Travel advice tweaks for Sri Lanka ‘still unfair’

The UK government has tweaked its travel advice for Sri Lanka, but campaigners believe further changes are still required.

An open letter published in January called for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to update its advice, describing sections as “overly harsh”, “outdated” and “synthetic”.

The advice has now been changed slightly, with a reference to roadblocks amended.

Sam Clark, managing director of Sri Lanka specialist Experience Travel Group, said the advice is now “much better and more contextualised, but still not reflective of the current situation on the ground”.

In February, the advice stated: “Protests, demonstrations, roadblocks and violent unrest can happen anywhere across the island at short notice, and security authorities may use tear gas and water cannons against protesters. The authorities may impose restrictions, including curfews, with little or no notice. Avoid demonstrations, political protests or large gatherings.”

The updated advice reads: “Protests and demonstrations can happen anywhere across the island at short notice, and can become violent. Security authorities may use water cannons and tear gas to control protesters.

“Large-scale protests in 2022 resulted in violence and loss of life. Movement around the island was difficult due to restrictions such as curfews and roadblocks. Avoid demonstrations, political protests or large gatherings.”

Earlier this year, Clark and his fellow campaigners expressed disappointment with the advice’s claim that violent unrest could happen anywhere in Sri Lanka at short notice. They were also unhappy with the appeal to UK travellers to avoid crowded places, which Clark said was “particularly excessive and unfair”.

The FCDO has been contacted for comment.

Related Articles

St Kitts maintains UK trade focus for remainder of year

Dubai flight disruption continues after ‘unprecedented’ weather

Singapore ‘pretty close’ to recovering pre-pandemic tourism figures