Sri Lanka is becoming an ever-popular tourist destination, with tourist arrivals from outside the tropical country growing by as much as 300 percent in the last 6 years. It is now also easier than ever for foreign citizens to travel to the country for a holiday after the implementation of the Sri Lanka visa online. The simple application process for the electronic visa eliminates the need to apply for a travel document from an embassy or consulate or wait in long queues for a Sri Lanka visa on arrival.
Sri Lanka has been on many traveler’s ‘must-visit’ lists for a long time now because of its tropical climate and a wide variety of historical and cultural attractions, but if you are wondering whether it is still safe to travel to Sri Lanka for a holiday after the Sri Lanka Easter bombings in April 2019, the answer is ‘yes’ and you are about to learn why we feel confident to say so.
Is Sri Lanka Safe to Travel Now?
Terrorism in Sri Lanka was previously a huge problem, particularly during the period of civil war in the country (1983-2009). However, since the end of the conflict, Sri Lanka has been known as a relatively safe holiday destination.
On Sunday, April 21st, 2009, explosions occurred at several churches and hotels in Colombo, the capital. A local Islamist terrorist group was later identified as the culprit for the attacks and security was significantly increased across the island. The Sri Lankan authorities made a number of arrests related to the Easter bombings and stepped up police operations, including temporary evacuations of buildings and controlled explosions of suspicious packages and vehicles.
Sri Lanka Safety Tips for Tourists
Despite the sorrowful April 2019 events, those who are planning to visit or have already made travel arrangements need not abandon their plans completely. Foreign citizens are still able to travel to and within Sri Lanka. It is only advised that they exercise caution, keep up to date with developments and follow government travel advice.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), for example, is advising British travelers to Sri Lanka to take the following travel and safety precautions:
- Check services are running as normal with your travel provider well in advance. Check suggested check-in times, and allow extra travel time for increased security and longer queues for taxi pick-ups than normal
- Keep in regular contact with your airline, tour operator and travel insurance company
- Avoid traveling during the night-time curfew. However, the Sri Lankan authorities have confirmed that those with a valid passport and flight ticket for the day of travel are still able to travel to and from the airport during the periods of curfew
- Avoid religious gatherings and places of worship, demonstrations, and other crowded public places, as the attacks on April 21st took place in similar locations
- Follow the advice of Sri Lanka security authorities and hotel security staff
- Keep family and friends up-to-date with your travel plans.
In conclusion, as long as travelers remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings, particularly when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues, they will still be able to enjoy a safe and productive stay in Sri Lanka.