Sri Lanka lifts foreign travel ban to ex-war zone

COLOMBO Tue Jul 5, 2011 1:04am IST

Tourists walk along the Mount Lavinia beach in Colombo June 13, 2011. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/Files

Tourists walk along the Mount Lavinia beach in Colombo June 13, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte/Files

Related Topics

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka lifted a ban on Monday for foreigners travelling to former war zones in the island nation's north as tourism has boomed following the end of a three-decade war in May 2009.

The Defence Ministry said it had lifted the requirement for foreign passport holders to get prior approval for travel to the north, effective immediately.

The restriction was imposed during the final phase of the war, from 2006.

"As normalcy is flourishing in the country we see...travel restrictions to foreign passport holders as no longer required," the Defence Ministry said on its website www.defence.lk, quoting an unnamed official.

The Sri Lankan military fought a quarter-century-long war against separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

The travel restriction to former war zones had applied to foreigners, journalists and independent observers even after the Tamil Tigers were defeated.

The international community and human rights groups said the restriction prevented them from getting independent information on alleged incidents of post-war human right violations, which the government repeatedly denied had occurred.

The government wants to attract foreign visitors to the former war zones as part of an ambitious strategic plan aiming woo 2.5 million tourists and earn $2.5 billion from the industry by 2016.

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Writing by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Michael Roddy)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Barack Obama in India

Reuters Showcase

Climate Change

Climate Change

U.S.-China climate deal does not put pressure on India, says Modi  Full Article 

Bangladesh Politics

Bangladesh Politics

Bangladesh charges opposition chief with instigating attack on bus  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Rebels press Ukraine offensive, Obama promises steps against Russian-backed "aggression"  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Sweet revenge for Murray as old guard hold firm   Full Article 

Box Office

Box Office

Eastwood's "American Sniper" continues as U.S. box office juggernaut   Full Article 

Boko Haram Fight

Boko Haram Fight

Nigeria repels suspected Boko Haram attack on Maiduguri city  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

Dolly ki Doli is a breezy watch, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Full Article | Related Story 

Akshay Kumar's Latest

Akshay Kumar's Latest

"Baby" is a smartly written, well-acted film  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage