TUI cancels more Sri Lanka holiday bookings despite updated Foreign Office travel advice

Jun 13, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

TUI is continuing to cancel flights to unrest-ravaged Sri Lanka despite the British government’s lifting of advice against all but essential travel to the country.

Sri Lanka is in the grip of a devastating economic crisis that has engulfed the island of 22 million people, sparking riots that led to the declaration of a state of emergency and nationwide curfew.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In mid-May, the U.K. Foreign Office advised British citizens to stay away from the country, known for its stunning beaches and wildlife-filled national parks, after protests had spilled into violence.

As a result, TUI cancelled all holidays to Sri Lanka until the end of May. But then, last Friday, the FCDO lifted its advice.

Nevertheless, that same day, TUI extended its policy, announcing that it has “unfortunately had to cancel all holidays to Sri Lanka departing up to and including 30 June 2022”, adding that it would pro-actively contact any customers whose holidays are affected, in departure date order.

Related: Brits advised against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka

However, the firm did caveat that this doesn’t apply to layovers, adding: “Please note this advice does not apply to customers transiting through Sri Lanka’s international airport and customers currently in resort can continue to enjoy their holiday as planned.”

What is happening in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is in the grip of a devastating economic crisis that has engulfed the island of 22 million people.

While the pandemic has had some impact on Sri Lanka’s economy, the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, stands accused of economic mismanagement and corruption that has left the country in its worst financial crisis since independence.

Essentially, Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves have now dropped so low that the country cannot afford to import basic essentials such as fuel, food and medicines.

Related: UK Foreign Office finally gives clarity on British passport rules for European travel

Protests have blighted the streets of the capital Colombo, and have even bled into the countryside.

And they have grown increasingly violent.

A state of emergency was declared on 6 May, before the government deployed troops and armoured vehicles across Colombo. A week later, security officials gave the military orders to shoot on sight anyone seen to be participating in violence or vandalism.

Related: Scoot launching low-haul, low-cost flights from London to Thailand and Singapore

Then, on 9 May, Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to resign as prime minister amid mounting pressure and had to be evacuated from his official residence in Colombo after protesters tried to storm the building.

A nationwide curfew remains in place.

While the FCDO lifted its advice not to visit, it describes the economic situation in Sri Lanka as “challenging”.

The advice states: “There may be long queues at shops at supermarket, fuel stations and pharmacies. There may be difficulties or delays obtaining taxis and other public transport. There are ongoing daily power cuts due to electricity rationing.”

Featured image courtesy of Lucky Beach Tangalle.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.