Following the acts of terror that took place on Easter Sunday, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) have continued to engage with high-level government officials and tourism stakeholders in order to assess the current situation and have taken necessary steps to ensure all possible assistance is provided to tourists in need of help.
Sri Lanka Tourism is deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless violence and unreservedly condemns these dastardly acts. We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to all the victims and their families, while wishing a speedy recovery to all those injured and currently receiving treatment.
In the immediate aftermath of the explosions Sri Lanka Tourism deployed trained emergency response teams and its representatives at hospitals, affected hotels and the airport to assist tourists in any way possible including hotel transfers, airline bookings, airport transfers, itinerary changes, hospital treatment, contacting their loved ones and reuniting missing family members through diplomatic channels.
In addition, a 24-hour emergency support desk has been established and can be accessed as follows;
- Emergency local hotline number to assist tourists currently in Sri Lanka - 1912
- Emergency hotline to assist families of affected foreign nationals +94 11 2322485
Sri Lanka Tourism wishes to assure tourists who are already in the country and unaffected by the terror attacks that the police, tourism police and security forces are jointly implementing a comprehensive security plan to ensure their safety across the island including all important tourism sites. Meanwhile a security briefing was held on 22nd April for hotel owners and operators on the new safety measures that are being rolled out and to seek their cooperation in strengthening security at hotels and resorts.
Sri Lanka Tourism would like to reassure the world that the country is open for business and all possible measures have been taken to ensure the safety and security of tourists. Our world famous tourism sites, hotels, resorts and other tourist attractions will remain open as usual. There are no road closures or restrictions on movement anywhere in the island.
Sri Lanka is a proudly diverse nation which celebrates its multicultural nature. Since the end of the war a decade ago, Sri Lanka has enjoyed absolute peace and it will do everything within its power to maintain the peace that every Sri Lankan cherishes and rebuild what has been destroyed with renewed vigour. There is no place for terrorism of any kind in Sri Lanka and whoever that is responsible for the Easter Sunday violence will be hunted down and punished in the strongest possible manner.
Sri Lanka Tourism looks forward to warmly welcome all those who have planned trips to the country in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Currently, Sri Lanka is quiet. It’s a curfew and all roads are closed.
The U.S. embassy raised the level of travel advisory for Sri Lanka to level 2: The embassy warned terrorist groups to continue plotting possible attacks in Sri Lanka.
In the meantime, Sri Lanka arrested 13 alleged suspects. Another attack on the airport was prevented. 215 people including foreign tourists were killed, more than 500 injured in a series of planned and coordinated attacks on Easter Sunday.
The Sri Lankan authorities have confirmed that, if you need to catch a flight from Colombo airport, you are able to travel to the airport provided you have both passport and ticket valid for travel that day. They have also confirmed that arrangements have been put in place for arriving passengers.
Tourist arrivals have increased year over year for the first three months of 2019, up 2.2 percent for January, 7 percent in February and 4.7 percent in March. For the first quarter of 2019, the country had recorded 740,600 visitors, up 4.6 percent from the same quarter in 2018. This could be attributed to the country's ranking at the top of Lonely Planet's Best in Travel list for 2019. In total, Sri Lanka reported 2.3 million visitors in 2018, up from 654,476 in 2010.
The terror attacks came as Sri Lanka is seeing increased interest from hotel developers. A year ago, Sri Lankan real estate developer Melwa Hotels & Resorts, a subsidiary of domestic steel manufacturer Melwire Rolling, secured a $24 million loan to develop Hilton-branded hotels in the country. The total funding requirement to construct the hotels is slated to exceed $100 million.
Last summer, IHG signed a management contract with Pearl Grand Tower Hotel to bring its flagship InterContinental brand to Colombo, Sri Lanka's commercial capital and most populous city. The 307-room InterContinental Colombo is slated to open later this year, and is expected to be the tallest hotel tower in the city with 42 floors.
Earlier this year, Hilton announced plans to open the DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort, close to three of the top 10 most-visited wildlife national park and sanctuaries in Sri Lanka.
And just this month, Nikki Beach Hotels and Resorts announced plans to expand into Sri Lanka, with a new development slated for Balapitya beach.