The FCO have lifted their advice against British tourists visiting certain areas of Sri Lanka, opening up Yala National Park in the south of the Island as well as most of the eastern coastal belt including Arugam Bay and Trincomalee, less than 2 months after the declaration of countrywide peace.
The British High Commissioner Dr Peter Hayes stated:
"I am pleased to announce that we have relaxed the restrictions on travel suggested in the advice we give to British visitors coming to Sri Lanka. We no longer discourage British holidaymakers from enjoying leopard-spotting at Yala National Park, surfing at Arugam Bay or admiring Trincomalee harbour, one of the world's deepest natural ports. We've taken this decision based on our assessment of the improving security situation in these parts of Sri Lanka."
On hearing the announcement, Sanjika Perera, director of Sri Lanka Tourism UK & Ireland, said:
"We are delighted that the FCO have taken action so swiftly to clear UK tourists to experience these key tourism areas of Sri Lanka. This decision is hugely significant for our plans to redevelop the east coast of our island. For example, Yala has been off-limits to UK tourists for many years and will be a great addition for those who want to spot excellent wildlife including leopards. We are convinced that this will raise the number of UK visitors over the course of 2009/10."
Yala National Park contains the highest density of leopards worldwide and is an important addition to Sri Lanka's already exciting wildlife offering which includes a further 12 national parks and 100 protected areas boasting asian elephants, monkeys, and 250 species of bird as well as a wonderful variety of plant life is evident with 74 varieties of orchid unique to the island.