Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has lowered its travel advice for Sri Lanka following the deadly terror attacks on Easter Sunday in April.
As reported by Smartraveller.com.au renewDFAT has downgraded its advice for Sri Lanka from level three (“reconsider your travel needs”) to level two (“extreme caution”) for Sri Lanka.
The drop shows that Sri Lanka is moving towards a state of normalcy, but remains cautious, with high levels of security in place across the country.
The UK has lifted its travel ban and the governments of Germany, Switzerland and Austria have recently eased travel advice to Sri Lanka.
The downgrade by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade follows a group of local travel agents and journalists who will be part of a family trip to Sri Lanka next month.
in a statement Travel WeeklyLal Wickrematunge, Sri Lanka’s consul-general, said: “Most countries have revised their travel warnings for Sri Lanka, and Australia has done the same. It’s heartening, but the business starts now.”
Malik Fernando, owner of Resplendent Ceylon, said: “Tourism is the most important part of our economy, supporting one in ten households in Sri Lanka, so the easing of the warning is good news.
“We have strong links with Australia as one of our fastest growing inbound markets and look forward to welcoming visitors back with open arms. We are very grateful for the overwhelming support over the past month.”
Tour operator Beyond Travel applauded DFAT’s downgrade of Sri Lanka’s travel advice rating.
The company’s general manager of marketing, Bryce Crampton, said the update reflected the industry’s confidence and commitment to the destination.
“For a country that has experienced such prosperity, after years of instability, it is a shame to see the knock-on effects of the Easter attacks on the tourism industry and locals in Sri Lanka,” he said.
“We are grateful for the support shown by the industry in their commitment to destinations, as bookings for later in the year are slowly starting to pick up and we believe will only increase as the Australian Government’s travel warnings change.
Beyond Travel has pledged thousands of dollars in aid to suppliers amid a severe downturn in the travel industry, which has been distributed to frontline travel workers such as drivers and guides to help them weather the current financial struggle.
Those donations are critical to the survival of local ground crews, Crampton said.
“Inbound tourism is down 80 per cent and the impact on locals has been absolutely devastating, from farmers supplying hotels with eggs, to flower farmers making garlands, to restaurant staff, tour guides and drivers,” he said.
“Everyone has been severely impacted.”