Has New Zealand implemented a travel warning for visiting Sri Lanka? Find out the facts… – Factcrescendo Sri Lanka
The “Daily Mirror” recently reported that New Zealand has updated its travel warning status against Sri Lanka and asked New Zealand nationals to “be more cautious” when traveling in the island nation of Sri Lanka.
However, the Factcrescendo team found this to be misleading.
what the daily mirror said
The following is an excerpt from the Daily Mirror news report.
New Zealand updates travel warning for visiting SL
“New Zealand this week updated its travel advice for citizens wishing to visit Sri Lanka, instructing them to be more cautious.
The country updated its bulletin on February 1, placing Sri Lanka at the second of four tiers. It noted New Zealanders should be more cautious in Sri Lanka due to the impact of the economic crisis, the potential for civil unrest and the risk of terrorism.
“We advise New Zealanders in Sri Lanka to avoid protests, demonstrations, political rallies and events, large crowds and queues. Follow any directions issued by local authorities, including any curfews.
Monitor local and international media, review personal safety plans, and be aware of your surroundings,” the New Zealand government said in its update.
While it did not directly state the reason for the sudden tightening of the advice, Sri Lanka is likely to be placed in a higher travel risk category due to protests expected during the 75th Independence Day celebrations. Several segments of the Sri Lankan community, including political parties, have said they will raise black flags in protest of the planned Independence Day celebrations.“
Daily Mirror | Archive
what we found…
We looked at news reports from New Zealand or any other mainstream media in Sri Lanka about the decision of the New Zealand High Commission in Colombo to update its travel warning for Sri Lanka to warn New Zealanders not to travel to Sri Lanka. However, we could not find any specific reports that highlighted this concern.
We have therefore contacted the New Zealand High Commissioner’s Office in Colombo, which said the report was misleading and targeted the New Zealand High Commissioner’s social media posts.
New Zealand’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka, Michael Appleton, said in a tweet that the report was inaccurate. He added “The Daily Mirror report also falsely claimed that our travel advice for Sri Lanka was recently “tightened” (the level of advice has remained unchanged for months) and that the language change in the travel advice was related to Independence Day (they were not ).“
The entire tweet thread of the New Zealand High Commissioner can be found here
The full statement from the New Zealand High Commission in Sri Lanka is below.
What are the different travel advisory statuses recognized by the New Zealand Government?
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued four levels of travel warnings for New Zealanders traveling to any country, as listed below.
- Take everyday safety and security precautions (previously “no significant safety risks”)
- Be more cautious (formerly “some risk”)
- Avoid non-essential travel (used to be “high risk”)
- Do not travel (formerly known as “extreme risk”)
The New Zealand Government’s official travel advice website can be accessed here.
In the travel advice of the New Zealand government website, Sri Lanka is listed as Level 2 of 4, under the “proceed with caution” level with the following warnings pertaining to Sri Lanka.
“Be more cautious in Sri Lanka due to the impact of the economic crisis, potential civil unrest and the risk of terrorism (Level 2 of 4)“,As follows.
However, like Sri Lanka, the New Zealand government has put a number of countries under the “raised alert” travel advisory category, including the US, UK, France, Germany, China, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland and others. The list of countries can be seen here.
In fact, when visiting the New Zealand government website on February 15, the first category Take normal safety and security precautions (formerly “No significant security risk”) Excludes any countries seen here.
So it’s clear that “heightened vigilance” is the New Zealand government’s level of general travel advice that applies to many countries around the world, with the exception of those listed in Avoid Non-Essential Travel (used to be “High Risk”) and Do Not Travel (formerly known as as “extreme risk”). It is clear that the status of this travel advisory is not related to any advisory against visiting a particular country.
How has the New Zealand government changed the status of travel advisories for Sri Lanka in the past?
After the insurgency in the country on July 9, 2022 led to then-President Gotabaya fleeing the country, the New Zealand government’s “Avoid unnecessary travel” Advisory to Sri Lanka. Archived advisory can be found here.
However, following the appointment of a new President Wickremesinghe, the situation in the country has stabilized somewhat, so the New Zealand government changed the warning from “avoid non-essential travel” to “raise vigilance” in September 2022. Archived warnings can be read here.
On September 1, 2022, the New Zealand High Commission in Colombo announced that the New Zealand Government has reduced the risk of its travel advisory to Sri Lanka as shown below.
In September 2022, the New Zealand Herald also reported that this is the perfect time to visit Sri Lanka. The web article can be read here. archive.
We checked the Internet Archive to check if there had been any changes in the New Zealand government’s travel advisory level for Sri Lanka since then. The investigation proved that there has been no change in the alert level of “Raised Vigilance” since it was entrusted to Sri Lanka on 1 September 2022.
While the advisory level remained the same, the situation in the country was described differently in the previous mission, which stated that, “Due to the impact of the economic crisis and the possibility of civil unrest (Level 2 of 4)“. The most recent description is “Increased vigilance due to impact of economic crisis, potential for civil unrest, and risk of terrorism (Level 2 of 4)“, an archived version of the consultation can be found here.
It is therefore clear that only the description of the level of advice has changed in relation to “Exercise Increased Caution”, which has remained unchanged for more than five months since 1 September 2022, which is consistent with the New Zealand Government’s Misleading reports do the opposite. Stricter travel warnings for visiting Sri Lanka were issued in February 2023.
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title:Has New Zealand implemented a travel warning for visiting Sri Lanka? find out the facts…
Author: Karana Krisanta