Procedures for DMCs in the new normal
Sri Lanka is ready to welcome guests from around the world to discover its wonder.
Discover bellow the new procedures put in place to ensure the safety & security of guests as well as staff. Discover the procedures and process to be followed as DMC, to ensure that your guests have a frictionless holiday to Sri Lanka.
The answers for this FAQ were compiled following a webinar conducted on the 18th of February with the partnership of the SLTDA. The procedures are always evolving so please do always double-check.
Video of the Q&A Webinar
Frequently asked questions
PCR & Insurance
Will DMC receive an invoice or receipt from SLTDA when paying for PCR & Insurance?
No invoice or receipts will be sent, as SLTDA only acts as an intermediary on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka and do not generate revenue out of these transactions; But can confirm the payment receipts through an e-mail if needed. For any assistance DMCs can contact - email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Do we get a particular Insurance Certificate with the Policy numbers before the clients Arrival? Who will receive the Policy Doc? Hotel or DMC?
The soft copy of insurance policy will be sent to the first hotel of stay on completion of Form B. DMCs will need to coordinate with the hotels to get the soft copy. If clients need it before boarding, Contact SLTDA at HelloAgain@srilanka.travel and email@example.com
Can you explain the App which is being for insurance and the process to follow?
Guests will need to download the MIVIS INTERNATIONAL APP through the QR code on the policy document, enter their details and can then use the app for claims.
However, right now this is not in operation and guests will be able to use this only once SLTDA mobile app is implemented.
Is there an additional transport charge for PCR tests on top of the 40 USD?
The PCR test in most cases will not include transport. However, in certain cases some hospitals may charge transport depending on the area and the number of guests. However from the Ministry of Health approved 5 hospital labs, at least 1 hospital should be able to arrange it without transport fee. The hotels will be tasked with sorting this out.
Do we have to still pay insurance in US$ ?
Yes, we do. SLAITO is working on this.
For a tour of 17N/18D, will we be able to adjust the 3rd PCR time frame after getting approval from SLTDA / MOH? Can we request to do the 3rd PCR between 14 – 17 nights, then it will valid for his departure flight also. Hotel stay Level 1 basis.
No, According to the guidelines.
Have all Level 1 hotels which are listed in SLTDA sites partnered with certified hospital/s or certified doctors yet in order to conducting PCR tests?
The Ministry of Health had approved 5 private hospitals, namely Lanka Hospitals, Nawaloka, Asiri, Hemas and Durdans to carry out the PCR tests. Hotels can chose any one of them.
If there is a last minute cancellation for good reasons will the PCR and insurance be refunded?
There will be no refund. It will be kept as credit for 3 months.
Activities, Excursions & 3rd Party Suppliers
What criteria we need to follow when choosing Jeep Suppliers? Basically what requirements we should looked in to give them hires? Do them also need to have Safe & Secure Certification or just wearing a full PPE kit the jeep driver is sufficient?
SLTDA is looking to provide them a guideline awareness knowledge, but for now full PPE is enough. All details of Driver and Jeep need to be communicated in the itinerary format before 24 hours.
Can we organize private cultural dance show for our guests since the Kandy one is still closed ?
No as this will break the Bio-Bubble. Unless, there are permanent staff members of a hotel working within the bubble, who can perform such activities.
If we are to continue the bio security bubble method for the foreseeable future, what plans do we have to add restaurants / shopping centres / Spice gardens to the safe and secure list ?
SLTDA intends to get such standalone tourism facilities incorporated into the ‘Safe & Secure’ certification process in future. Right now, SLTDA is working with interested parties to add more attractions to work within the bio bubble and any new additions will be communicated through the SLTDA website.
Kindly advise whether Village Safari in Sigiriya, Madu River Boat Ride, Turtle Hatchery, Water Sports can be approved for clients who visit Sri Lanka for less than 5 nights?
Village Safari – No, not allowed due to the community involvement.
Turtle Hatcheries & other similar separated excursions – DMCs can work with suppliers to get MOH and PHI clearance with clear health and safety guideline procedures and contact the SLTDA through firstname.lastname@example.org for approval before proceeding.
Madu River – SLTDA is working on the possibility of including this as an attraction. Once done, will be communicated.
Watersports – If the hotel is conducting it without community interaction it should be okay.
Is online purchasing of all all-entrance tickets to approved sites/ attractions enabled by now as some sites did not previously give this option?
Not all sites have online ticketing, if they do we advise getting them online. If there is no method for online tickets purchasing, the tickets should be purchased by a single person on behalf of the group at the site entrance following health guidelines without breaking the bubble.
Can we only handle the transfers or excursions as per the request of the clients without accommodation ? If yes, what are the information we need to request from clients ?
If hotels are booked directly, the Hotel will need to send the day excursion details to email@example.com , the formats will have the details needed. The DMC will need to send the details to the hotel to send to SLTDA.
Is Mixing groups allowed for Whale Watching?
According to the Health authorities, this is not allowed for now, as it will adversely affect the bubble concept due to mixing of different tour bubbles within the bio bubble.
It is possible to go around the cities while the guests are in the vehicle without getting off from the vehicles?
This is possible provided they DO NOT get out of the vehicles and it is mentioned in the itinerary format clearly.
Stops & Guest Movements
Are Guests allowed to use the washrooms facilities/restaurants of Level 1 Hotels they are not staying at?
Yes, if they get prior approval from the Level 1 Hotels who will arrange it following the guidelines and clearly communicate to SLTDA by mentioning it in the itinerary document, this can be arranged.
What is the procedure for arranging Comfort Stops & Lunches?
DMCs can arrange and come to an agreement with restaurants and other locations ensuring that contact with the community is avoided and guidelines are followed at the proposed locations and necessary area MOH/PHI clearances are obtained. These stops need to be clearly highlighted to firstname.lastname@example.org with the given itinerary format.
SLAITO is working to finalize a list of such places covering key routes with the relevant parties as well as with SLTDA.
What are the procedures to follow, if there is an unavoidable circumstance during the tour? Eg. Vehicle breakdown, unplanned lavatory stops.
Guests should stay in the vehicle as much as possible, during a break down. If not, they should stay away from the community and always maintaining social distance and wearing masks and in full PPE if possible until an arrangement is made.
Please keep email@example.com as well as the area PHIs and MOH informed.
Level 1 Hotel Related
Is it possible get an special approval to use a safe & secure Hotel instead of level 1 hotel with when it comes to large the group inquiries such as weddings, conference in Colombo. What would be procedure?
If the Safe & Secure hotel is willing to switch to Level 1 for that period following guidelines, it should not be an issue.
If one of the guests is identified as COVID patient what will happen to the other people who joined the tour with him. Do they need to be quarantined for 14 days in the Hotel. If Yes, who will pay the Hotel accommodation charges for 14 days?? Is it the Peoples Insurance?
Other guests will NOT be Quarantined unless their PCR is Positive. However, if the Health Authorities require close contacts to quarantine for a specific reason, based on such written instructions of MOH or Ministry of Health officials, the insurance will come into effect.
Drivers, Chauffeur & Guides
Is it required that Transfer Drivers be registered Chauffeur Guides or be accompanied by a National Tour Guide?
No, it is not. It would be ideal if they are registered with associations and guide accompanies but it is not required for transfers. SLTDA is in the process of conducting guideline awareness sessions to cover drivers/assistants, but until this process is completed, it is the responsibility of the relevant DMC/Hotel to educate drivers/assistants on Tourism operational guidelines and their responsibilities before assigning them to a transfer job.
Do Transfer Drivers need Safe & Secure Certification?
No they do not need a ‘Safe & Secure’ certification as per Ministry of Health Guidelines. But as stated, in order to uphold the safety of the tourism industry, the SLTDA has initiated conducting awareness programmes to enhance the driver/assistant knowledge, awareness and understanding of the COVID-19 tourism operational guidelines. Until this is completed, it is vital that relevant the DMC/Hotel to educate drivers/assistants on the operational guidelines and about their roles/responsibilities before assigning them to a job.
If they have not followed this course or are pending can they operate?
For the time being, they CAN operate until the above awareness sessions are completed. However, as stated It is the responsibility of the DMC/Hotel to ensure that drivers carry out duties following the guidelines and with clear understanding of their roles/responsibilities.
Can Drivers that have passed the before mentioned course not conduct a Tour if they have relevant Area Guide Licenses and/or use a S&S site guide for relevant excursions?
Excursions and tours need to be done by SLTDA licensed and ‘Safe & Secure’ certified Chauffeur Guides, National Guides or Area guides only.
If Drivers, Chauffeur Guides and National Guides are on the Permanent Carder of a Safe & Secure DMC do they need be certified Safe & Secure?
No they need not, however, the DMC needs to continuously train and update them on the guideline requirements/changes and make sure they adhere to the same. They always need to carry company ID and a certified copy of the DMCs ‘Safe & Secure’ certificate.
With regards to transfers, are the third-party local drivers allowed to take the guests from level 1 hotels to do excursions?
For Excursions, they need to be accompanied by a SLTDA licensed and ‘Safe & Secure’ certified Chauffeur Guide or Guide.
Will SLTDA support DMCs to have their own drivers’ isolation centre or will there any centres that DMC can pay and put drivers for the isolation.
According to the Webinar, DMCs can set up their own isolation centres with consultation of local Area Medical Officers.
After 14 days tour can a driver or guide without full PPE release without another 14 days isolation. Since clients can move to general public after 14days. Is it possible for drivers also if we do PCR test for drivers also same time when we do tests for clients.
According to the guidelines it is not possible
if a tour has a round tour part and a beach stay, and the guide does the round tour, can he/she go home for the beach stay period and come back to do the departure transfer for the clients even if less than 14 days?
Providing they are wearing Full PPE, this will be allowed. If not, they need to Quarantine for 14 days or stay in the hotel and Quarantine after the tour for 14 days.
When travellers are on a round tour during the initial 14 days, in case one of the level 1 hotels does NOT provide accommodation for the chauffeur guides, can the chauffeur guide stay overnight at any local accommodation option? Or are there any approved accommodation for guides/chauffeur guides?
If they are wearing full PPE, they should be allowed to. However, its best to work with the hotels to get accommodation set up for this. If they are not in full PPE, Hotels need to arrange Quarters that follow the Bio bubble concept.
Are there any guidelines/specifications for the full kit PPE that the guides must wear if they are to avoid having to be quarantined for 14 days after the tour?
They should wear a mask, visor and hazmat kit.
Is there a requirement for MOH monitoring process for the tour crew who are being isolated post tour. If so how does this happen.
There is no monitoring process.
Is the PCR test mandatory for the tour crew before each tour?
This is not mandatory but advisable.
What is the plan to support DMCs to obtain the health insurance for guides and drivers.
A policy from Peoples Insurance has been communicated. SLAITO is working on a few alternatives as well.
Is insurance mandatory for Drivers, Chauffeurs and Guides? Do we need to arrange it or does the driver has to arrange it himself?
We recommend the DMC to arrange it. It is mandatory.
What is the process dual citizens, foreign passport holders and spouses of foreign nationals?
For Dual Nationals, Spouses & Resident Visa holders, the DMC will need to write to HelloAgain@srilanka.travel with the Name, Passport No, Arrival flight details & nationality and also confirming the receipt of payment for PCR tests/insurance to get a special letter issued. They do not need an ETA and that field can be left blank.
Does the SLTDA recognize the MOH approval for DMCs instead of Safe & Secure, what is the process to obtain it?
There is no process in place as off now. SLAITO is working this out and will provide information. However, please do try and go through the SLTDA’s KPMG or Ernst & Young Safe & Secure process.
What is the procedure of managing a business traveller coming to Sri Lanka for an Exhibition? (Though the business visa not necessary to follow all the guidelines, this customer want to go out to participate the exhibition, which will open for general public.)
Not covered. But they can come through the Tourist Process if required.
When will the Indo-Sri Lanka travel bubble will be active?
The process is under discussion and once this is done, it will be announced.
What are the Air Lines confirming their interest to fly MRIA on Schedule basis? and from When?
The Civil Aviation Authority should be contacted for this.