Sri Lanka has banned foreign tourists from visiting the northern part of the country, a former war zone, without permission due to concerns to national security.
Tourists wishing to visit the northern part of the island will need to seek approval beforehand, according to the country’s defence ministry. The need for permits, which will be in place indefinitely, will prevent what they are calling “negative interventions.” Visitors will be required to explain their objectives and purpose of travel to the north.
It was only in 2009 that the separatist war ended in Sri Lanka, but many see the move as a backwards one. “Free and open travel is the best route to reconciliation and rebuilding,” commented one Sri Lanka travel specialist called Experience Travel. They are sure, at the same time, that travellers booking flights to Sri Lanka and wishing to visit the north will have no difficulties obtaining the right permits.
Sri Lanka fought a civil war for 25 years but it finally ended in 2009 when the government defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels who were fighting to create a separate state for the Tamil minority living in the north and east of the country.