Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel: What Should You Do?

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  • Simon Gomperz
  • Personal finance reporter for BBC News

Image Source, Getty Images

The UK advises against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka.

The Foreign Office’s advice follows the Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 350 people.

“Terrorists are likely to attempt an attack in Sri Lanka,” it said in its advice. “Attacks may have been indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.”

Travelers should stay in touch with airlines, travel agents and insurance companies to understand their options.

They should also “remain vigilant, stay abreast of developments and follow the advice of local security and hotel security staff”.

There are an estimated 8,000 British tourists in Sri Lanka.

Is my insurance covered?

How you are covered depends on the terms of your policy.

Some insurers will cover the cost of your flight or holiday if you were scheduled to travel but cancel due to advice from the Foreign Office.

If you are already in Sri Lanka, your travel insurance will continue to cover you for medical and other risks.

If you want to go home sooner than planned, the insurance company will ask you to check with your travel agent to see if they will take you back.

But some will offer you an early return guarantee. It depends on policy.

can i go on vacation

The travel agency will not send you to Sri Lanka if it is not recommended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If departure is imminent (e.g. in the next few days), they will give you the option to postpone your travel plans (in case the advice changes), choose another holiday, or get a refund.

If this advice is still in place, the option to postpone will apparently disappear. But holidaymakers should not suffer financially.

What if I book the flight and accommodation myself?

Many people who travel to Sri Lanka make their own arrangements for holidays or to visit family or friends.

In this case, the airline may be sympathetic and allow you to rebook your flight, but they’re unlikely to offer a refund.

Some insurance policies provide coverage if you are unable to use the accommodation you have paid for, but such coverage is rare.

ABTA, the British Association of Travel Agents, believes that there are not many people on the packages in Sri Lanka, perhaps only a few hundred people. They said people there should be able to go on holiday and return at an arranged time as long as they follow the advice of the Foreign Office.

What do travel companies say?

Tour operator TUI Group said: “We have begun contacting guests at our resorts, as well as those planning to travel within the next seven days, to discuss changes to travel arrangements. The safety of our guests and staff remains our top priority.”

The Association of British Insurers said: “Travel insurance is designed to cover such unforeseen events. Cancellation coverage under travel insurance should cover additional costs that cannot be refunded by the travel provider.”

“If you are currently in Sri Lanka and wish to reduce your visit and return earlier, your travel insurance should cover any additional costs associated with rescheduling your return flight. Check that you have the necessary coverage or contact your travel insurance company.”

What do other countries say?

  • Canada: Advises against all but essential travel.
  • China: It is recommended that Chinese citizens do not travel to Sri Lanka in the near future.
  • United States: More cautious (third highest level).
  • Hong Kong: Adjust travel plans to avoid non-essential travel (second highest level).
  • Israel: Israeli travelers should leave the island as soon as possible, and travelers planning to go are advised to cancel their trips (level 2 warning).
  • Australia: Due to the higher risks, please carefully consider the need to travel to Sri Lanka. If you decide to travel, make a contingency plan and check your insurance.
  • Malta: Avoid travel to Sri Lanka.
  • Ireland: A high degree of caution is advised.

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