Sri Lanka Looks Beyond Pandemic to Carve Out a New Tourism Future


Sri Lanka won high praise in the initial months of the pandemic for its swift and strict action to contain the virus, and for producing astonishingly detailed and unambiguous protocols to safely unlock the country to international leisure tourists on August 1. Alas, that reopening had to be shelved due to a spike in cases in July, then a second wave in early October that was traced to a garment factory near Colombo.

The country is now in final discussions to welcome back foreign tourists, even though there were 643 new cases on December 15, Sri Lanka’s Health Promotion Bureau data shows. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a Level 4, the highest advisory, against travel to Sri Lanka.

That said, Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 recovery rate, at 73 percent, is higher than the global average of 70 percent. The death rate, 0.5 percent, is miniscule compared with 1.8 percent for the U.S. and 2.2 percent globally.

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