U.S. lifts Sri Lanka travel warning
Press Release by Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington DC, USA
May 27, 2010
Department of State has cancelled the Travel Warning for Sri Lanka due to improvements in safety and security conditions throughout the country
The U.S. State Department announced Wednesday that it was lifting its travel advisory on Sri Lanka, citing the peaceful atmosphere that has taken hold a year after Sri Lanka’s defeat of terrorism.
“The Travel Warning issued for Sri Lanka on November 19, 2009 has been cancelled, effective May 26, 2010,” the State Department said in an announcement. “Department of State has cancelled the Travel Warning for Sri Lanka due to improvements in safety and security conditions throughout the country.”
The State Department’s decision occurred during a four-day Washington visit of Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs, Professor G.L. Peiris. Minister Peiris is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday. On Wednesday, the Minister met with Gen. James Jones, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, as well as with senior U.S. Department of Defense officials.
The State Department’s decision was hailed by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, Jaliya Wickramasuriya.
“We welcome the State Department’s decision recognition of Sri Lanka as a peaceful and prosperous nation that is of course safe for visitors,” Ambassador Wickramasuriya said. “We have been working with the State Department for some time to lift this warning, and I am heartened that it has occurred during Minister Peiris’ Washington visit.”
In its statement, the State Department noted that, “The Government of Sri Lanka declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on May 18, 2009. Since the war's declared end, the LTTE has not mounted any attacks in Colombo or elsewhere in Sri Lanka.”
In fact, tourism returned dramatically to Sri Lanka just days after the conflict ended, and it has continued to improve, nearly doubling in some months compared to last year, despite the State Department’s travel advisory.
Tourism is an important component of Sri Lanka’s economy, and tourism officials expect it to continue to expand dramatically.
The New York Times in January listed Sri Lanka as the number one destination to visit in 2010, citing the war’s conclusion and Sri Lanka’s historical sites, lush forest and broad beaches. National Geographic and the luxury living website Dailycandy.com also both gave Sri Lanka high rankings as a travel destination in 2010.