After the devastating terrorist attacks that shook Sri Lanka in April, there’s one question that’s rightly on the minds of most prospective visitors: is it safe?
In short, we believe there has never been a better time to explore Sri Lanka. Here’s why.
1. It’s safer than ever
As a community and a country, Sri Lanka responded to the events of April 21 by bolstering its security efforts. There are fewer roadblocks now than in the immediate aftermath of the attack, but several security checkpoints remain. Many hotels and large buildings have implemented bag search and vehicle check policies, and all vehicles approaching the airport are stopped and inspected. No country can ever be 100% safe, but with the additional procedures and protocols introduced since April – together with the efforts of the country’s security services to apprehend the perpetrators – Sri Lanka is arguably as safe as it has ever been.
2. It’s really quiet
Understandably, many people cancelled or postponed their plans to visit Sri Lanka in the wake of the Easter bombings. As a result, visitor numbers have fallen dramatically and many of the popular tourist hotspots are unseasonably quiet. From Galle Fort to Sigiriya Rock, sights and attractions that were crowded just 6 months ago are now deserted. The reasons might be tragic, but this is a perfect opportunity to explore and roam the beautiful island of Sri Lanka – which, it’s worth remembering, was chosen by Lonely Planet as the number one destination in the world in 2019 – as if it’s an undiscovered gem.
3. It needs your support
Naturally, that fall in visitor numbers has hit local hotels and businesses hard. From small guest houses to big city high-rises, occupancy has been at rock-bottom: one large establishment we spoke to reported that just 1% of its rooms were taken. Similarly, cafés, restaurants and shops are all struggling to stay afloat after the dramatic and instantaneous drop in tourist footfall. From drivers to tour guides to hotel staff, millions of Sri Lankans rely on tourism for their livelihood – and many contracted workers have already lost their jobs. Bringing your custom to Sri Lanka now really could make all the difference.
4. It’s more affordable than ever
In an effort to encourage tourists and travellers to return to Sri Lanka, many hotels are offering astonishingly low rates. From luxury lodgings to chic, boutique retreats, some of the island’s nicest stays are available for the lowest prices we’ve ever seen. The circumstances might be sad, but the outcome will be positive if these offers bring visitors back to this beautiful country. Take up a deal and not only will you be getting an incredible experience for a lot less than the standard rate, but you’ll also be supporting an enterprise that wants – and very likely needs – your business.
Note: 30-day tourist visas are free for visitors from certain countries, until 31 January 2020
5. It’s still just as beautiful
Like the resilience of the Sri Lankan people, the dreadful events of April have done nothing to dent the beauty of Sri Lanka. The picturesque palm-fringed beaches and surf spots of the south coast; the verdant tea plantations and waterfalls of the hill country; the striking landscapes and temples of the Cultural Triangle; the incredible wildlife of its national parks and jungles: Sri Lanka remains a destination of unrivalled diversity and beguiling variety. Visit now and you’ll find a country that’s just as enchanting as it ever was and – if it’s possible – even more welcoming. What are you waiting for?