In April of this year, the Sri Lankan government announced that it would offer free visas on arrival to citizens from 39 countries, including Americans. Unfortunately, terrorist attacks took place at three luxury hotels along with three churches in Colombo, Negombo and the eastern city of Batticaloa, followed by another blast in Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia and Dematagoda on Easter Sunday.
After the attacks, the number of tourists who visited Sri Lanka dropped drastically. Now, the government is trying to boost tourism numbers by reducing airline charges. To encourage airlines to bring back canceled routes and increase the number of flights, the government has decided to reduce the price of ground handling and embarkation fees for six months. The price of aircraft fuel will also be reduced, again for six months.
Hotels across the country are also slashing their rates and offering promotions in an attempt to increase visitor numbers. However, industry experts still predict it will take several months before room occupancy rates return to normal.
In response to the terrorist attacks, many countries issued travel advisories for its citizens who may have wanted to visit Sri Lanka. However, currently, the United States Department of State advises its citizens to exercise increased caution when visiting Sri Lanka. To put that in perspective, the United States State Department rates Western European countries like France and Germany at level two, which is the same level assigned to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is an island nation located southeast of the Indian subcontinent. It's known for its pristine beaches, accessible wildlife, amazing temples and ruins, low prices and flavorful tea. For these reasons and many others, Lonely Planet named Sri Lanka its top country to visit in 2019.