COVID19 Update: Tourism Industry

Sri lanka tourism 2020


18 March 2020 20:00 hours


COVID19 Update: Tourism Industry

As you are aware, the entire globe is striving to face the challenges posed by COVID 19 pandemic. In response to the current situation, the Government of Sri Lanka has taken several measures to safeguard its citizens as well as the many foreign nationals that are currently touring Sri Lanka.

We would like to furnish you with a brief on such measures taken by the government and a few relevant facts that might be helpful for the tourism industry.

The validity period of all types of Visas will be extended for a period of 30 days with effect from 14 March to 12 April 2020. Tourists are instructed to visit the Visa Division of the Department of Immigration and Emigration on either 8 or 9 of April 2020 to pay the relevant fee and get the visa endorsed on their Passports. In case they intend to leave the island during the aforementioned period, their journey will be facilitated by paying the relevant visa fee at the Airport without any penalty. For any inquiry in this regard, please contact +94 77 158 8724.

Any tourist that arrived in Sri Lanka between March 1 and 15 are requested to register through Tel. Nos: 011 244 4480, 011 244 4481, 011597 8720, 011 597 8730, 011 597 8734.

All International Airports in Sri Lanka will be closed for operation of inward international commercial passenger flights (i.e. all arrivals) with effect from 0400hrs on 19 March 2020 (local time in Sri Lanka) until 2359hrs on 25 March 2020 (local time in Sri Lanka). The closure period will be reviewed by the Sri Lanka Authorities.

During the above mentioned restricted period, following operations will be permitted.

1. Aircraft Departures with passengers originating from Colombo, stopovers, transit passengers or departing tourists
2. Emergency Diversions to BIA
3. Freighter Operations and humanitarian flights to BIA
4. Technical landings at BIA
5. Inbound ferry flights (without passengers) at BIA

The maximum permitted transit time at BIA for any passenger transiting via BIA should not be more than 6 hours. The passenger is required to have a confirmed onward connection out of BIA to an onward destination.

From the information currently available, Airlines operating will be as follows:


  • Emirates Airline to continue to operate flights out of CMB during this period. As of now they will operate all four flights ex CMB till 21MAR20 and operate 03 flights daily (excluding EK648/9) from 22MAR and onwards.
  • SriLankan Airline to continue operations to the following destinations. LON/ MEL/ DEL/ MAA on a daily basis. SriLankan Tokyo flight will operate on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • China Airlines currently operate both inbound and outbound flights. But from Mar 19 – 28, they will temporarily stop operations.
  • Malaysia Airline to continue their operation. (Other than 22MAR).
  • Air India has scheduled flight to arrive and depart before 0400 on 19 March 2020
  • LOT Polish Airlines to operate their 3rd special flight to assist all Polish Nationals to reach home under LO8512 at 0805 on 19 March 2020.
  • Etihad Airlines will operate a wide body B787 on 19 March 2020


If any country is wanting to send charter planes to take out their citizens, it would be facilitated.

All pilgrimages and leisure trips within Sri Lanka are banned until further notice.

To support the economy the Government has already instructed banks to suspend loan recoveries from businesses for 6 months and requested banks to provide working capital loans to businesses at 4% p.a. interest.

Sri Lanka Tourism is currently having discussions with relevant authorities to assist the formal sector that is registered under SLTDA for further support.

For information on Covid-19 please refer Sri Lanka Tourism site; https://srilanka.travel/covid19/

We are taking all measures to address the situation.


Wishing you good health,

Kimarli Fernando
Chairperson

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