Lankan minister rushes to UK over travel advisory



Colombo: Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister GL Peiris has left for London in an attempt to meet British officials and urge them to withdraw a travel advisory on the island nation, a government official said Sunday.

External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilleke Amunugama said Peiris was hopeful of meeting his counterpart though it was still not confirmed, Xinhua reported.

The advisory stated there was an upsurge in nationalism and anti-Western rhetoric in Sri Lanka and cautioned Britons visiting, working or residing in the country to be extra vigilant at all times.

It also advised Britons to stay clear of local demonstrations, while women moving alone or in small groups were told to be armed with self-alarm devices as there was a steep increase in rape and molestation cases.

Xinhua said the Sri Lankan government had initially raised its concerns with the British High Commission in Colombo over the travel advisory when it was first released last month.

However, the issue went unattended as the advisory was released with amendments a few days later but with the same controversial notes.

Tourism industry officials in Sri Lanka are concerned over the impact the advisory may have on British tourists visiting the country.

Sri Lanka expects more tourists from Britain next year with British Airways resuming flights to Colombo in March 2013.

IANS