After the shocking Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka two weeks ago in which some 250 people were killed, many travellers are understandably concerned about upcoming travel to the island. We’ve gathered together the latest travel advice for the island here, and will continue to update it as we receive new information.

Information correct as of 02/05/2019

UK Foreign Office advice:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka, due to the current evolving security situation following attacks on 21 April 2019. This advice does not apply if transiting Colombo airport, providing that passengers remain airside in the airport.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Sri Lanka. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. On 21 April 2019, bombs were used to attack 3 churches and 3 hotels in Sri Lanka: in central Colombo, in the northern suburb of Colombo Kochchikade, and in Negombo roughly twenty miles north of Colombo; and in the east of the country in Batticaloa. According to official figures more than 250 people were killed, including at least 8 British nationals.

Security has been stepped up across the island and a State of Emergency remains in place. The Sri Lankan authorities have made a number of arrests in relation to the attacks, and security operations are ongoing, including controlled explosions of suspicious packages and vehicles, and temporary evacuations of buildings. The authorities have also announced emergency regulations that, until further notice, ban the wearing of clothing or objects that conceal the face in such a way that prevents the wearer’s identification.

Australian Dept of Foreign Affairs Advice:

Reconsider your need to travel says the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs:

Terrorists are likely to carry out further attacks in Sri Lanka. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Security has been stepped up across the island. Australians are advised to avoid all affected areas and minimise movement until the situation stabilises.

A State of Emergency remains in place and night-time curfews can be imposed with short notice. Carry relevant travel and identification documents for any checkpoints. Security has been bolstered at Bandaranaike International Airport. If you’re departing from Bandaranaike International Airport arrive four hours ahead of your scheduled flight due to heightened security measures at the airport. Follow the advice of local authorities and monitor the media for updates. We continue to advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Sri Lanka.

US State Department Advice:

The US State Dept also recommends travellers reconsider travel to Sri Lanka due to terrorism.
On April 26, 2019, the Department of State ordered the departure of all school-age family members of U.S. government employees in Kindergarten through 12th grade.  The Department also authorised the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members.
Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, hospitals, and other public areas.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Sri Lanka due to the security environment.

If you decide to travel to Sri Lanka:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enrol in the Smart Traveler Enrolment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Sri Lanka.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.
  • Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Thoughts from Rough Guides

“All customers who have booked to travel to Sri Lanka via Rough Guides trips have been contacted and we are supporting them in considering their options. Fortunately, we had no travellers in Sri Lanka during the attacks. We hope that conditions and government advice will allow us to continue to support Sri Lankan tourism as soon as possible. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims and injured, as well as the nation as a whole.”
Joe Legate – Head of Marketing

Thoughts from Sri Lanka Tourism

In the immediate aftermath of the attack’s we rolled out our emergency response protocol. Trained teams were deployed to the affected hotels, all hospitals and the airport to ensure that all tourists directly affected by the attacks received the all the care, attention and assistance they needed.

Tourists already in country and those scheduled to arrive in the hours and days following the attacks were also an immediate priority. In addition to the help desks at hotels, airports and tourist information centers Sri Lanka Tourism set up an emergency hotline to ensure tourists and their loved ones back home had access to accurate information and the entire suite of emergency services; updated information continues to be issued via local & global media, social media, and foreign missions on a regular basis.

We are grateful and humbled by the resilience and generosity of all the tourists who have chosen to continue with their holiday in Sri Lanka and we are privileged to continue to welcome hundreds of new tourists every day since the attack. We must ensure wider global tourism communities have renewed confidence in our destination by persevering and so to this end all planned promotion activity will continue to ensure that our critical tourism industry is protected.

 Thoughts from our Local Expert in Sri Lanka:

This heinous attack is entirely unconnected with the conflict that ended in 2009. There is no civil unrest, all Sri Lankans are united in shock and anger.

This was a terrorist attack designed for maximum impact. The damage is done and we are now in damage control mode. There are security precautions including a nighttime curfew in Colombo and security checks and arrests.

This was not a political act or a domestic issue. It is an isolated terror incident of the kind we sadly see in many places.

The situation is normalising and arrests are being made.

Religious extremism doesn’t have a strong base here, nor do conditions exist to encourage it. With tighter security introduced it will be contained quickly. The Muslim community in Sri Lanka has already identified and reported a handful of extremists to the authorities. The silver lining in this dark time is that we as a nation are strong and our people have not turned against each other and are doing our maximum to protect all our communities. Sri Lanka will come back fast. And not let our guard down again.

 

Book Your Trip To Sri Lanka

Get your dream travel planned & booked by local travel experts

At Rough Guides, we understand that experienced travellers want to get truly off-the-beaten-track. That’s why we’ve partnered with local experts to help you plan and book tailor-made trips that are packed with personality and stimulating adventure - at all levels of comfort. If you love planning, but find arranging the logistics exhausting, you’re in the right place.

Learn Morechevron_right

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs