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Sri Lanka Travel

Bloody Sri Lanka news vs. New York Times rosy travel advisory

Sylvia Cochran  Jan 14, 2010

New York Times readers may have been making Sri Lanka travel plans after perusing the publication's latest 31 getaway suggestions. A reality check by way of Sri Lanka news coverage might have them change their itineraries.

Dire Sri Lanka News vs. Sri Lanka, Travel Hotspot

In its much awaited travel feature, the New York Times hailed Sri Lanka as being first among the "31 Places to Go in 2010." Acknowledging the bloody civil war between the Tamil and Sinhalese, the NY Times goes on to state that features of the island's natural beauty are a "happy, if unintended byproduct of the war." As the Sri Lanka travel industry may be gearing up for increased numbers in visitors, consumers may want to take a second look at the news before planning a tour.

Sri Lanka News Speak of Unrest, Violence and Spin

A scant three days after the Times' glowing Sri Lanka travel advisory, the BBC reported that one of its own reporters was attacked while covering the increasing violence surrounding the presidential election on January 26th. Sri Lanka news also informs of the assassination of a supporter to Sarath Fonseka on the southern portion of the island. The BBC unequivocally states that Sri Lanka "is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media organisations."

The Colombo Page, a Sri Lanka Internet newspaper, reports today that the Sri Lankan government condemns the violence, including the attack on the BBC reporter. In an interesting twist, a gunshot victim that was initially identified as a sympathizer of Sarath Fonseka is now said to be a supporter of the president.

Should Travelers Tour Sri Lanka?

A November 19, 2009 travel warning by the U.S. State Department warns tourists of the potential for violence in the Eastern Province as well as the northern areas. Other items of concern to those who would tour Sri Lanka are the landmines that are still in place. While the State Department reports that embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to the northernmost places, the New York Times article lauds Nilaveli Beach in the north for the quintessential island paradise getaway.

Another item of Sri Lanka news that may affect tourists' travel plans is the mention of increased demonstrations around Western embassies and the police force's inability to deal with the crowds. Sri Lankans from other countries are also in danger of sudden, unjust and unreported detention by officials.

Tourists will be well served to weigh Sri Lanka news coverage against glowing Sri Lanka travel suggestions. Even as the Ministry of Tourism embraces would-be travelers with a heartfelt "Ayubowan" (may you live long and be healthier) and announces its plans to make the area "the most treasured island destination in Asia," the very recent past that included unspeakable war crimes might make the New York Times assessment of Sri Lanka as the number one spot of the 31 places to go in 2010 just a bit unpalatable.


*New York Times. "The 31 Places to Go in 2010" (accessed January 14, 2010)

*BBC. "Sri Lanka police investigate attack on BBC reporter" (accessed January 14, 2010)

*Colombo Page. "Sri Lanka government condemns election violence and vows to take action against perpetrators" (accessed January 14, 2010)

*U.S. State Department. Travel Warning dated November 19, 2009 (accessed January 14, 2010)

*Ministry of Tourism. "Ayubowan" (accessed January 14, 2010)

Bloody Sri Lanka news vs. New York Times rosy travel advisory
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