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