Australian travellers have welcomed the government’s recent lifting of its Essential Travel Only warning to Sri Lanka, according to Byron Bay man Michael Murray, who leads tours to the tiny island.
‘Sri Lanka had become an increasingly popular holiday destination for Australians over the past few years, but tourism slumped following the horrific Easter Sunday attacks, adding financial pain to the shock and grief the islanders felt,’ Michael said.
The terror attacks came as a complete surprise to Sri Lankans, who had enjoyed a decade of peace and growing prosperity, he said. It was devastating to see that harmony shattered, and to imagine the consequences for all those who rely on tourism for a living.
‘The people of Sri Lanka are just lovely and it was very sad to see them continue to suffer because of the actions of a few extremists,’ he said.
The easing of the travel warning had seen a boost in the number of inquiries from potential travellers, and a renewed enthusiasm for Sri Lanka.
‘The move by Foreign Affairs indicates the official belief that the attacks were an aberration, and offers reassurance to those intending to go there that they will be safe,’ said Michael.
Michael first visited Sri Lanka in the early 1980s and has become a devotee, returning regularly since 2002. Well known as a property buyer in Byron Bay, his ‘sideline’ passion is sharing with others his love of the country’s history, culture, food, and great surf spots.
Michael is happy to recommence his twice-yearly tours. The next one leaves Colombo on 15 September and he has managed to secure a heavily discounted rate – almost half the usual price.
‘As with Bali after the bombings in 2002, I felt it was important to show support for the country, where thousands of people rely on tourism for their incomes. I’m very glad to be able to return to Sri Lanka, and travel in confidence.’
Call Michael on 0428 555 501 or