Gatwick and Heathrow Airport: Sri Lanka travel advice as economic crisis shrouds country

Britons planning to fly to Sri Lanka for holidays are warned that the country’s economic crisis has been escalating in the recent days, with further protests likely across the island. The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice with the latest regarding the political situation – as well as Covid-19.

Sri Lanka has been a popular destination for British holidaymakers , being an accessible English-speaking nation, yet offering stunning exotic experiences. SriLankan Airlines runs a direct route from Heathrow Airport to Colombo, while multiple airlines including British Airways, Emirates, and Qatar Airways fly to the commercial capital from Gatwick through connecting airports.

But the island’s prolific tourism industry has been through three challenging years, first with a terrorist attack in April 2019, followed by two years of pandemic restrictions, and now the worst financial crisis the country has ever faced. The Foreign Office says the economic situation is deteriorating with shortages of basic necessities including medicines, fuel and food.

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Visitors are warned of long queues at grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies, as well as daily power cuts. Moreover, the Government of Sri Lanka could impose local restrictions and curfews at short notice in response to protests.

Local lockdowns and travel restrictions due to Covid-19 are possible too, as the virus is prevalent in the community. Travellers should be aware and check for any last-minute changes in flights.

Vaccinated passengers don’t have to take a test before arrival, as long as they had their last jab at least 14 days before travel. Those aged 12 and above who are not fully vaccinated must present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test, and remain in a Tourism Bio Bubble for 7 days. Everyone, however, will need to complete an online pre-travel health registration form and take Covid-19 travel insurance. It’s important to note that Sri Lanka will only accept the UK’s printed vaccine certificate and not a digital proof.

All visitors are advised to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorisation visa to enter Sri Lanka.

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