Over 50 hotels in Sri Lanka to refuse access to locals

By Easwaran Rutnam 

Over 50 hotels will be out of bounds for locals when Sri Lanka reopens its borders for tourists from 21 January, Daily Mirror reported.

All the hotels are located out of Colombo and includes some of the resorts managed by Cinnamon Hotels, Taj, Jetwing, Citrus and Amaya and Heritance.

Popular boutique hotels like Cape Weligama are among the hotels which will be closed for local tourists.

Speaking to hoteliers during an online discussion Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said that beach areas adjoining these hotels will be cordoned off to prevent interaction between locals and foreign tourists.

The authorities are even looking at placing fencing along the beach near some hotels to ensure locals do not get close to the foreigners, the Daily Mirror reported.

The hotels are part of selected “safe and secure” certified Level 1 hotels where tourists visiting Sri Lanka from 21 January will need to stay at during the first 14 days of their visit.

As of 15 January a total of 55 hotels had been registered as Level 1 hotels and the number was expected to rise over the next few days.

Fernando said that based on the available Covid testing capacity, a maximum of around 2500 tourists will be permitted to arrive in Sri Lanka daily after the borders reopen.

The tourists will be required to book a room at a Level 1 hotel in advance and also pay USD 40 for a PCR test and pay USD 12 for a one month Covid insurance .

There is no minimum stay requirement for tourists, Kimarli Fernando said.

She also said that the PRC test will be carried out before checking into the hotel and not at the airport.

“We are looking at the possibility of establishing a PCR testing facility with the private sector close to the airport for tourists. A tourism mobile app is being finalized to be incorporated into the visa application process,” she added.

Guests will travel in a bubble to 14 selected sites and locations including Yala, Kandy Temple of the Tooth and whale watching sites.

Strict health guidelines have been issued for the industry to follow when the country opens its borders for foreign tourists.

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