TUI cancels all Sri Lanka holidays as Foreign Office issues urgent warning to Brits not to go
TUI has canceled all holidays to Sri Lanka departing until and including May 31, 2022. It comes as the Foreign Office has updated its travel advice for Sri Lanka, urging Britons not to travel to the country unless absolutely necessary.
The change in advice comes after protests took place across Sri Lanka as the country faces an economic crisis. It includes shortages of medicine, fuel and food. Residents also suffer daily power cuts due to electricity rationing.
Protests have been taking place since March 31, while a state of emergency was declared in May, alongside an island-wide curfew. Violence against peaceful protesters in recent days has prompted the Foreign Office to update its travel advice to warn British travelers not to travel unless they have an essential reason.
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TUI has released a statement regarding the decision to halt all flights to Sri Lanka. A spokesperson wrote: “Due to the current political and economic instability in Sri Lanka, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has advised against all but essential travel.
“As a result, we have unfortunately had to cancel all departing Sri Lanka holidays up to and including May 31, 2022. We will proactively contact all affected customers in order of departure date to discuss their options.
“Please note that this advice does not apply to customers transiting through Sri Lanka International Airport and customers currently in resort can continue to enjoy their holiday as planned.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and update customers if there are any further updates. We would like to thank our customers for their understanding at this time. »
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns that “several incidents took place on May 9 involving violence against peaceful demonstrators”, particularly in areas of Colombo and Kandy, and that “other incidents could take place”.
If you have booked a holiday or trip to Sri Lanka, you will need to contact your tour operator and airline directly.
When the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel, travel companies such as TUI typically cancel all trips they operate and offer customers options such as rebooking at a later date or full refunds. They can also offer you alternative holidays on the same dates you were supposed to travel, which you can also choose if you wish.
If you have booked your flights and hotel separately, you will need to contact your airline and accommodation directly. As flights to Sri Lanka are not banned, your flight may still be scheduled – in which case a refund is not guaranteed.
In this case, you may have to make compromises, such as accepting vouchers, rebooking for a later date, or changing flights to another destination (although you may have to pay a fare difference if this applies) . As for your accommodation, this will depend on the terms and conditions of your booking policy – again, you may have to compromise with a re-booking instead of a refund.
It should be noted that if you choose to travel against the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, your travel insurance will be canceled – so if something goes wrong, such as lost luggage or illness, you could end up with hefty bills.
You can get more information on the situation in Sri Lanka and detailed travel advice at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka.
Has this had an impact on your travel plans? Let us know in the comments.