Sri Lanka

Is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka right now?

this is the truth.

I boarded a SriLankan Airlines flight to Colombo in February. This was my first international trip after 2020 and according to the crew the flight was full. Derry is only three and a half hours away, so cramped seating without an entertainment system isn’t an annoyance. During the 7 days I spent in Sri Lanka, my photo library accumulated a roll of photos—so many that I had to upgrade my storage plan—some of which also made it to Instagram.

When I geotagged, I got asked the same question: “What’s the situation? Is it safe to go to Sri Lanka?”

Yes, Sri Lanka is safe. I took another short trip to Colombo in April and it confirmed what I had initially noticed. Everything has returned to normal, tourists need not worry. With 5% of the country’s GDP dependent on tourism, it’s important for locals to convey this message to the world.

triple whammy

In recent years, the Indian Ocean country has suffered successive crises. April 2019, 290 people killed in a series of bombings on Easter Sunday. Terrorist attacks have rocked the island, which enjoyed peace after a brutal civil war (1983-2009). Visitor numbers fell from 2.3 million in 2018 to 1.9 million in 2019.

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Then the pandemic happened. Lockdowns around the world have reduced arrivals to 500,000 in 2020, most of whom had traveled in the first three months of the year, and 194,000 in 2021.

Then there was the economic crisis last year. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Fuel and medicine shortages, inflation and rising food prices have led to mass protests against the government. Reports of the worst economic crisis since 1948 grabbed international headlines as the world watched the heartbreaking collapse. Then political turmoil destabilizes the country.

Tourism has taken another hit as people cancel plans due to mass protests and ongoing energy and food crises.


Last year, Sri Lanka saw devastating events: a 13-hour power outage, people dying while queuing for fuel, and many people being forced to skip meals as food prices soared by 95%. The situation is less hopeless at the moment, but people are still suffering. Food prices remain high and fuel rationing is in place. The cost of living has risen and an estimated 9 million people have been pushed into poverty.

However, tourists in the country have had no trouble, and tough locals want tourists to come back.

As a Sri Lankan traveler, you won’t feel strapped for cash. Taxis and motorized tricycles are easily accessible. Trains and flights are running. The hotel is managing a power outage. The mall is packed with people. Restaurants and cafes are putting out the deliciousness. I traveled from Negombo to Sigiriya to Kandy to Colombo and everything was normal – no signs of rioting. Cruise ships also call at Colombo, and I know this from first-hand experience.

Since 2022, the recovery has begun, with more than 700,000 People arrive in this island nation. The Indians lead the charge. This year has also been positive for hotels and tour guides, who are finally noticing growth after a slump in the past few years. It helps that the government is trying to attract international tourists, especially from India, but it’s also a great destination for Americans.

One US dollar equals 300 Sri Lankan rupees. With occupancy rates so low, you’ll be able to save even further. The country has beautiful coasts and pristine beaches, numerous national parks and charming hill towns that grow tea. The locals are warm and welcoming, and luxury hotels can be found in the farthest corners of the country.

In the months since my return, I have honestly responded that this is an underrated country with such a wealth of nature, culture and history that it deserves the attention of the world. And, if you’re traveling the world, plan to stop in another South Asian country (the Maldives or India) because flights to this part of the world are very expensive this year.

important reminderSri Lanka criminalizes homosexuality and advises travelers to exercise caution.

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