Gangaramaya Buddhist temple in Colombo
Gangaramaya Buddhist temple in Colombo REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reyno

Belgian nationals visiting Sri Lanka can be relieved now, as Belgium government relaxed travel advisory for Sri Lanka from this month, owing to a better security situation in the country, said a statement.

Earlier in September this year, the government had issued an advisory saying, “Given the security situation, traveling to North and East of Sri Lanka is not recommended.”

The move by Belgium follows a relaxation in travel advisory by most of the European countries after terrorism began to decline in Srilanka since the middle of last year, said media reports.

The decline in terrorism has fetched good returns to the contry’s tourism with increasing number of international arrivals. According to official figure, tourist influx grew by 50 percent over a period of one year, and the arrival of Belgian tourists increased by about 108.2 percent between January and November, 2010 as against same period in 2009. In fact, in November alone, Srilanka recorded a whopping increase in arrivals from Belgium by 290.5 percent.

“In less than one year since Sri Lanka got back on the Belgian travel catalogues and only a month since a direct weekly flight was launched, Belgium was clearly accelerating to where it left off in Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals table, prior to terrorism affecting the country,” Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium was quoted as saying in media.

Travel advisories are issued to warn travelers against possible threats while visiting a nation or place in unrest of situations such as war, terrorism, natural disasters, political turmoil or the like. The US Department of State continues to advise citizens against traveling to Iraq where arrival of foreign tourists fell to almost zero after the US invaded the country in 2003.