Travel beyond COVID-19. What travel will look like during & after COVID-19. A series of interviews with our top Hospitality and Tourism partners from around the world. Updates, Awareness, Wisdom & Education.  

Interview with Shanitha Fernando. President at AUTHENTICITIES Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka, Asia

To curate, plan and book your next travel experience, contact me directly. info@carlosmelia.com or +1 917 754 5515.

Beaches of Cape Weligma, Sri Lanka

AUTHENTICITIES Sri Lanka

A teardrop-shaped island cast adrift in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is filled with cultural and natural treasures. Indians, Portuguese, Dutch and British have all left their marks here, making for a delightful mix of ancient cities, monuments and grand colonial architecture.
At the same time, palm-fringed beaches are never far away and lush mountainous greenery beckons further inland. It’s clear why Marco Polo proclaimed Sri Lanka as one of the best islands in the world.

Q&A / Travel beyond COVID-19

Q&A Travel beyond COVID-19. Insight shared from out travel partners around the globe. For follow up questions, kindly contact us directly.

When are you foreseeing your destination opening back for tourists ?
There is a plan in place to be open from 01st August 2020, but with quite a few restrictions in place so not for mass tourism. (I have attached a separate email which has more details on new guidelines for tourists.)

What measures have you taken to reopen post COVID-19 ?
Please address sterilization measures, security, mandates on staff and guests testing, transportation etc.

We have an ongoing planning process in place and we are putting together a comprehensive set of new guidelines specifically towards health & safety in the post-Covid era. These guidelines will be implemented in many areas such as the vehicle and guide, hotels, excursions and restaurants etc. We hope to finalize these guidelines and send them out to all of our partners including you by end August. For the time being, I have listed down some of the more important guidelines briefly for your reference: Vehicles will be disinfected on a daily basis by the driver/guide. All in-vehicle amenities packs will include disposable face masks and disposable gloves in addition to the items we already have (wet/dry wipes, hand sanitizer, sun cream etc.). Guides will have temperature checks on a daily basis and will be tested according to Sri Lanka Health Ministry requirements. We will plan to visit cultural sights at different times so as to avoid crowds as much as possible. Hotel and Restaurant recommendations in all areas will be done for restaurants maintaining the required health and safety requirements and social distancing protocols.

How do you plan to enforce these measures and how will you ensure compliance?
The Standard Operating Procedure of the company has been updated with these new protocols incorporated, so during time of planning a trip, the hotel and restaurant selection as well as the itinerary planning will incorporate these measure. While the tour in on-ground the guides will be briefed in detail to ensure that all segments of the tour have these protocols followed. In addition to this, we have our own regional staff in most areas of the country who will also be monitoring all aspects closely to ensure compliance.

How will these measures affect the overall regular experience ?
We will always strive to ensure that there is minimal impact to the overall experience of the tour, when following these new measures. There may be earlier starts on the days with visits to public sights, but we will ensure at the tour planning stage that you are made fully aware of any changes from the normal experience.

Booking & Payment Flexibility Terms and Conditions during and after COVID-19 time.
We are able to offer some very special payment and cancellation policies which are valid from now until 14th July 2021. Payments: No deposits required to confirm bookings. 100% payment due 30 days prior to arrival. Cancellations: Cancellation up to 08 days prior to arrival. No charge for hotels and most of the tour, though there may be some unrecoverable costs such as Train Tickets which need to be purchased 30 days prior to date of journey. Cancellation within 07 days of arrival: 100% charge.

Will you be offering any special promotions, packages and/or value adds?
Our pricing will always include any special offers which will be offered by hotels. In addition to this, we will also be offering a 10% discount on all travel until 19th December 2021. (excluding 20th December 2020 – 10th January 2021)

How will you plan to maintain a level social distancing ?
We will incorporate social distancing protocols when planning tours, and will ensure that all hotels, restaurants and excursions selected will have minimal contact with crowds.

Tell us about the current quarantine and restrictions within your destination ?
Sri Lanka is currently in the process of returning to normalcy, with curfew only being implemented from 11.00PM to 4.00AM on a daily basis. The Government hope to open the Airport for tourists from 01st August onwards, along with the added guidelines mentioned earlier. (attached herewith for reference)

Please add any additional information you believe would be helpful to raise travelers trust levels in order to visit ?
In addition to all the new protocols in place to ensure the safety of all travelers and citizens in the country, it is important to note that due to the unique nature of the island which is so rich in bio diversity that you can travel from the dry zone to the cool hill country and down to the beautiful beaches within a few hours by road, it is ideal for private travel. As you well know Carlos and have experienced first hand last 2019, when you visited us, We specialize in private and exclusive travel which means that there will be minimal contact with crowds, and lots of time available to relax on their own.

Now on a lighter and positive note,

Have you taken advantage of this quiet months, to curate new experiences or discover new locations/destinations? If YES Which ?
Yes we are working on discovering new areas and curating new experiences. Now that travel restrictions to other districts have been relaxed, we plan on dong 04 scouting trips focused on discovering new locations and experiences. We hope to complete the trips by mid-August and will send out an update to you with our findings by end August or so.

What is your favorite experience at your destination that you wish to share with my clients/readers?
We have a number of experiences which we believe are unique and exciting and really showcases the country. We have some experiences in Culture, History, Buddhism, Wildlife, Tea, Hill country and with the beach, so we are able to recommend some nice experiences, depending on clients’ preferences.

My own Sri Lanka Experience

Read more on my very own Sri Lanka Experiences and follow my Instagram Posts and most recent Instagram Stories. Enjoy the journey.

Helpful Resources

Some useful resources you might want to keep in mind, for your upcoming travels during and after COVID-19.

IATA Travel Center  
www.iatatravelcentre.com

US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs  
www.travel.state.gov

CDC Center for Disease Control & Prevention
www.cdc.gov

World Health Organization
www.who.int

Homeland Security
www.dhs.gov

Global COVID-19 Flights & Travel Restrictions
app.developer.here.com

World Travel & Tourism Council
www.wttc.org/COVID-19/

World Travel Restrictions UN World Food Programme
www.unwfp.maps.arcgis.com

Observatory on Border Crossings Status due to COVID-19
www.wiki.unece.org

Health travel advice for all Countries
www.travelhealthpro.org.uk

EU Reopen
reopen.europa.eu

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About Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator

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Read more about me and my projects around the world. Travel Curator & Concierge, Blogger and Lifestyle Consultant.

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