Not that long ago Sri Lanka was thriving and more and more people had discovered the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. This quickly changed when COVID-19 hit and while Sri Lanka was still recovering, it fell into a heavy economical crisis.
You’ve probably seen the many news articles about the stage of despair Sri Lanka was in.
You might be wondering: is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka right now? I read that the situation is Sri Lanka was becoming more stable, which made me decide to travel there in January 2023 to see for myself.
So, what is Sri Lanka like right now? Is it safe to travel to Sri Lanka in 2023? Read on to find out more about what traveling in Sri Lanka is like right now.
What has caused the recent economical crisis in Sri Lanka?
In recent years Sri Lanka has been facing an economic crisis. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, COVID-19 is not the only cause of the economic crisis.
There were several pre-existing factors that contributed to the economic crisis. These factors include high levels of government debt. Sri Lanka’s government debt has been rising for many years, largely due to the country’s large budget deficits and borrowing to finance infrastructure projects.
Another factor for the economical crisis in Sri Lanka is the depreciating of its currency. The Sri Lankan Rupee has been depreciating against the US dollar, which has made it more expensive to service the country’s foreign debt.
Besides, political instability has played a huge role in the economical crisis as well. Political uncertainty, especially around the 2018 constitutional crisis, have affected investor confidence and led to a decline in foreign investment.
All in all, the pandemic has had a significant impact on Sri Lanka’s economy, mostly in the tourism and export sectors.
These factors have contributed to a number of economic challenges, including a balance of payments crisis, a shortage of foreign exchange reserves, and difficulties in servicing the country’s debt obligations.
However, the Sri Lankan government has implemented a number of measures to address these economical challenges.
These measures include seeking external financial assistance, restructuring debt, and implementing economic reforms. Read on to find out whether Sri Lanka is safe to travel to in 2023.
Are there any power cuts in Sri Lanka?
You might be wondering whether there are still any power cuts here. There are still power cuts every day in Sri Lanka (at the time of writing it is January 2023). These power cuts have been scheduled by the government due to fuel shortages. The times of the power cuts differ according to the place you’re staying in.
For example, in Kandy there was a power cut each day for half an hour around 16:00 o’ clock and then there was another power cut for an hour around 19.30 PM.
When the power cut will take place can also differ by day, even if you’re staying in the same place. So in short, from our experience: there are still (scheduled) power outages every day in Sri Lanka. These usually last for 1.5 to 2 hours in total. They vary per area and the times also vary due to the demand.
As tourists we haven’t encountered any difficulties because of this. The worst case scenario was having no light in our room, which was quickly resolved by lighting a candle.
The power cuts mostly affect The Sri Lankan people instead of the tourists. Yet another reason to travel to this beautiful country and to support tourism here.
What about the queues for gasoline?
You’ve probably seen pictures of the queues in front of the gas stations. Before coming here I still had these pictures in my head and I was wondering what the situation would be like right now. Well, we didn’t encounter any queues at the gas stations.
Since a while there is a new system put in place which limits the amount of gasoline you can take per vehicle. Because of this, the situation has gotten a lot better.
Before this, there would be days that people would have to stand in a queue which was kilometers long to just buy gasoline. While we were in Sri Lanka in January 2023 the gasoline price was approximately 1€ per liter.
Amount of tourism
You might be wondering how many tourists there are in Sri Lanka at the moment. According to our experience in January 2023, there aren’t a lot of tourists here.
In cultural Kandy we hardly saw any tourists. We literally counted them, as we were amazed every time we saw a tourist. In total we encountered five tourists in Kandy.
In lush Ella and popular Unawatuna there were a lot more tourists, but still a lot less than usual. The lack of tourists actually made it easier to enjoy the incredible sceneries this country has to offer.
It’s safe to say that Sri Lanka is very safe to travel to right now. There are still power cuts, yet they hardly affect tourists. Additionally, there aren’t kilometers long queues in front of the gas stations anymore.
Before going here, I was still slightly hesitant due to all the negative news articles I read about Sri Lanka in the past year(s).
However, after traveling to Sri Lanka in January 2023, I can only highly recommend traveling to Sri Lanka as soon as possible. Especially now is a good time to travel to Sri Lanka, as there are a lot less tourists and you will have more space to explore this lovely country by yourself.
Come and enjoy this beautiful land filled with palm trees, waterfalls and above all, very kind people.
Away with Danae
Read more Sri Lanka travel content:
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- Unawatuna, Sri Lanka: A Guide To The Popular Tourist Destination
- Photo Impressions of Sri Lanka in 2023: Why You Should Visit
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