India, Germany, and Switzerland, which advised their citizens to avoid unnecessary travel to Sri Lanka in the aftermath of Easter Sunday bombings, have softened their stance on the island nation.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany and The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland are now advising their citizens to be “more cautious” when travelling to Sri Lanka.
“Despite the restoration of public order, travel to Sri Lanka will continue to be more cautious. Travellers are also asked to avoid public spaces, track local media, stay in close contact with tour operators and airlines, and follow instructions from security forces,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany advised its citizens.
It also advised their citizens avoid political rallies and larger crowds due to potential communal riots.
The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland expects that the political and social tensions to remain high until the presidential elections in December 2019, which could degenerate into violent clashes nationwide at any time.
“Due to social and political tensions, strikes (Hartals) and demonstrations are possible at any time throughout the country. Violent riots may occur. Delays and hindrances to travel can also be the result,” it stated.
Germany is the fourth largest tourism source market of Sri Lanka with 156,888 tourist arrivals last year.
Switzerland is a key tourism source market of Sri Lanka in Western Europe with 33,965 tourist arrivals last year. Security situation in Sri Lanka is gradually returning to normal with the lifting of curfew and restrictions on social media and the opening of schools. Indian nationals travelling to Sri Lanka are advised to be careful and vigilant. India, the largest source market of Sri Lanka, has also softened the travel advisory on Sri Lanka and advised their citizens to travel to Sri Lanka with caution.
“Security situation in Sri Lanka is gradually returning to normal with the lifting of curfew & restrictions on social media and the opening of schools. Indian nationals travelling to Sri Lanka are advised to be careful and vigilant,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs stated.
Similarly, Sri Lanka’s second largest tourism source market, China last week softened their travel advisory on Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), President, Hairth Perera told Mirror Business that Sri Lanka’s tourism industry expects France, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States and other countries to follow suit in coming days.
The tourism industry stakeholders are planning to launch a promotional campaign, starting from India after travel advisories are softened or lifted.
Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka plunged by an estimated 85 percent in the aftermath of Easter Sunday bomb attacks in April while hotel occupancy levels have fallen below 10 percent.