Sri Lanka has been in the news a lot over the past few months because of the many economic and political problems the country is struggling with. Still, many people travel to Sri Lanka for a holiday or business trip. How safe is Sri Lanka?
What is happening in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is currently facing its worst economic crisis since the country gained independence in 1948. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine and mismanagement by the government, among other things, Sri Lankaʼs economy has virtually collapsed. Prices for basic necessities such as food and medicine have risen sharply and the value of the national currency, the rupee, has plummeted. The inflation rate in Sri Lanka is currently 30%. For comparison, an inflation rate of 3% is usually considered high by economists. Because the country imported far more products than it exported for years, it now has too little foreign currency reserves to buy much-needed products on the international market. All sectors in the country are under great pressure, ranging from the tourism sector to the health sector.
As a result, large-scale protests are taking place daily, sometimes accompanied by violence. The Sri Lankan Prime Minister has already resigned as a result of popular pressure, but the people are also demanding that the President and his entourage resign. Sri Lanka has defaulted on several international loans. The country has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help.
Can I currently travel to Sri Lanka?
Despite the problems in the country, it is still possible to travel to Sri Lanka. Foreign travellers with a valid Sri Lanka visa are still welcome. The Sri Lankan government actually hopes that more tourists will travel to the country, partly because tourists are an important source of foreign currency. Foreign travellers do not have to be fully vaccinated in order to travel to Sri Lanka; travellers who have undergone a PCR or antigen test before departure are also accepted. There is no quarantine requirement in Sri Lanka, regardless of the vaccination status of the traveller.
The UK government no longer advises against travelling to Sri Lanka. They do, however, still alert travellers to the current safety issues regarding the economic and political situation in Sri Lanka. Because the situation in Sri Lanka is very unstable, the travel advice can change quickly. Make sure you check the government travel advice before booking your trip.
Sri Lanka visa still required
Although Sri Lanka wants to encourage tourism to the country, it has not yet announced any changes or relaxations regarding the visa. This means that travellers to Sri Lanka are required to apply for a visa before departure. This visa can be applied for online and is valid for a maximum stay of 30 days. The maximum stay can be extended once to 90 days while in Sri Lanka.
To get more foreign currency into the country, Sri Lanka has introduced a new type of visa for foreign investors who invest large amounts of money in the Sri Lankan economy. This visa allows investors to stay in Sri Lanka for five to 10 years and also allows them to bring their families over.