Sri Lanka Prepares to Welcome Back Tourists

Al Jazeera recently interviewed tourism industry leaders from three different countries on its Inside Story program. Officials from Greece, England, and Sri Lanka spoke about the measures that their countries are taking to make their countries safe for tourists and locals as they open up after quarantine.

As I am currently living in Colombo, I was curious what Kimarli Fernando, Head of Sri Lanka’s National Tourism Authority, had to say about the issue. Her main part of the interview comes in at 5:37, 12:12, and 19:02.

Not sure why they wrote “COVID-29” – Video typo?

A few take-aways from the discussion about the future of tourism for Sri Lanka:

  • There will be a certification process for both tourists and hotels to ensure that they are COVID-free.
  • Sri Lanka is considering a 5-year, multiple-entry visa to encourage longer stays.
  • Sri Lanka expects to begin welcoming international travelers in July.

Sri Lanka has had nine COVID-19-related deaths and slightly less than 1,000 cases. An island-wide curfew began on 20 March and is still in effect (nearly two months later) for some parts of the island, including Colombo.

I’ll admit that I am anxious about the return of international tourism. But hopefully, with the right protocols in place, it can slowly resume.

What will it take for you to travel again?

What will it take to make you feel safe to have international tourists return to your country?

The Way We’re All Feeling Now

I’ve passed the point where working and schooling from home and staying inside indefinitely is a novelty. There is this malaise and dread and, yes, fear of what is going to come next, even though there are bits of normalcy peeking through.

I couldn’t put into words exactly how I was feeling lately. “Terrible,” I told a friend. But that didn’t cover everything.

“I keep grasping for a future that looks like the past and it’s just a mirage,” I told her.

Later in the day, I came across two tweets that echoed my mood.

From Helen Rosner:

“Today in therapy we talked about how (for those of us currently healthy and taking isolation seriously) right now we live in an infinite present. No future plans, no anticipation of travel or shows or events or celebrations. It’s an endless today, never tomorrow.”

Manu Saadia said something similar:

“It’s finally beginning to sink in that the pandemic is not a three months inconvenience but a generational upheaval.”

What an absolute bizarre timeline we are living in. I’m trying to write more to get into a rhythm that isn’t just constant doomscrolling. At the same time, it is somewhat fascinating that nearly everyone in the world can probably relate to these two writers’ words.