Sri Lanka

Is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka?everything you need to know

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Since March 2022, due to the severe impact of the ongoing economic crisis, there have been frequent protests in Sri Lanka. Some protests have turned violent, resulting in casualties. While the UK government lifted its warning to avoid all essential travel to the country, the underlying problem remains. Basic necessities, including medicines, fuel and food, remain in short supply, which may affect the ease and general safety of travel. Here’s what you need to know.

Main image: Seema Malaka Buddhist Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Getty Images)

A woman takes a selfie with security forces during a protest calling for the release of student activist Wasantha Mudalige in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Getty Images)

What happened in Sri Lanka?

Since March 2022, Sri Lanka has seen frequent violent protests due to the country’s severe economic crisis. The unrest led to the resignation of the entire cabinet and caused then-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country after thousands of protesters stormed his palace. In July 2022, the country’s new prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, declared Sri Lanka bankrupt.

Residents still face shortages of basic necessities such as fuel, medicine and food. Fuel shortages, in particular, have led to daily power outages and services such as trains and buses being suspended. Emergency services were also affected.

is it safe?

Sri Lanka remains open for tourism. However, shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels are all likely to be affected by shortages in the country and travel could be difficult.

Be vigilant. Protests could start and turn violent at any time, and local restrictions, including curfews, could be imposed at short notice. Some areas have a visible military presence. If you do choose to travel, please avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings and follow the advice of local authorities. If you have a medical condition, you should consult your doctor before travelling, and keep plenty of necessary medicines with you. It’s also worth carrying a flashlight in case of a power outage.

What Covid test do I need?

Effective December 2022, Sri Lanka has removed all requirements for proof of COVID-19 vaccination or pre-travel testing. Compulsory COVID-19 insurance is no longer required. However, as a tourist, you will still need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) online before travelling.

For more information on Sri Lanka, click here.

What are the limitations there?

You no longer need to wear a mask in public. However, this guidance is subject to change and the Foreign Office advises following local media, consulting your travel agent, and checking government websites, including the Ministry of Health, Epidemiology Unit or Health Promotion Agency.

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