The Easter bombings in Sri Lanka shocked a nation and the world. Sri Lanka - a 2019 Lonely Planet Destination of the Year - suddenly found itself with declining tourist numbers and empty hotels.
But 4 months later, where does the country stand now? Is it safe to travel in Sri Lanka?
The short answer is yes ... Sri Lankan officials have been working hard to ensure tourists are safe and cared for, making it so that Sri Lanka is ‘Open for Business,’ and we agree it is
Shortly after the incident, Steve Grace, a senior member of our Grasshopper Adventures team flew to Sri Lanka to get a sense of the safety for our guests. He rode our Sri Lanka By Bike route alongside two enthusiastic Americans (Buddy & Holly- no joke! pictured above) who refused to have their holiday plans impacted by extremists.
The feedback we got was, yes, Sri Lanka has been deeply affected, the peace of the nation was threatened and the people were impacted emotionally. But the stronger message was that Sri Lanka, as it is famous for, was quickly full of optimism, open-heartedness, smiles and eager to proudly display the hospitality and natural beauty which define this remarkable island.
Fast forward to today. Our in-country team, led by Vinoli, have kept a close eye on all local media and security warnings. In a conversation with the team just before writing this update, it was very much their opinion that life is back to normal, with no security threats. We have run multiple tours over the past several months in the country without any issues, delays or interruptions.
I’ve spent lots of time on the phone with guests over the past few months and I understand, given the tragic incident in Spring, the hesitations when deciding to choose Sri Lanka over our range of other beautiful destinations. My advice has been the same, we can’t let extremism dictate our lives, but we also need to balance that with putting the safety of ourselves and our families first. As the months have passed and any measurable risk has continued to lower, with a reduction on travel warnings from American, Australian and UK embassies, I can confidently say that not only is Sri Lanka safe and open for business, but it is a destination absolutely worthy of exploration.
The entire team at Grasshopper Sri Lanka, along with our head office, take safety and security as our number one concern. With our combined decades of experience in travel, in an often complex region, we are very pleased to be part of the campaign to rebuild Sri Lankan tourism.
Beyond the security concerns, there are lots of extra benefits for being part of the first wave of tourists coming back to Sri Lanka. Crowds at previously busy sites are more moderate in numbers, stunning hotels which were once full with waiting lists now eagerly await our business. And more than that, the locals who rely on us to support tourism are now more enthusiastic and passionate than ever to display their beautiful country and culture.
Lonely Planet still ranks Sri Lanka as ‘Best of Travel for 2019.’ They haven’t given up on the island and neither have we. Now is the perfect time to join us on a Grasshopper adventure and experience why this is such an incredible country to visit sooner rather than later.
Sri Lanka is open for travel!