The novel coronavirus outbreak has everyone questioning their travel plans, be it within the country or without. It is very natural that you should be asking, “Is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka right now?” but that question is moot; Sri Lanka is one of the safest destinations in the world right now and always has been. The health and travel authorities have always taken very specific steps to keep visitors to Sri Lanka safe. One must also remember that the origin of the virus was China, and their travel patterns play a large role in whether or not you should take that dream vacation.
Chinese Travel Patterns
Yes, the Chinese are prolific travellers, conquering nation after nation in their bid to become the top globe-trotters, but the statistics show that they still prefer countries that are culturally familiar and geographically near: Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and Singapore. Sri Lanka is a strong contender but compared to the 1.38 billion strong Chinese population, only 269,000 (approximately) visited Sri Lanka in 2018 – a mere 0.000269%. The chances of the corona virus being transmitted via a carrier from its origin is equally minuscule. So the question you should really be asking yourself is – is it safe to travel to Vietnam? Or is it safer right here in Sri Lanka?
Corona Virus Status in Sri Lanka
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority took its responsibilities very seriously with regards to safeguarding the travellers who chose to visit our beautiful emerald isle. For one, they issued several precautionary guidelines for all individuals involved in tourism, which included the cancellation of on-arrival visa for tourists from China. This helps the authorities diligently monitor travellers and take measures to prevent any infection. The health authorities in their turn have also taken matters seriously and issued several guidelines for the general public, as well as allocating the Infectious Diseases Hospital in the outskirts of Colombo for exclusive treatment of the virus and affected persons, should any arise.
Fortunately, Sri Lanka has no cases of corona virus and no signs that there ever will be. Thus, the risk of infection in Sri Lanka – despite the brief world-wide panic – has always been low. It also appears that the virus is susceptible to the heat, which damages its structure and prevents it from being a ‘viable’ contagion. Tropical countries like Sri Lanka are therefore an ideal place to secrete yourself away while the pandemonium dies down elsewhere. But then, you’re probably wondering, ‘Is it safe to travel to Singapore?’ Don’t forget that statistically, Singapore is still more likely to be at risk than Sri Lanka, which has the added protection of being several thousand kilometres away from Mainland China.
Sri Lanka: Possibly the Safest Current APAC Destination
Sri Lanka, by virtue of being an island, has one point of entry – at least, for the conventional traveller. The airport has made it easy for authorities to screen potentially affected individuals before they even set foot on Sri Lankan soil. Additionally, while Sri Lanka has always been a tourist hotspot and attracted record-breaking numbers each year, it has never been crowded to the point where the Sri Lanka Tourist Board has felt the need to limit access such as in Venice, Italy or Kyoto, Japan. There are still plenty of places that are less crowded (#roadlesstravelled!) such as the Bomburu Ella falls between Nuwaraeliya and Badulla and the eponymous village walks arranged by local guides throughout the Knuckles mountain range in Kandy.
In addition, Sri Lanka has plenty to do and see that does not involve too much human interaction. The safaris at the numerous wildlife parks are easily arranged; save for the driver, you will be alone in the jeep among that lush foliage. There are isolated beaches all around the Sri Lankan coastline where you can bathe peacefully, such as Hiriketiya and Tangalle Down South, Negombo beach in the West, Marble Beach or Arugambay in the East and Casuarina beach up North. As for cultural experiences, there lots of beautiful old temples, churches and other places of worship that are not too crowded either which welcome visitors. You may think that destinations like Bali share a lot of similarities with Sri Lanka and wonder, is Bali safe to travel to? But Sri Lanka provides an all-around experience that you cannot get anywhere else in the Asia Pacific region.
Then there are the resorts: oases of tranquillity, hidden from the hustle and bustle of modern life, beckoning you with their vistas of hillsides wreathed in cool mists or sunlight caressing the sparkling blue waves of the Indian Ocean. Resorts such as Santani Resort and Spa and Sen Wellness Sanctuary boast remote locations that are designed to cut you off from the distractions of the digital world and encourage a journey towards wellness and healing. This is the ideal place to visit, not only for its far-flung placement but also for its emphasis on healthy living.
Sri Lanka has always been a tourist favourite and there’s no reason it should change now. From the meticulous screening and treatment at entry ports, to the general health alerts and guidelines issued to the public, the tropical heat which is generally adverse to the corona virus, and the remote yet relaxing resorts that make Sri Lanka a top destination all ensure that we should remain at the top of your booking list – especially now.