations also resumed Thursday at the island's two international airports, accommodating the commercial flights.
PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 03:17 PM IST

Sri Lanka reopened to foreign tourists Thursday after a nearly 10-month pandemic closure that cut deeply into the Indian Ocean island nation's lucrative travel industry. Full operations also resumed Thursday at the island's two international airports, accommodating the commercial flights. Under new protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, tourists must be tested for the virus in their country 72 hours prior to their flight, when they arrive at their hotel in Sri Lanka and again seven days later. They must stay in a “travel bubble” designated in 14 tourism zones without mixing with the local population. About 180 hotels have been earmarked for tourist accommodations.

The resumption of tourism follows a pilot project that began December 26 in which 1,500 tourists from Ukraine visited Sri Lanka in such a travel bubble.

The government closed the country to tourists last March when an outbreak of the virus surfaced. The international airports were closed except for limited flights enabling Sri Lankans to return home.

Tourism is a vital economic sector for Sri Lanka, accounting for about 5 per cent of its gross domestic product and employing 250,000 people directly and up to 3 million indirectly. Hotels, other businesses and their employees faced crippling income losses.

Sri Lanka had fewer than 4,000 cases of coronavirus infection until October when clusters centered on a garment factory and fish market spread in the capital, Colombo, and its suburbs. As of Thursday, it has confirmed more than 55,000 cases with 274 fatalities.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: People traveling to Australia from most other countries from Friday will need to test negative for the coronavirus before they depart. Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said Thursday that he'd signed orders which require international travellers to have a negative test within three days of leaving for Australia.

All internationals passengers will also need to wear masks on their flights. “The success at home, the agonising challenges abroad, the fact we have new more virulent strains that are emerging around the world — these remind us of precisely why we have been able to keep Australians safe,” Hunt told reporters in Melbourne. New Zealand and a few Pacific Island countries are exempt from the new rules.

— China is making some of its toughest travel restrictions yet as coronavirus cases surge in several northern provinces ahead of the travel rush for Lunar New Year.

Next month's festival is the most important time of the year for family gatherings and is often the only time many migrant workers are able to return to their rural homes. However, any wishing to do so this year will need a negative virus test within the previous week and may face sometimes-onerous restrictions, including quarantines, in some communities.

The National Health Commission on Thursday reported an additional 126 cases of local transmission over the past 24 hours, the largest number, 68, in the northern province of Heilongjiang, part of the vast region formerly known as Manchuria.

Commission spokesperson Mi Feng also said the international experts visiting Wuhan have had video conferences with Chinese experts as part of their work. The World Health Organisations are in quarantine at the start of their trip to investigate the origins of the virus. Chinese officials have tightly controlled such research while promoting fringe theories that the virus may have originated overseas.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
After months of lockdown, airlines hope Britain will give the go-ahead from mid-May for holidays to restart, boosting an industry whose finances have been slammed by the pandemic.(Unsplash)
After months of lockdown, airlines hope Britain will give the go-ahead from mid-May for holidays to restart, boosting an industry whose finances have been slammed by the pandemic.(Unsplash)

British Airways prepares for travel restart with testing kit plan

Reuters, London
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 05:55 PM IST
British Airways has struck a deal with a Covid-19 testing kit provider as airlines prepare for the desperately-needed restart of summer travel, which is likely to include tests for passengers.
Close
Beautification of Srinagar underway in effort to boost tourism in Valley(Twitter/MayorofS)
Beautification of Srinagar underway in effort to boost tourism in Valley(Twitter/MayorofS)

To boost tourism, Srinagar govt officials have started beautification of Valley

ANI, Srinagar (jammu And Kashmir)
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 02:05 PM IST
In an attempt to attract more tourists to Jammu and Kashmir, the Srinagar administration has started making the Valley more beautiful under the Smart City project. As a part of it, various paintings are being painted on flyover pillars above the Jehangir Chowk.
Close
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha this week ordered officials to look into vaccine certificates for international travel after signaling the nation -- famed for its palm-fringed beaches, temples and backpacker culture -- is open to scrapping the two-week quarantine for inoculated visitors.(Unsplash)
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha this week ordered officials to look into vaccine certificates for international travel after signaling the nation -- famed for its palm-fringed beaches, temples and backpacker culture -- is open to scrapping the two-week quarantine for inoculated visitors.(Unsplash)

Push to end tourist quarantines in Thailand as shots rolled out

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 01:27 PM IST
One of the most tourism-dependent countries in the world, Thailand is eyeing plans for vaccine passports and quarantine waivers as the global Covid-19 inoculation drive gathers pace.
Close
Citizens will now be restricted to their own municipalities for essential shopping, or to a maximum of two kilometers (1.2 miles) distance from their homes.(Unsplash)
Citizens will now be restricted to their own municipalities for essential shopping, or to a maximum of two kilometers (1.2 miles) distance from their homes.(Unsplash)

Greece tightens travel curbs as virus cases hit three-month high

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 09:01 AM IST
Greece is further restricting movement around the nation after a surge in new virus infections placed intensive care capacity under pressure.
Close
Thailand Reopening Looks More Promising After Virus Wave Tamed(Unsplash)
Thailand Reopening Looks More Promising After Virus Wave Tamed(Unsplash)

Thailand might be reopening for international tourists soon

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2021 07:27 AM IST
The authorities in Thailand have taken out a national inoculation program and are looking into coronavirus vaccine passports so that they are able to welcome back international tourists soon.
Close
Chinese delegates to propose vaccine passports to boost international tourism(Twitter/IBCIG)
Chinese delegates to propose vaccine passports to boost international tourism(Twitter/IBCIG)

Chinese delegates to propose vaccine passports to boost international tourism

Reuters
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 07:59 PM IST
According to Zhu Zhengfu, a member of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the international arrivals could be exempted from quarantine requirements if they have a negative nucleic acid test and a vaccine passport.
Close
Tourism body urges Goa government to allow chartered flights from 'safe' places(Photo by Sarang Pande on Unsplash)
Tourism body urges Goa government to allow chartered flights from 'safe' places(Photo by Sarang Pande on Unsplash)

Tourism body urges Goa government to allow chartered flights from 'safe' places

PTI
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 07:46 PM IST
While suspension of international commercial passenger flight services have been extended till March 31, tourism body in Goa suggests government to form travel bubbles with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, other CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, the UK, Poland and Finland
Close
The state has mostly been open since last summer, and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis opposed to any return to “lockdown.”(Unsplash)
The state has mostly been open since last summer, and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis opposed to any return to “lockdown.”(Unsplash)

Florida expects spring travelers amid pandemic

AP, Tallahassee
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 12:38 PM IST
Florida isn’t expecting Spring Break travel to return fully back to normal, pre-pandemic levels, but is expecting many more travelers than last year when the US outbreak was just getting started.
Close
(FILES) This file photo taken on September 17, 2018 shows SpaceX founder Elon Musk (L) and Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (R) speaking before a Falcon 9 rocket during the announcement that Maezawa will be the first private passenger who will fly around the Moon aboard the SpaceX BFR launch vehicle, at the SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory in Hawthorne, California. - It's the sort of chance that comes along just once in a blue Moon: a Japanese billionaire on March 3, 2021 is throwing open a private lunar expedition to eight participants from around the world. (AFP)
(FILES) This file photo taken on September 17, 2018 shows SpaceX founder Elon Musk (L) and Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa (R) speaking before a Falcon 9 rocket during the announcement that Maezawa will be the first private passenger who will fly around the Moon aboard the SpaceX BFR launch vehicle, at the SpaceX headquarters and rocket factory in Hawthorne, California. - It's the sort of chance that comes along just once in a blue Moon: a Japanese billionaire on March 3, 2021 is throwing open a private lunar expedition to eight participants from around the world. (AFP)

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa seeks crew for ‘fun’ trip around the moon

By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 11:03 AM IST
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has kicked off a global contest to select eight crew members to join him on a private SpaceX flight around the moon in 2023, the first such mission conducted on a commercial basis.
Close
The researchers tasked 380 people to respond to questions about three hotel reviews - some authentic, others fake - based on their perception of the reviews.(Unsplash)
The researchers tasked 380 people to respond to questions about three hotel reviews - some authentic, others fake - based on their perception of the reviews.(Unsplash)

Travelers booking hotels online should trust instinct more than algorithms

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 10:17 AM IST
A recent study suggested that travelers looking to book a hotel should trust their gut instinct when it comes to online reviews, rather than relying on computer algorithms to weed out the fake ones.
Close
Travelers who have been in the two central African countries within the past 21 days must fly to New York -JFK, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington Dulles, Newark or Los Angeles.(Unsplash)
Travelers who have been in the two central African countries within the past 21 days must fly to New York -JFK, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington Dulles, Newark or Los Angeles.(Unsplash)

New US CDC rules for DRC, Guinea travelers take effect Thursday

Reuters, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 09:35 AM IST
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new public health requirements for US visitors who have recently been in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Guinea because of concerns about Ebola.
Close
In the search of spiritual solace
In the search of spiritual solace

In the search of spiritual solace

By Swati Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 01:25 AM IST
From quaint ashrams reverberating with Vedic chants to Sufi shrines with magical and divine qawwalis, India offers a healing balm to the worn out soul
Close
Business travel estimated to not recover to its pre-pandemic peak until 2025(Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash)
Business travel estimated to not recover to its pre-pandemic peak until 2025(Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash)

Business travel estimated to not recover to its pre-pandemic peak until 2025

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:51 PM IST
Business travel to miss out on recovery until 2025 since only 27% of companies expect to spend money on travel in the next six months as many have found better substitutes to reach customers via teleconferencing and saved billions in transportation costs during the Covid-19 lockdown
Close
Ahead of Easter holidays, Germany drafts plans to start easing Covid-19 lockdown(Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash)
Ahead of Easter holidays, Germany drafts plans to start easing Covid-19 lockdown(Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash)

Ahead of Easter holidays, Germany drafts plans to start easing Covid-19 lockdown

Reuters
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:35 PM IST
Germany to tentatively start easing Covid-19 restrictions from next week given that months of lockdowns have pushed down infection and death rates. However new daily cases have begun creeping up again amid the spread of coronavirus variants while vaccine roll-out is sluggish
Close
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul applaud next to a container as they attend the arrival of a plane with a shipment of 200,000 doses of the Sinovac coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from China at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand, February 24, 2021.(Reuters)
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul applaud next to a container as they attend the arrival of a plane with a shipment of 200,000 doses of the Sinovac coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine from China at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand, February 24, 2021.(Reuters)

Thai PM orders study on "vaccine passports" to boost tourism

Reuters, Bangkok
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 02:21 PM IST
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Thailand will proceed with caution, waiting to see how effective vaccines are first in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP