The Foreign Office has strengthened its Sri Lanka travel advisory to advise against all but essential travel to the country owing to “ongoing political and economic instability”.
It follows several weeks of unrest in the country, which led to prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigning on Monday (9 May) following a mass cabinet resignation. Several people have died in clashes, and hundreds are reported to have been injured.
Rajapaksa’s younger brother Gotabaya, the country’s president, has since installed veteran senior opposition MP Ranil Wickremesinghe to lead a proposed cross-party government.
The FCDO on Friday afternoon (13 May) stepped up its advice following the country’s declaration of a state of emergency and the imposition of an island-wide curfew.
Authorities have this week used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, according to the FCDO. There have also been incidents in and around the city of Kandy and other parts of the country.
“Further incidents could take place,” said the FCDO, which is advising anyone in Sri Lanka, or anyone considering travel there, to avoid all protests and follow the advice of local authorities.
The fresh advice does not apply to airside transit through Sri Lanka’s main international airport, Bandaranaike.
According to the FCDO, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has confirmed international travellers can use their passports and airline tickets as curfew passes to travel to and from the airport.
The economic situation is deteriorating in Sri Lanka with shortages of basic necessities including medicines, cooking gas, fuel and food because of a shortage of hard currency to pay for imports,” said the FCDO.
“There may be long queues at shops and supermarkets, fuel stations and pharmacies. There are ongoing daily power cuts due to electricity rationing.
“There have been a number of protests since 31 March 2022. Further protests are likely to take place across the island. The government of Sri Lanka may impose local restrictions at short notice.”
Link – TTG – Travel industry news – Foreign Office strengthens Sri Lanka travel advice (ttgmedia.com)