Sri Lanka Update
Ceylon Tea Trails, Cape Weligama & Wild Coast Tented Lodge are operating normally. They are located in isolated regions across our island and have their own backup power, and access to fuel and other supplies. The safety of our guests will always be our first priority.
Tourism is critical to our economic recovery - every section of society is keenly aware of this and supportive.
There is a welcome return to stability, with the new President firmly focused on the economic restructuring that is critical to restoring the well-being of the populace.
Travel advisories have been lifted, foreign governments are no longer advising against travel to Sri Lanka. Tourism is operating normally. All systems go, leading up to hopefully a good winter season. It's lovely to see new bookings gathering speed.
Please contact me if you have a question.
With warm wishes,
Malik J. Fernando
Managing Director, Resplendent Ceylon, Director, Dilmah Tea
23 July update
A court order was issued to clear the blockade of access to government buildings by protesters. When the protesters did not comply, they were moved out by the military Friday. This has been taken out of context by some media as an infringement of the rights of protesters.
The main protest camp nearby continues with a much smaller group. The new President and government is expected to restore law and order and accelerate debt negotiations to resuscitate the economy. The fuel situation has improved with new shipments coming in.
Additionally, a national fuel pass is being issued with QR codes and fuel allocations in order to minimize wait times and create an orderly distribution for the general public. Tourism continues to have preferential access.
14 July update
If you're struggling to keep up with what's happening in Sri Lanka, so are we! However, there have been some positive developments and travelling to Sri Lanka on holiday continues to be perfectly safe.
The biggest risk is that your family and friends may think you're mad! But visiting now is precisely what will help the country recover. And provide you with a memorable holiday.
The president who was the focus of the protesters' anger finally resigned today. The prime minister is now the acting president.
The protesters who occupied several government buildings have moved out peacefully. This was a very effective demonstration of people's power.
The next few weeks should see various political manoeuvres between the parties in parliament.
The new acting president is a competent administrator, leading the bailout negotiations with the IMF. It is a relief that this process will now resume.
We've made a short video with contributions from guests from around the world enjoying a peaceful holiday with us right now.
Please scroll down to read 5 Reasons to Visit Now - I have also explained how Sri Lankans will benefit from your visit.
10 July update
There was a massive demonstration in the capital city Colombo Saturday to pressure the unpopular President to resign. Citizens converged on his official residence. The police and security forces did not prevent them from entering and the president fled to a secure location, confirming he would resign on 13th July.
The speaker of parliament is expected to become the interim president until a president is nominated from amongst a member of Parliament. This is expected to pave the way for an all-party government which is a significant step - we need all hands on deck.
Negotiations with the IMF need to be engaged with increased effort to refinance the country, which has run out of hard currency to pay for essential imports.
Despite the dramatic television news, Sri Lanka continues to be safe and welcoming for foreign tourists.
Here are 5 reasons why a traveller should visit currently:
1. The Resplendent Ceylon hotels - Tea Trails, Wild Coast and Cape Weligama, are in remote areas and continue to operate normally with stocks of fuel & supplies. Hotels have preferential access given the importance of tourism.
2. There is absolutely no risk to tourists. Despite the protests, tourists are cherished by all segments of society. Australia is currently on a cricket tour of Sri Lanka to packed audiences. The players and supporters were overwhelmed by the incredible love and affection shown to them
3. All our recent guests and those in-house have had memorable stays, visiting the national parks, monuments and tea fields, enjoying a seamless experience with Resplendent service and smooth transfers.
4. The primary problem is a lack of foreign currency to import essentials. We hand over 100% of our foreign currency revenues to the central bank to support the country's recovery.
5. Tourism is the single fastest way for our economy to recover. Every day spent here strengthens the entire tourism value chain. Over 1 million people are dependent on tourism.
We wanted to share this heartfelt message from our team with you, please take a moment to watch A Story of Hope, inviting you back.
6 June update
Several measures have been taken to help restore fiscal stability - increases in personal and corporate income tax, and revision of the VAT rate from 8% to 12%.
Amendments to the constitution to reduce the powers of the president and increase the role of the prime minister and parliament are in the final negotiation stages.
A major food production drive has been launched after the crop losses suffered due to the now abandoned overnight organic conversion.
18 May update
The new prime minister has made a positive start, engaging with the international community to help resolve shortages. Parliament has reconvened. Constitutional change to abolish the executive presidency has started. Arrests have been made of those involved in the recent violence.
We've had some guests saying that although they wish to travel, advisories in some countries prevent the issue of travel insurance. Two options - there are some insurers who issue policies despite an advisory based on their own assessment of the situation - Campbell Irvine. for instance in the UK. Also, a policy can be issued by an internationally recognised insurer in Sri Lanka. Let us know if you would like details.
13 May update
A new competent prime minister has been appointed and a multi-party government is being formed. Tensions have settled and the capital city is operating normally. No incidents have been reported since the provocation on Monday. Resplendent Ceylon resorts are operating normally, guests are moving freely between them.
Here is a photo taken 12 May at Cape Weligama with a group of American & Spanish travel agents on a familiarisation visit. We cut a cake in celebration of the 68th anniversary of Relais & Chateaux 🥂
10 May update
After weeks of pressure, the Prime Minister finally resigned Monday. Unfortunately, he chose to rabble rouse as he left by instigating supporters to attack peaceful protesters in the capital city, Colombo. There was a reaction later in the day by angry citizens who attacked homes of some politicians allied with the now disgraced former prime minister. There is a curfew until Wednesday 11 May 0700 to help settle tensions. Travel advisories were issued after this particular incident.
Tourists are able to move freely to and from the airport and between the hotels. Resplendent Ceylon resorts are operating normally with good occupancy. Arriving travellers at the Colombo airport connect directly to the road network to the resorts without needing to travel into the capital city.
9 May update
A police curfew was imposed temporarily after clashes between goons supporting the Prime Minister, who is under pressure to resign, and peaceful protestors. Several were injured and required medical care. Sri Lankans are united in condemning this violence. We expect that a competent new PM and an interim multiparty government is appointed shortly to help steer the country out of the economic crisis.
6 May update
A state of emergency was declared by the President to maintain essential services which had been on strike. This does not affect movement across our island and between our resorts. Our operations continue to run smoothly.
20 April update
Please watch this video about the ground situation filmed between 1-19 April.
There is a strong sense of unity. Tourists have also joined the protests in some areas! Here is a Twitter video of a tourist remarking that "This protest is an example to the world how to protest peacefully, It's the sense of unity among people - something I've never seen before"
14 April update
Sri Lanka is experiencing her greatest challenge since Independence in the form of an economic crisis that has prompted popular protest. The populist policies of successive governments and unsustainable international borrowing in the past 15 years spiralled into the present crisis, sparked by the economic consequences of the global pandemic. The popular protest that you are likely to have seen in the media is the result of shortages of food, fuel and basic services. Whilst there have been two incidents of violence, the protests have been peaceful and constructive, agitating for more competent economic management of our economy. Following the resignation of the cabinet, constitutional changes that will address the demands of the people are being deliberated in parliament.
In line with my father’s requirement that we safeguard the livelihoods of our people, the Dilmah Tea & Resplendent Ceylon funded MJF Foundation has escalated its humanitarian activities, accelerating our support for small scale agricultural and related entrepreneurship to achieve improved food security and nutrition amongst those worst affected by the crisis. We are also increasing our support to workers in the tea plantation sector and other parts of our business, as well as the wider community.
I thank our global family of partners for the support and encouragement that has always been extended to us and have no doubt that as we continue to fulfil my father’s philosophy of serving humanity through kindness to people and nature, we will emerge stronger from the present crisis.
Please contact me if you have a question.
With warm and sincere good wishes,
Malik J. Fernando
Managing Director, Resplendent Ceylon - Director, Dilmah Tea