FCDO relaxes Sri Lanka travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has relaxed its advice for visiting Sri Lanka and no longer warns against all but essential travel.

Last month, the FCDO said people should only travel to the Indian Ocean destination for essential purposes due to the “ongoing political and economic instability”, which has seen prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resign amid weeks of protests where several people have died.

The advice against non-essential travel has now been lifted, although the economic situation in Sri Lanka is still described as “challenging”.

The advice states: “There may be long queues at shops at supermarket, fuel stations and pharmacies. There may be difficulties or delays obtaining taxis and other public transport. There are ongoing daily power cuts due to electricity rationing.”

The update comes three weeks after specialist Sri Lanka tour operators said they remained “cautiously optimistic” about the summer.

Experience Travel Group and Travel Gallery, both Aito members and specialists in the island country, issued a joint statement which stated the advisory against essential travel “was not yet a disaster for Sri Lankan tourism” because it was issued during the low season. The summer season starts in July.

They predicted the country would be “great value for overseas visitors” when advice was lifted following the depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee against the US dollar.

On Thursday, Tui extended the cancellation of its Sri Lanka holidays until the end of the month.

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