Russia Relaxes Travel Advisory At Last

One of the last remaining travel advisories on Sri Lanka, implemented after the Easter Sunday attacks has been relaxed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Russian Federation updated their advisory on 26 August 2019. They now recommend that Russian citizens intending to visit Sri Lanka remain vigilant and avoid crowded places.

The move comes as a welcome step and follows on the heels of the government decision to lift the state of emergency from 22 August 2019.

The Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga welcome the move by the government.

“In a matter of just four months our security forces have been able to neutralize the terrorist threat and declare the country as absolutely safe for tourists. With the lifting of the Emergency regulations, all impediments for travel to the country have now been cleared. It is encouraging that the world has responded by helping Sri Lanka return to the normal pattern of arrivals in a much shorter period than initially anticipated by the tourism industry. We can now confidently look forward to a very successful winter season ahead, which is traditionally our peak season. With the free visa programme in full swing and reduced ticket prices, Sri Lanka is now a very competitive destination for the international traveler,” said Amaratunga in a statement.

The lifting of the emergency rule has been welcomed by the travel and tourism industry who hope that it will further boost resurgence in bookings for coming months.

Kishu Gomes, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) believes that Sri Lanka Tourism can reach the target two million for the year. He said that with more international conferences coming up this year such as the Bhora Convention, which is expected to attract up to 25,000 tourists, the number of tourist arrivals are likely to increase. This will bring much revenue and income, and enhance the tourism sector, an industry where both small and big scale entrepreneurs and industry stakeholders earn their living through tourism related activities.

Gomes has previously spoken of his belief that Sri Lanka can reach the 5 million tourist mark if its marketing, infrastructure and development is done in a sustainable way.