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