Travel Advisory Updates
Travel advisories to Sri Lanka have been lifted or downgraded by the following Governments:
17th July 2019
- JICA supports recovery of Sri Lanka’s tourism sector
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry, successfully completed a joint seminar for the “Recovery of Tourism Sector in Sri Lanka after the Easter Bombings 2019” targeting officials and professionals in the tourism sector. Masato Takamatsu, the Managing Director & Chief Research Officer and Head of Tourism Crisis Management Consulting at Japan Travel Bureau, Tourism Research & Consulting, in his keynote presentation shared experiences of Japan and best practices of other countries how a crisis can be utilized as an opportunity to “Build-Back-Better” a tourism sector in Sri Lanka. Representatives from the Ministry, Tourism Promotion Bureau, Tourism Development Authority, Institute of Hotel School Management, Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators, and The Sri Lanka Hotel Association attended the seminar which was chaired by the Ministry Secretary. (Colombo Page)
16th July 2019
- Familiarization tour for Australian travel & tour operators
A team of 18 Australian travel and tour operators arrived in Sri Lanka on a 10-day long familiarisation tour hosted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB). Tourist arrivals from Australia have shown a steady incline in recent months and it is envisioned that the familiarisation tour would capitalise on this wave of interest. Over 4,000 tourists had arrived from Australia to Sri Lanka mostly by air during the month of June this year. The tour operators prior to the familiarisation tour had cited that tourists from Australia were particularly interested in the cultural triangle, the beaches down south and exploring both Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya. This customised tour will take the 18 tour agents on a 10-day tour starting from Negombo, Habarana, Trincomalee, Kandy, Dambulla, Mirissa, Ahungalla and return to Colombo before their departure.(FT.lk)
- Concerns among the industry regarding slow implementation & delays in recovery plan and PR campaign
Colombo City Tourist Hotels Association (CCTHA) President M. Shanthikumar who is also Vice Chairman of the broader Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) yesterday whilst acknowledging that many initial measures have taken off expressed sentiments within the industry of wanting faster implementation given the challenge of recovery. He explained that there is a fear that a false sense of complacency has arisen on the basis of a pickup in tourist arrivals in June compared with May. He further explained that the industry is also yet to see the full fruition of the ‘Recovery Plan’ proposed by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and approved by the Cabinet. The delay in the roll out of the announced aggressive PR campaign was stated as another concern. (FT.lk)
15th July 2019
- July tourist Arrivals expected to top 100,000
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Johanne Jayaratne, speaking to Media has explained that Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals have recovered to a daily average of 3,500 in the first week of July. He added that tourist arrivals in July are expected to top 100,000, while a massive recovery in the tourism industry is expected during the coming months, particularly between September and December. (News1st)
- PM assures growth in arrival numbers for July & August
During a speech in Trincomalee, Prome Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe is quoted as saying “Because of the swift action taken by the government, arrivals rose to 63,000 in June…Arrivals will grow to 100,000 by end of July and 125,000 in the following month.” Sri Lanka’s arrivals were down 57 percent from a year earlier in June. A total of 100,000 would make it about 50 percent of the volume of arrivals compared to last July when 212,000 visitors came.(ECONOMYNEXT)
14th July 2019
- YouLead and Kandy Hoteliers Association partner to save jobs and strengthen tourism industry
The Kandy Hoteliers Association (KHA) launched a soft skills training program in Kandy on 10 July for tourism and hospitality industry employees. The program was launched in collaboration with YouLead, a $ 12 million program funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) to improve technical and vocational education and training, create a more skilled workforce, and link youth to more productive careers.(DailyFT)
- Arrivals numbers to SL further improving
The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau has indicated that Arrivals to the country have improved even further since its last update. “In the first week of July, arrivals averaged 3,200 a day,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomes is quoted as saying. The number is a recovery from the average 2,500 a day arrivals in the last week of June. “We are seeing a recovery in arrivals, which is encouraging,” Gomes said.(ECONOMYNEXT)
13th July 2019
- Sri Lanka – Greater Mekong Business Council Meeting to be held in Colombo
The Sri Lanka – Greater Mekong Business Council will hold its 8th Annual General Meeting on the 18th of July at the Colombo Club, Taj Samudra. The AGM will feature a presentation on “Opportunities available for Sri Lankan Companies in the Greater Mekong Subregion” by Ruvini Fernando, Director – PPP Advisory and Deals Strategy, PricewaterhouseCoopers Sri Lanka.
- Tourism the only way to eradicate poverty – Kishu Gomes
SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes stressed that tourism is the only way to eradicate poverty in the country. Gomes pointed out that tourism has the potential of becoming a US $10 billion industry over the years, becoming the top foreign exchange generator for the country, and noted that 15 percent year-on-year growth is required to reach that. “Given that tourism has to be the number one revenue generator for the country, it’s everyone’s responsibility to do something to contribute to industry’s growth, at least with a smile. We need to create a conducive environment for tourists visiting the country” he explained.
12th July 2019
- Sri Lanka revival event to be held in London
The Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance together with the Specialist Tour Operators Association in the UK, supported by the Promotion Bureau, is holding a Sri Lanka Revival event at a prestigious venue in London on July 16th, with acceptances from over 100 key UK travel trade members, 25 travel media and local hoteliers. This private-sector driven event will include a panel session moderated by the Editor of the Travel Trade Gazette, the leading trade publication in the UK.
- Record Tourist Arrivals – SLTPB
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Kishu Gomes has stated that Sri Lanka is experiencing a new record of tourist arrivals. “The average tourist arrival in May was 1200 but by June we managed to take the numbers up to 2200. If you look at the rate of recovery it is about 66% month on month basis. July, to-date, for the first 7 days the average number has risen to 3200. From June to July the recovery is over 40%.” He explained at an event in Colombo.
- Sri Lanka ranked Number 1 in Travel+Leisure readers’ picks for the world’s best islands
For the annual ‘World’s best’ awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on their travel experiences from around the globe. For this specific award readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value. Sri Lanka ranked at top place for best island category.
11th July 2019
- Sri Lanka plans to relaunch free tourist visa in August
Sri Lanka is mulling re-launching a free visa for 39 countries which was halted due to the Easter Attacks. Tourism Minister John Amaratunga is quoted as saying that the six-month visa free program will be launched on August 01 following cabinet approval. He has further explained that 39 countries, which exclude the top markets India and China, will receive free visa.(ECONOMYNEXT)
- New Student & Resident visa regulations
The Sri Lanka immigration Department has announced that student visas will be issued only for one year, amending the previous policy which allowed visas to be issued for the full duration of the study programme. The Department further states that individuals who maintain cash deposits to obtain resident visas must invest those funds within one-month of obtaining the visa. Visas of those who do not adhere to this regulation would be cancelled. Moreover persons who maintain deposits of USD 500,000 will be offered a 10-year resident visa while those having a deposit of USD 300,000 will be given a five-year resident visa.(Times online)
10th July 2019
- Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance concludes 2 day workshop
The Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance concluded a 2 day workshop yesterday with segments that included the participation of members from THASL, SLAITO & key interlocutors involved in Sri Lanka’s Private tourism sector. The sessions aimed to streamline the scope of the Alliance, that was formed in the immediate aftermath of the Easter Attacks, and to further plan the way forward of its complementary work with other partners.
- Bangladesh, first cricket team to visit Sri Lanka after Easter Attacks
The Sri Lanka cricket board has announced that Bangladesh will be the first team to tour Sri Lanka since the Easter attacks. Bangladesh will play three One-Day Internationals on July 26, 28 and 31 at the Premadasa International Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement.
9th July 2019
- Advisory Group of Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance holds meetings on way forward
The Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance kicked off a 2 day advisory group meeting in Colombo yesterday, meeting with key stakeholders & exploring the substantive issues faced by the island’s private tourism sector, followed by a broader discussion on the way forward for the Alliance.
- Sri Lanka cuts costs for airlines to revive tourism
The ground handling charges, aviation fuel, and embarkation levy will be reduced for six months, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said in a statement.
The aviation-related discounts aim to encourage airlines to reduce airline ticket prices and combine the specially priced tickets with discounts being offered by hotels and restaurants in Sri Lanka.
The measures were approved by the Cabinet of ministers this week.(ECONOMYNEXT)
8th July 2019
- Increased Tourist arrivals cited as one reason for improved stock market
Media outlets have reported that the launch of mega infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, along with improved tourist arrivals in the month of June, have improved the status of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), sending the indices significantly upwards.
- Sri Lanka – Germany fast track dialogue to assist investors and tourism
The Sri Lanka – Germany fast track dialogue was held recently at the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade with the objective of addressing central issues faced by German enterprises operating in Sri Lanka under the BOI as well as facilitate new investments. On the subject of tourism, Malik Samarawickrama, minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, explained that security had been strengthened at the airport and hotels in the island. He further explained that a tourism promotion campaign would be held in Berlin to address tourists and travel agents and educate them about Sri Lanka and that a total of 8 leading tourism generating countries were targeted for a recovery plan. It was noted that 4 tourism road shows would be held in Berlin, Stuttgart and other German cities.
7th July 2019
- New Zealand to kick off their Test Cricket Championship in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Cricket have announced a series of two Tests and three T20Is against New Zealand in August-September, with the visitors set to arrive in Colombo on August 3 and stay in the country till September 7. (Cricinfo)
- THASL reaffirms the importance of tolerance & respect in the island.
The Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) in a release has condemned any form of discrimination taking root across the island. THASL President Sanath Ukwatte in a statement explained “…Sri Lanka is one of the most tolerant and friendliest countries in the world. Our admiration, tolerance and respect for other religions and cultures are one of the main reasons why visitors are attracted to the country, we were often referred to as the “Island of Serendipity” by ancient travellers to the country…multiculturalism, ethnic harmony and understanding different cultures is embedded in Sri Lankans and THASL strongly believes these are essential elements needed to develop a vibrant tourism industry”.
6th July 2019
- Tourist Arrivals surpass 1 million mark in Sri Lanka
Over one million tourists have visited Sri Lanka in 2019, official statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) showed. Of the 1,008,449 tourists that have visited over 97,000 were from China. Other top markets included India, Australia, Britain and the Maldives.
- Sri Lanka to cut embarkation tax by US$10 to boost tourism
Sri Lanka is planning to cut the embarkation tax on tourists by 10 US dollars to boost tourism in the wake of Easter Sunday attacks, an official said. Vice Chairman of Sri Lanka Airport and Aviation Services Ltd Priyantha Kariyapperuma said the embarkation tax will lower ticket prices and make Sri Lanka more affordable.
5th July 2019
- Sri Lanka plans US$50mn cable car project in Nuwara Eliya
Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had given initial clearance for a cable car project in hill country town of Nuwara Eliya targeting local and foreign tourists, the state information office said. A 50 million US dollar project has been proposed by a firm called Outdoor Engineering Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and its partner Doppelmayr Cable Car, a foreign firm. The firm will build a cable car system on 21 towers running from Nanu Oya railway station to Lake Gregory in Nuwara Eliya.
- Sri Lankan Hotel ranked among the top 100 luxury hotels in the world
The Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya was ranked among the top 100 luxury hotels of the world at the hotel of year awards for 2019.
- Government is taking all measures to enable tourists to return to Sri Lanka – PM
In a special statement Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has expressed the Government’s hopes to take steps to further revive the island’s tourism sector. The statement was given in light of the travel publisher, Lonely Planet, retaining Sri Lanka’s position as the number 1 destination to visit in 2019.
4th July 2019
- Increase in Tourist Arrivals to Sri Lanka
While in comparison to 2018’s data, tourist arrivals are down significantly, there has been a 66% increase in June as opposed to the previous month. The Tourism Ministry’s data shows the total number of international tourist arrivals in June was 63,072, up from 37,802 as reported in May.
- Japan relaxes its advisory on Sri Lanka
The Japanese Government relaxed its travel advisory on Sri Lanka late last month and it is currently at a level 1 advisory.
3rd July 2019
- Lonely planet retains Sri Lanka as number 1 destination to visit in 2019.
Sri Lanka is still listed as travel publisher, Lonely Planet’s number 1 destination to travel to in 2019, following the Easter Attacks that put the country’s tourist industry on a standstill. “The country has been upset, but continues to be an incredible place to visit. It still tops our Best in Travel for 2019,” says Lonely Planet writer Caterina Hrysomallis.
- Sports & Bollywood Stars to visit Sri Lanka shortly
Sachin Tendulkar and a line up of Bollywood stars will be promoting Sri Lanka tourism to the Indian market in a tour in August. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomez explained that they would be here to attend a Colombo Fashion Week event that would be organized especially to boost tourism in the country.
2nd July 2019
- Final decision to be taken on cutting airfares to boost tourism
Top officials of SLTDA, Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, SriLankan Airlines, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Finance Ministry were invited yesterday to attend a meeting at Temple Trees which aimed to finalize the decision on cutting airfares to boost tourism. Chaired by the Prime Minister, the meeting evaluated potential changes that could be made including the possible reduction of ground handling charges by 40% and the reduction of the embarkation levy from US$60 to US$40.
- Sri Lanka Tourism Authority Chairman says industry is recovering faster than expected
SLTA Chairman Kishu Gomes has explained that the country is currently recovering faster than initially expected and was thinking beyond just the recovery phase. He further noted that large scale international events were planned in Colombo in the coming months.
1st July 2019
- Chinese travel-promotion delegation to tour Sri Lanka in July
Sri Lankan authorities have organized a Chinese delegation of 100 travel agents to tour the island from the 1st to 7th July. Several Chinese journalists have already completed a familiarization visit. Both tours have been organized with the aim of increasing Chinese Tourist arrivals to the island again.