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Key campaigner welcoming new UK advisory says it’s a major win

By: Staff Writer

April 15, Colombo (LNW): Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office advice on Sri Lanka has been revised after a major campaign led by UK firm Experience Travel Group.

In January 2024, Experience Travel Group (ETG) organised and led an open letter, published in The Independent.

The signatories warned that FCDO’s official page on Sri Lanka “systematically undermines the travel industry,” and was supported by prominent UK parliamentarians, Sri Lankan travel providers, and celebrities including former cricket star Kumar Sangakkara.

The following month Experience Travel Group joined forces with the Association of Independent Tour Operators, to commission polling of 4,000 people across the UK.

The research revealed that three in every four British tourists (74%) would turn down even a free holiday if Foreign Office travel advice suggested a destination was unsafe.

British travellers were more likely to seek out government advice when travelling to Asia, with 73% saying they would do so compared with only 46% making a European trip.

Due to Sri Lanka’s current economic advancement, the United Kingdom has revised its Travel Advisory for Sri Lanka effective April 5, 2024.

This update encompasses various aspects including access to emergency medical services, entry security requirements, road safety, overall security situation, and health facility accessibility.

The revised advisory no longer includes previous concerns regarding shortages of food, fuel, and medicine. Additionally, the previously mentioned risks related to limitations in health services, such as the lack of medical equipment, have been omitted.

The Sri Lankan High Commission in London has consistently advocated to British authorities for the removal of negative information from previous advisories. This effort aims to ensure tourists have a clear understanding of Sri Lanka’s current progress.

Between January 1 and March 27, a total of 53,928 tourists from the United Kingdom visited Sri Lanka, establishing the United Kingdom as the third largest source of tourist arrivals. This updated advisory is expected to further boost Sri Lanka’s tourism sector.

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