Sri Lanka protests UK travel advisory

COLOMBO – Sri Lanka is planning to protest a travel advisory issued by Britain, which it insists will adversely impact thousands of British tourists to the country, a top official said here on Monday.

A recent travel advisory issued by the UK Foreign Office warns British citizens of an upsurge in nationalism, sexual offense and anti-western rhetoric in the country.

In response External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amunugama stressed that the government would voice their protest and work to get the notice changed.

Sri Lanka‘s ambassador to the UK Chris Nonis has already been asked to take this up with the British authorities and we expect positive results,” he told media.

The advisory states that travelers should be aware that at the end of the military conflict in May 2009 has seen an upsurge of nationalism in Sri Lanka. As a result, anti-Western rhetoric has increased.

It also cautioned British nationals to make arrangements through reputable travel companies and exercise appropriate caution when travelling around Sri Lanka.

“Women should take particular care when travelling alone, or in small groups, and carry personal alarms,” the advisory says warning the female travelers specifically.

However, the travel advisory says that violent crimes against foreigners are relatively infrequent.

Sri Lanka’s robust post-war tourism sector continued to grow, posting a 7.8 percent rise in July from a year earlier, according to government data.

During the first seven months of the year Sri Lanka’s tourism grew 16.7 percent in comparison to 2011 with UK tourists marking the second highest arrival rate behind India.

Meanwhile, revenue from tourism has increased 24.3 percent to $459.9 million this year, according to the Central Bank.

Visitors from Western Europe have continued to expand with the UK generating most tourists at 13,643 up 13.7 percent in July from a year earlier.

A 32-year-old British man was killed on Boxing Day last year in the southern part of the island.

A ruling party provincial politician has been arrested as the main suspect and the court case is still ongoing.


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