Saturday, 8 June 2019

UK Government issues a change to its Sri Lanka travel advice

The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office has changed its travel advice for travellers to Sri Lanka this week,  it no longer warns against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka. 

The Government agency says that whilst terrorists are still very likely to try to carry out attacks in the country and the attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. 

Security has been stepped up across the island and a State of Emergency remains in place. The authorities have announced emergency regulations that ban the wearing of clothing or objects that conceal the face in such a way that prevents the wearer’s identification. Travel within Sri Lanka may take longer than normal – you should check with your travel provider well in advance and allow extra time. If you’re travelling from Colombo Airport, check the latest advice from your airline or tour operator about check-in times. Some airlines are advising passengers to arrive early due to increased security screening.

The Sri Lankan Government continues to use curfews as part of ongoing security operations. Most recently these have been put in place at short notice, and some have been limited to specific areas. The Sri Lankan authorities have confirmed that passengers with a passport and a valid flight ticket (including electronic ticket) can travel to the airport during curfew periods.

 Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We have kept our travel advice for Sri Lanka under constant review since the Easter Sunday attacks when we advised against all but essential travel. Our latest assessment of the risk to British nationals now means we have revised our travel advice accordingly.

The safety and security of British nationals is always our sole concern in determining travel advice and we continue to advise British nationals travelling to Sri Lanka to remain vigilant and check our travel advice on"

The FCO still warns that in some parts of the country that women should be especially aware that western women continue to report incidents of verbal and physical harassment by groups of men. Such harassment- ranging from sexually suggestive or lewd comments to physical advances and sexual assaults - can occur any time or anywhere, but most frequently has taken place in crowded areas such as market places, railway stations, buses, public streets and sporting events. There has been an increase in sexual attacks against females in tourist areas. There have been reports of drinks being spiked with drugs in bars and restaurants in southern beach resorts. Be careful about taking drinks from strangers at bars and restaurants, and don’t leave drinks unattended. Women should take particular care when travelling alone or in small groups, and carry a personal alarm.

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