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Sri Lankan Ministry of Tourism & Aviation’s operational guidelines on preparedness and response for the covid-19 outbreak on the tourism industry.

Pre Entry Requirement

Tour/Hotel booking

  • Prior booking of the tour package to be done online 
  • It is mandatory for all tourists to commit to a minimum stay of Five (05) days in Sri Lanka and book all accommodation in SLTDA registered and “Safe &Secure”certified establishments only.

Visa Procedures

  • A confirmed pre-booking in SLTDA registered and COVID certified hotel or hotels are a pre-requisite for the Visa.
  • Submission of Health Insurance and tour booking details is Compulsory for the visa process.
  •  The availability of a valid Return air ticket is also a requirement for visa processing.
  • On-arrival visas will not be issued until an official announcement is made by the government of Sri Lanka in this regard.
  • All tourist and business visas to be five-year multiple entries with maximum the tenor of 6 months for each entry
  • vi. Current visa-free countries also follow the tour booking procedures stated above as well as the country entry requirements.

Country Entry Requirement

  • Negative PCR report or positive antibody test report took two weeks prior to landing in Sri Lanka to be uploaded with the visa application or produced at the Colombo Airport on arrival.

Entry Procedures at the Airport

Airport arrival place

  • Disinfection procedures to be in place for body, luggage, and travel
    documents
  • The tourists’ first entry place should have processes in place to check
    temperature and look out for guests with respiratory symptoms such as
    cough or runny nose or shortness of breath upon arrival.
  • PCR Test or Rapid test to be done on arrival at the airport in Sri Lanka.
  • The tourists/passengers/airport staff to maintain a minimum distance of 
    a meter at all times.
  • The tourists/passengers/airport staff to wear face masks and use hand
    sanitizer frequently at the airport.

Immigration counter

  • Collecting the pre-check medical report, tourists’ personal details, and
    travel/stay
  • details.
  • Visa details with last country visit or from where he/she is coming.
  • Online registration of visitors on Sri Lanka Tourism Travel website

Pre-entry special counter handled by the SLTDA

  • Briefing point with Local SIM card collection and activating point/providing information leaflet on COVID 19 preventive measures/ procedures/ emergency contacts/toll cards etc.

Luggage collection

  • To make sure the safe distance of minimum one meter in the collection point
    and safe communication
  • Keep an alcohol rub/hand sanitizer to use as frequently as possible or
    alternatively, wear gloves to collect and handle the luggage (Gloves should
    never be re-used and must be disposed into a closed bin (foot-operated) when
    the duty shift is over).
  • The trolleys should be disinfected when used by one customer. It is
    recommended to keep disinfected trolleys and used trolleys separately with
    notices for users.

Common facilities used by tourists

  • Make sure the safe distance of minimum one meter and safe communication
    in the common areas.
  • In the washrooms disinfect frequently touched areas such as water taps, door
    /towel/cistern handles, and seats and cover flaps, washbasins, doorknobs,
    buttons and switches using standard quality material.
  •  Provide an adequate supply of toilet paper, paper towels (if provided) or hand
    dryers and liquid soap at all times.

Duty-free shops

  • Ensure at least one-meter spacing between customers at all times and limit
    the number of customers within the store to allow the one-meter spacing.
  • Encourage the use of self-checkouts, cashless or contactless payments to
    speed up the payment process and reduce cash-handling.
  • Sanitize your hands when you enter the store, ideally with your own sanitizer
    or, if available at the store. Avoid contact with surfaces as much as possible.
  •  If using a basket or trolley to shop, sanitize its handle. It is not recommended
    that you wear disposable gloves as they can give you a false sense of security
    and your hands can get contaminated when you take them off.

Information and Travel counters (For general travel information) / Banks

  •  Ensure all visitors/staff wear face masks in the correct methods.
  • Explain the basic safety measures during stay and tour.
  • Provide the government-approved operational guidelines of tourism.
  • The bank staff must encourage customers to do online payments and card
    payments minimizing cash handling. Reliable information should be made
    available about such payment methods at the counters.

Tourist police

  • Check the tourists’ personal safety equipment (face masks, gloves, sanitizer, etc.)
  • Check with the tourist about their travel plan and transportation arrangements
  • If the tourist is cleared he/she will be sent to the designated transport pick up
    area, where he/she will be transported to the designated hotel.
  • To ensure hugging and handshaking is not done and non-touch greetings are
    adopted

Travel options for tourist visits within the country

Tourist buses for tour groups

  • Driver, conductor/helper staff and all the tourists should wear face masks and gloves.
  • The Bus driver, conductor/helper staff should always carry their PCR tested reports.
  • Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected (the seats, all handles, Interior door panels, windows, locks, exterior door handles, poles, etc.) before transport of passengers to prevent possible cross-ontamination.
  •  Seating management – To ensure a safe distance of at least one meter between seated passengers.
  • Communication – To ensure the safe distancing at all times during the journey and communication
  • Provide adequate time to get into the vehicle and get down from it in order to practice the non-touch Technique inside the vehicle/during the travel.
  • One identified door should be used for loading tourists.
  • Health promotional messages and recommended behavior should be transmitted through the public address system/printed and posted notices inside the vehicle at appropriate times.

Hired taxies (from travel agencies/other registered taxies only) or Registered Rented
Vehicles

  • Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected (the seats, all handles, Interior door the panel, windows, locks, exterior door handles, poles, etc.) before transport of passengers to prevent possible cross-contamination.
  • Driver, other staff, and all the tourists should wear face masks and gloves Taxi service motor cars (registered) should carry a maximum of 2 passengers.
  • The Taxi/vehicle driver displays his /her PCR tested reports.
  • Ensure the safe distance of minimum one meter at all times including travel and communication
  •  Keep an alcohol rub/hand sanitizer and use it frequently or alternatively wear gloves (Gloves should never be reused and must be disposed into a closed bin when the duty shift is over).

Public Transport (Trains, Buses, Tuk Tuks)

  • The use of public transport will not be allowed.
  • Only SLTDA approved and certified special buses and/or other pre-approved modes of public transport will be considered on request for tourists with specific instructions and guidelines.

Travel Agents / Tour Operators

Pre identification and travel plan

  • The travel agents are responsible to obtain the travel plans before tourist arrivals.
  • It is recommended to obtain records of past travel details from the tourists prior to confirmation of the booking
  • If the pre-travel plan does not match with Sri Lanka Tourism guidelines and requirements, inform to the tourist to change or amend the travel plan accordingly.
  • To check and ensure the travel plan mentioned hotels or accommodation/restaurants are SLTDA COVID Free certified?

Responsible for managing the tourist movements

  • Travel agency/tour operators to regularly check the temperature and look out for tourists/guests with respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose or shortness of breath frequently during the tour.
  • Where feasible and applicable, the observations of all tourists should be recorded in declaration forms.
  • Those who are unwell with a temperature of 38 degree Celsius or higher, and/or display respiratory symptoms should be directed by the organization for immediate medical attention and report such occurrences to SLTDA.

Handling COVID-19 suspect cases

  • Develop processes to identify and manage unwell personnel showing COVID-19 symptoms. including tourists, employees, and suppliers with:
  • Knowledge and availability of details on quarantine centers/areas for unwell or suspected cases.
  • Designation of an isolation route to the quarantine areas and transport pickup area.
  • Arrangement of transport to designated hospitals, where applicable

Tour guides / Translators

Responsible for managing the tourist movements in the attractions and activity
places.

  • Use of Safety equipment – All staff and tourists must wear face masks and gloves.
  • Ensure tourists are checked for temperature and respiratory symptoms such as cough or runny nose or shortness of breath regularly during the tour.
  • All health-related observations of tourists should be recorded in declaration forms.
  • Those who are unwell with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher, and/or display respiratory symptoms should be directed by the organization for immediate medical attention and report such occurrences to SLTDA.
  • Ensure the tourists strictly Comply with the operational guidelines of attractions and activity places.

Implement appropriate safe distancing measures for tourists. 

The tour guides/translators should put in place necessary precautionary measures to ensure safe distancing at all times:

  • Queue management – To limit the number of tourists gathering at the tour places or outside the places and ensure queues are fast-moving (Examples can include but not limited to staggering guests queuing at reception/information/ ticketing counters and other common facilities such as washrooms, etc; and clearly demarcating queuing areas by using floor markers to guide queue distancing of at least one meter)
  • Seating management – To ensure a safe distance of at least one meter between seated passengers. Individuals and family members who wish to sit together should continue to do so, but there should be a safe distance maintained between different groups of guests.
  • Communication – To ensure clear communication of safe distancing

Accommodation facility Providers

General Information on Social distancing measures, hand cleaning, and respiratory
hygiene in an accommodation facility.

Social distancing measures, together with frequent hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, are the main measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Although it is probable that guests are already familiar with these measures, they should be reminded as a form of hospitality.

  • Social distancing includes refraining from hugging & shaking hands with guests as well as among staff. It involves maintaining a distance of at least 1m (3 ft) and avoiding anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Hand hygiene means regularly and thoroughly cleaning hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water. Also avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth. Hand disinfection is indicated after exchanging objects (money, credit cards) with guests.
  • Respiratory etiquette means covering mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. The used tissue should be disposed of immediately in a bin with a lid

Other Important measures

  • All indoor areas such as ent1rance lobbies, corridors, and staircases, escalators, elevators, security guard booths, office rooms, meeting rooms, the cafeteria should be mopped with a disinfectant with 1% sodium hypochlorite or phenolic disinfectants.
  • For metallic surfaces like door handles, security locks, keys, etc. 70% alcohol can be used to wipe down surfaces where the use of bleach is not suitable.
  • Based on the projected occupancy levels you may wish to define/pre-plan the operational timings of each of the areas and convey to the guests accordingly.

Protocols, procedures suggested for accommodation

  • Check and ensure that the lighting is correctly functioning.

  • Ensure that the doormen and the other staff members are in proper uniformed attire and wear face mask and gloves as directed by the health authorities

  • The entry of outsiders to meet guests must be discouraged. If an outsider is to be permitted entry, he/she must be screened at the established facility for screening/ or by the staff members equipped with recommended PPE’s, all personal details (name, address and NIC number) to be recorded in a specific/allocated register along with the time of entry and the time of departure together with the name
    of the guest met by the person.  The temperature and respiratory symptoms of the person must be checked. The entry must be denied if the person is found to be running a temperature. Any guest(s) must be discouraged from entertaining the person other than in the hotel lobby.

  • The use of Food & Beverage facilities by non-resident guests must be discouraged. If the hotel decides to permit non-residents to use the F & B facilities, the hotel must develop a protocol and procedure where the details of such guests are carefully maintained including the place visited and the time.

  • Ensure that all handles and surfaces such as tabletops, work stations, arms of chairs are regularly disinfected using recommended disinfectants (Soap & water or alcohol solution (>70% alcohol) regularly. Disinfection needs to be carried out every time the surface is touched by guests and the guests
    leave. Adequate staff with the required resources must be detailed for this task.

  • Provide a sanitized doormat to wipe the shoes when entering the hotel.

  • All Luggage of the guests (including hand luggage) must be disinfected using recommended disinfectants (Soap & water or Alcohol solution with >70% alcohol) before it is permitted to be taken into the hotel premises. A clear sticker, giving the date, must be attached to the luggage certifying that the luggage has
    been disinfected. It is essential that no luggage is allowed to be taken into the hotel without being disinfected.

  • Ensure that only the Service Elevator is used to transport Guest luggage to the Guest Rooms.

  • Ensure that all guests wear a proper face mask as directed by the Health Authorities. Provide face mask if required. Inform guests that they are expected to wear the mask while in the public areas of the hotel. (Exceptions – while consuming food or beverages and while in the pool).

  • Ensure that adequate stocks of face masks and hand sanitizing kits are available to be provided to the guest if required.

  • Provide hand sanitization facilities to be used by the guests, close to the entrance of the hotel.

  • All staff in the Reception and Lobby area must wear a face mask as directed by the health authorities. All staff must maintain the social/personal distancing, as far as practical, at all times

Guest Rooms and Room Service

  • Deep clean the entire room.
  • Deep clean the Toilet including all fittings
  • Disinfect all hard surfaces of furniture, TV, and accessories in the room with recommended disinfectants.
  • Disinfect all portable devices such as remote controls, telephone handsets using Alcohol solutions.
  • Ensure that all guest amenities such as cups, saucers, glassware, and spoons are disinfected and placed in suitable sealed paper containers. The containers may be used to seal individual items or a number of
    items together as the case may be. The guest Ensure that all guest supplies in the toilet are placed in a sealed paper container.
  • Where practically possible allow the checked out rooms to lie dormant for two days before cleaning and setting up the room for re-use.
  • Place a sticker / Tent Card in a very visible place in the room confirming that the room has been disinfected specifying the date and time. (Signature of the person is optional).
  • Food delivery must be made at the entrance door of the guest room and the steward should not enter the room. Clearance too must be from outside the room. Guests should be advised to leave the items for clearance outside the door.
  • Cutlery, crockery, and serviettes must be delivered in sealed disposable paper containers.
  • All used cutlery, crockery, and remaining food must be taken back in covered containers.
  • If the guest in the room is known to have any medical condition such as fever, all returned items must be handled separately. Food must be scrapped and all items prewashed separately and hand washed separately with soap and water before being processed in the automatic washers.

Swimming Pool. 

Considering the sensitive nature of the operations carried out in these facilities, operating of these facilities at present is not recommended as per the health authorities. But the following are the general practices which are to be practiced, in order to maintain the pool hygienically.

  • Brush and clean all surfaces inside the pool
  • Ensure that the residual chlorine level is always maintained above 1.0. ppm. The use of an automatic
    Cl2 dozing pump is very strongly recommended. Check and ensure that the pH is maintained between
    7.4 – 7.6.
  • Disinfect the handrails of the steps of the pool steps and the knobs of the external pool showers.
  • Clean and disinfect the entire pool deck area.
  • Thoroughly clean the pool changing rooms and the washrooms. Ensure that all surfaces including the
    floor, walls, vanity counters, lockers, and benches are disinfected using a recommended disinfectant. Ensure that the knobs & handles of all fittings and all door handles are disinfected.

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