The United States revamped its warnings about the risks of traveling to other countries and Sri Lanka is listed among countries that the lowest advisory level for safety and security risks in the new four-point safety ranking system.
Accordingly, Sri Lanka is listed as a Level-1 country which means ‘Exercise normal precautions when traveling to Sri Lanka’.
However, neighbouring India and Maldives were listed as Level-2, ‘Exercise increased caution.’
For India, it states, “Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism. Some areas have increased risk”, while for Maldivesits, “Exercise increased caution in Maldives due to terrorism.”
Among the other countries in Level-1: “Exercise normal precautions” are Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Sweden and Switzerland.Level-1 is the lowest advisory level.
The United States unveiled the new system on Wednesday (Jan 10), along with an interactive world map to warn its citizens about the dangers of foreign travel.
AFP reports that some countries have complained in the past that the travel warnings exaggerate dangers and damage tourism, or suspect they have been subjected to a US diplomatic rebuke.
Ten war zones and failed states are ranked Level Four, "Do Not Travel": Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
North Korea is also Level Four, with the additional restriction that US law prohibits American travelers from using their passports there, effectively banning visits.
However, each warning is accompanied by a country page on the travel.state.gov website, explaining what specific threats have been identified and why the advice has been given.
Major European allies like Britain, France and Germany are Level Two, "exercise increased caution," while authoritarian Uzbekistan gets Level One, "exercise usual precautions."
But Cuba is ranked only Level-3, "Reconsider Travel."
The United States itself is not rated in the new system.
Four-point safety ranking system
Level 1 -Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time.
Level 2 -Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Level 3 - Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Level 4 -Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.