Travel News & Updates
Latest updates from Sri Lanka.
05th October 2022
The Australian Government relaxes travel advisory on Sri Lanka
The Australian government announced the relaxation of the travel advisory to Sri Lanka on the 05th of October 2022, from the state of ‘only essential travel’ to ‘exercise caution’.
Despite the improvements in the security condition, there are still challenges connected to the supply of imported goods, fuel and medicine in Sri Lanka. Disrupted supply chains have caused food and medicine shortages, especially in remote areas, but most hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and private hospitals have supplies. The limited duration of power outages occurs frequently, but most tourist facilities have backup generators. It is also urged for Aussie travellers to actively monitor developments, conduct in-depth security assessments of their own, and have a contingency plan for emergencies. It is also advised to closely observe the weather conditions as flooding and landslides occur during the monsoon season.
23rd September 2022
The U.S. Government relaxes travel advisory on Sri Lanka
The U.S. government announced the relaxation of the travel advisory to Sri Lanka on the 22nd of September 2022, from the state of ‘only essential travel’ to ‘exercise caution’.
Despite the improvements in the security condition, there are still challenges connected to the supply of imported goods, fuel and medicine in Sri Lanka. Disrupted supply chains have caused food and medicine shortages, especially in remote areas, but most hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and private hospitals have supplies. The limited duration of power outages occurs frequently, but most tourist facilities have backup generators. It is also urged for American travellers to actively monitor developments, conduct in-depth security assessments of their own, and have a contingency plan for emergency situations.
05th September 2022
Belgium relaxes travel advisory on Sri Lanka
The travel warnings against Sri Lanka were relaxed on the 05th of September, 2022, by Belgium, alongside Sweden, the Netherlands, and Canada, providing the country’s tourism sector with a much-needed boost.
In light of recent events, the relevant governments have advised their citizens to travel to Sri Lanka with extreme caution. While urging their residents to abide by local authorities’ orders, they often issue cautionary statements about potential shortages of fuel and medications.
Belgian visitors have also been advised to learn more about the current situation and potential curfews before and during their trip by contacting the local media, tour operators, or a contact person locally.
Against Sri Lanka, travel advisories have eased in a total of 11 nations. UK, Switzerland, and others are among them.
01st September 2022
Sri Lanka secures IMF agreement to support the country for the next 4 years
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Sri Lankan government and the IMF have reached a staff-level agreement to support Sri Lanka’s economic policies with approximately US$2.9 billion under a 48-month – Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.
Sri Lankans have faced acute shortages of fuel and other essentials for months, leaving the country in political turmoil and inflation which is currently soaring at almost 65%. As Sri Lanka was seeking up to $3 billion from the global lender in a bid to escape its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, the government officials reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 31st August 2022.
Staff-level IMF agreements are yet to receive formal approval from its management and executive board before Sri Lanka is eligible for funding.
Following is the full statement issued by the IMF:
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Peter Breuer and Mr. Masahiro Nozaki visited Colombo from August 24 to September 1, 2022 to continue discussions on IMF support for Sri Lanka and the authorities’ comprehensive economic reform program.
At the end of the mission, Messrs. Breuer and Nozaki issued the following statement:
“The Sri Lankan authorities and the IMF team have reached staff-level agreement to support the authorities’ economic adjustment and reform policies with a new 48-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with a requested access of about SDR 2.2 billion (equivalent to US$2.9 billion).
“The new EFF arrangement will support Sri Lanka’s program to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability, while safeguarding financial stability, reducing corruption vulnerabilities and unlocking Sri Lanka’s growth potential. The agreement is subject to the approval by IMF management and the Executive Board in the period ahead, contingent on the implementation by the authorities of prior actions, and on receiving financing assurances from Sri Lanka’s official creditors and making a good faith effort to reach a collaborative agreement with private creditors. Debt relief from Sri Lanka’s creditors and additional financing from multilateral partners will be required to help ensure debt sustainability and close financing gaps.
“Sri Lanka has been facing an acute crisis. Vulnerabilities have grown owing to inadequate external buffers and an unsustainable public debt dynamic. The April debt moratorium led to Sri Lanka defaulting on its external obligations, and a critically low level of foreign reserves has hampered the import of essential goods, including fuel, further impeding economic activity. The economy is expected to contract by 8.7 percent in 2022 and inflation recently exceeded 60 percent. The impact has been disproportionately borne by the poor and vulnerable.
“Against this backdrop, the authorities’ program, supported by the Fund, would aim to stabilize the economy, protect the livelihoods of the Sri Lankan people, and prepare the ground for economic recovery and promoting sustainable and inclusive growth.
“Key elements of the program are:
- Raising fiscal revenue to support fiscal consolidation. Starting from one of the lowest revenue levels in the world, the program will implement major tax reforms. These reforms include making personal income tax more progressive and broadening the tax base for corporate income tax and VAT. The program aims to reach a primary surplus of 2.3 percent of GDP by 2024.
- Introducing cost-recovery based pricing for fuel and electricity to minimize fiscal risks arising from state-owned enterprises. The team welcomed the authorities’ already announced substantial revenue measures and energy pricing reforms;
- Mitigating the impact of the current crisis on the poor and vulnerable by raising social spending, and improving the coverage and targeting of social safety net programs;
- Restoring price stability through data-driven monetary policy action, fiscal consolidation, phasing out monetary financing, and stronger central bank autonomy that allow pursuing a flexible inflation targeting regime. A new Central Bank Act is a cornerstone of this strategy;
- Rebuilding foreign reserves through restoring a market-determined and flexible exchange rate, supported by the comprehensive policy package under the program;
- Safeguarding financial stability by ensuring a healthy and adequately capitalized banking system, and by upgrading financial sector safety nets and regulatory standards with a revised Banking Act; and
- Reducing corruption vulnerabilities through improving fiscal transparency and public financial management, introducing a stronger anti-corruption legal framework, and conducting an in-depth governance diagnostic, supported by IMF technical assistance.
“The IMF team held meetings with President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Secretary to the Treasury K M Mahinda Siriwardana, and other senior government and CBSL officials. It also met with Parliamentarians, representatives from the private sector, civil society organizations and development partners.
“We would like to thank the authorities for their candid approach and warm hospitality and are looking forward to continuing our engagement in support of Sri Lanka and its people.”
29th August 2022
Sweden relaxes travel advisory on Sri Lanka
On 29th August, Sweden relaxed the travel advisory for Sri Lanka, stating, “Due to the improved security situation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs no longer advises against travel to Sri Lanka.”
Previously, Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs advised against non-essential travel to Sri Lanka.
Followed by the UK, France, Switzerland, and Norway, Sweden has now revised their travel advisories in favour of travel to Sri Lanka by their citizens.
Sweden is considered among the top potential markets for Sri Lanka and in 2018 and 2019, there were approximately 28,267 and 22,464 tourists that respectively arrived from Sweden.
26th August 2022
The UK government relaxes travel advisory on Sri Lanka
Today (August 26), the UK government relaxed the travel warning for Sri Lanka, stating that it no longer advises against all but essential travel to the island nation.
Earlier, the UK government issued a travel warning against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka due to the country’s economic crisis, which has caused a shortage of essentials like food, cooking gas, and medicine.
The UK government has cautioned that everyday power outages occur as a result of electricity rationing, underlining how vital it is to obtain adequate travel insurance for their travels to Sri Lanka and ensure it offers enough coverage.
25th August 2022
The Norwegian Government lifts the travel advisory on Sri Lanka
The Norwegian government lifted its travel advisory to Sri Lanka which advised against all non-essential travel, on 25th August 2022. The travel warning was released on May 11th, as a result of island-wide demonstrations, curfews, and declared states of emergency in some regions of the nation. The State of Emergency, currently in place, is due to expire on 27 August 2022 as a result of improved national security.
There are still challenges connected to the supply of fuel and medicine in Sri Lanka, despite the improvements in the security condition. Travellers from Norway are advised to pack any necessary medications and to check that accommodations and transportation will have access to enough fuel throughout their stay in Sri Lanka. It is also urged for travellers to actively monitor developments and conduct in-depth security assessments of their own as well as ensure the guest travel insurance is sufficient.
Additionally, using the Reiseklar app is advised for all Norwegian nationals travelling to Sri Lanka. About 200 different countries’ most recent information is available here for visitors.
24th August 2022
The Government of Switzerland relaxes travel advisory on Sri Lanka
The Government of Switzerland relaxed its travel advisory to Sri Lanka on 24th August 2022. Switzerland generally accounts for roughly 3% of tourist arrivals and is a charter destination for Sri Lanka. Thus, with the upcoming winter season, the relaxation of the travel advisory is a timely welcome.
The travel update was published following President Ranil Wickremasinghe’s declaration that the State of Emergency will not be prolonged further.
Sri Lanka Ensures Jet Fuel for Aviation & Tourism Industries
The transport and tourism industries will operate smoothly during the forthcoming winter season as acute measures have been undertaken to secure an adequate supply of jet fuel in Sri Lanka.
The minister of ports, shipping, and aviation, declared that all necessary steps would be taken right away to resolve the issue and stabilize the aviation services.
With the help and cooperation of the CPC and the Ministry of Power and Energy, several organizations from the private sector that represent the aviation services industry confirmed that they could support and distribute aviation fuel on their own. Two crude oil tankers are expected to arrive in Colombo shortly, and a CPC representative who was present during the conversation indicated that the Sapugaskanda Refinery will be able to supply 600 metric tons of aviation fuel per day starting on August 20th to maintain supply.
Subsequently, airline representatives at the meeting highlighted the necessity of a stable supply of aviation fuel for the industry’s existence, particularly in light of the anticipated upsurge in the number of flights at Bandaranaike International Airport over the holiday season.
As the nation has seen a major decrease in flying operations due to the current difficulty in obtaining jet fuel for a period of few months, the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) claims that a swift resolution to this issue is forthcoming.
Describing the present circumstance, CAASL Chairman stressed how flights require at least 10,000 to 15,000 litres of jet fuel for emergency reserves in addition to enough fuel for the return trip. The recent fuel crisis prevented Sri Lanka from providing emergency reserves, resulting in flight cancellations and a considerable drop in flight operations.
Mr Dharmadasa further stated that due to a recent agreement between the Power and Energy Ministry and CPC to purchase jet fuel for a year, aircraft operations would resume as usual.
Sri Lanka’s President confident of economic revival
With the appointment of a New President, Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers, the island nation is gradually seeing the light of day. The queues for fuel have vanished, and the usual hubbub of city life has resumed. So have the street food vendors and their loyal customers flocking around the carts during the evening hours. The protestors have vacated the Galle Face Green, which was the designated protest site since the 9th of April, demanding a just system change.
President Ranil Wickramasinghe believes two things have helped bring about change in the country. Recently, sharing his views with The Economist from the presidential office building, the president explained that the first reason is, Sri Lankans were looking for system change. The second is that he has shown a willingness to work with all parties and ordinary citizens by stating, “We were reaching out to everyone”. In his first speech to the Parliament as president, the president spoke of creating a “People’s Assembly” to solicit views on social and political reforms and invited young people, including those “engaged in activism” to participate.
While preparing to negotiate a bailout with the IMF, the president is also establishing new monitoring committees in Parliament and encouraging youth members to participate as observers.
The president further exclaimed, “When you make changes, make it deep, make all the changes you have to make.” President Wickramasinghe is confident that he will pave the way for Sri Lanka’s economy to not just recover, but to become more competitive and export-oriented.
17th August 2022
French Government relaxes travel advisory on Sri Lanka
The government of France announced the relaxation of the travel advisory to Sri Lanka on the 16th of August 2022, from the state of ‘only essential travel’ to ‘exercise caution’.
The French government released the information a day after President Ranil Wickremesinghe declared that the current State of Emergency in the nation would not be continued after August 18, 2022, since there is no significant threat to the nation.
Sri Lanka President announces that the State of Emergency will be lifted.
As demonstrations against the previous government ceased, President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s media office declared on Tuesday (16th of August 2022) that the state of emergency that was established in the middle of last month will not be prolonged beyond this week. The State of Emergency is an administrative procedure that the government can enforce to ensure national security.
Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed as the Sri Lankan president on July 20 and has since appointed a new prime minister and made several key changes in order to change the trajectory of the country.