COVID-19 return impacts Sri Lanka wellness plan

Sri Lanka had planned to reopen for wellness tourism from all countries on 15 August, but due to a new wave of COVID-19 cases, this has been delayed indefinitely.

A new wave of COVID-19 cases and general uncertainty has led Sri Lanka to postpone the reopening of the country to health tourists. It has not provided a new date.

The plan was that as long as visitors agree to bringing a negative PCR test with them, and agree to have another test upon arrival, there would be no quarantine period.

The plan stated that all health tourists would need, before arrival:

  • A valid visa issued for 30 days and extendable for up to six months after arrival.
  • Proof of accommodation and at least a five day stay in the country.
  • Proof of health insurance for duration of stay.
  • Proof of return ticket.
  • A negative COVID-19 PCR test required prior to boarding any flight and on arrival in Sri Lanka. The test should be no older than 72 hours prior to boarding.

Tourists would also need, after arrival:

  • Another COVID-19 PCR test.
  • 4-5 days into the stay, another test by a mobile test unit.
  • For those staying more than 10 days, a third test.

The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) in association with the Sri Lanka Wellness Tourism Association has been exploring the potential of wellness tourism with local stakeholders.

The key proposed element of a new marketing strategy is creating a website on wellness and health tourism in Sri Lanka in addition to providing the opportunity for booking. The website is to be supplemented with active presence in Facebook and Instagram in addition to using influencers such as bloggers, journalists, and celebrities.

In association with the relevant government organisations and industry associations, the EDB still expects to host a wellness tourism summit in 2021 with the participation of national and international wellness service providers to promote Sri Lanka as a high-quality destination for wellness services internationally. The EDB intends to implement a range of product development and brand development initiatives to promote Sri Lanka’s Wellness Tourism under the brand name “Sri Lanka – Body and Mind”.