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Foreign Office warns Brits not to travel to Sri Lanka unless it’s absolutely essential

Foreign Office travel advice for Sri Lanka has been updated with UK holidaymakers being warned not to travel to the country unless it’s for an essential reason

The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka

The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka and urged Brits to avoid travelling to the country unless it’s absolutely necessary.

The change in advice comes after nationwide protests have been taking place across Sri Lanka, as the country faces an economic crisis which includes shortages of medicines, fuel, and food. Locals are also suffering from daily power cuts due to electricity rationing.

Protests have been taking place since March 31, while a State of Emergency has been declared in May, alongside an island-wide curfew.

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Violence against peaceful protestors in recent days has prompted Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to warn UK travellers not to travel unless they have an essential reason.

The new advice reads: “The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka, due to ongoing political and economic instability. This advice does not apply to airside transit through Sri Lanka’s international airport.”

The Foreign Office warns that “several incidents took place on 9 May involving violence against peaceful protesters” on May 9 including areas in Colombo and Kandy, and that “further incidents could take place”.







Protestors demanding that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa steps down immediately hold up their mobile phones with lights switched on at the Galle Face in Colombo
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Image:

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

If you have a holiday or trip booked to Sri Lanka, you’ll need to get in touch with your tour operator and airline direct.

When the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel, travel firms will usually cancel any trips they are operating and offer customers options such as rebooking to a later date, or receiving a full refund. They may also offer you an alternative holiday for the same dates you were due to travel on, which you can also choose if you wish.

For example, TUI has already confirmed it is cancelling holidays through to late May as a result of the change in advice, although it said that anyone currently on holiday can continue their getaway as planned.







Police inspect the scene of a vehicle destroyed during clashes in Colombo, Sri Lanka
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Image:

Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock)

The travel giant issued a statement explaining: “Due to the ongoing political and economic instability in Sri Lanka, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) have advised against all but essential travel.

“As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel all holidays to Sri Lanka departing up to and including 27th May 2022.”

“We will be proactively contacting all impacted customers in departure date order to discuss their options.

“Please note this advice does not apply to customers transiting through Sri Lanka’s international airport and customers currently in resort can continue to enjoy their holiday as planned.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and update customers should there be any further updates.

“We would like to thank our customers for their understanding at this time.”

If you have booked your flights and hotel separately, you’ll need to get in touch with your airline and accommodation direct. As flights to Sri Lanka aren’t banned, it could be that your flight is still scheduled to go ahead – in which case receiving a refund isn’t guaranteed.

In this case, you may need to compromise such as accepting vouchers, rebooking to a later date, or switching flights to a different destination (although you may need to pay a difference in fare if this applies).

As for your accommodation, this will depend on the terms and conditions of your booking policy – again, you may need to compromise with a rebooking instead of a refund.

It’s worth noting that if you choose to travel against Foreign Office advice, your travel insurance will be void – so if anything goes wrong such as lost luggage or illness, you could end up facing some hefty bills.

You can get more information about the situation in Sri Lanka and expanded travel advice at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka.