Travel advisories against SL galore as uncertainty mounts

  • UK, New Zealand issue fresh warnings to their citizens against visiting SL
  • Worsening of economic crisis and potential for civil unrest cited as reasons
  • USA, EU, Canada, Australia and Ireland continue to maintain their travel advisories issued months ago
  • Likely to have a massive impact on already struggling tourism sector in country
  • SLTDA chief says steps will be taken to “soften” impact of such warnings where possible

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam 
The travel advisories against visiting Sri Lanka, which were slightly relaxed just weeks ago, are now back and they could further hurt the already struggling tourism sector. 

As the situation in the country is showing no signs of improving and with public agitation against the government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe getting intensified, governments across the world are cautioning their citizens against visiting Sri Lanka.  

The United Kingdom and New Zealand issued fresh warnings to their citizens this week, advising them against any non-essential travel to Sri Lanka. 

The two governments updated their respective travel advisories by citing the worsening economic crisis and the potential for civil unrest. In mid-June, Tourism Minister Harin Fernando was in the United Kingdom, where he met with the UK travel and tourism industry personnel to increase tourist traffic from that country.  Fernando also held discussions with New Zealand High Commissioner in Colombo Michael Appleton last week, where the duo discussed how the two countries can work together to develop tourism and other areas. 

Other nations that continue to maintain travel advisories against Sri Lanka include the United States of America, Europe Union, Canada, Australia and Ireland. 

Commenting on the travel advisories, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priantha Fernando said it is the responsibility of the respective governments to inform their citizens of ground conditions abroad. 

“What is being touched upon are the inconveniences tourists might have to undergo in #SriLanka due to the current conditions,” tweeted Fernando yesterday. 

The SLTDA chief said the required steps would be taken to “soften” the impact of such warnings where possible.
“We are continuously working on providing a hassle-free experience to tourists who visit #SriLanka,” he added in his tweet.

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka for the month of June totalled 32,856, recording a marginal increase when compared with the previous month, largely influenced by the Australia tour of Sri Lanka, which commenced in early June. 
For the first half of 2022, a total of 411,337 tourists had visited Sri Lanka against the 17,000 tourists in the COVID-hit first half of 2021.



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