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TUI cancels all holidays to long-haul destination as Foreign Office issues urgent warning to Brits not to visit - CHRONICLE LIVE

MAY 19, 2022

Holiday makers TUI have cancelled all holidays to a tourist hotspot up to and including May 31 2022, following updates from the Foreign Office - urging Brits not to travel to the country unless completely necessary.

The change in advice comes following erupting protests across Sri Lanka, with the country currently facing an economic crisis. Medicine shortages are in place, as well as a lack of fuel and food - with widespread power cuts due to rationing in electricity.

The MEN reports that protests have been ongoing since March 31, with a state of emergency being declared this month. An island-wide curfew has also been put in place alongside it - following violence against those peacefully protesting. The Foreign Office has also in-turn updated their travel advice, warning UK travellers against visiting to the destination unless essential.

TUI has released a statement regarding the decision to stop all flights to Sri Lanka. A spokesperson wrote: “Due to the ongoing political and economic instability in Sri Lanka, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) have advised against all but essential travel.

“As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel all holidays to Sri Lanka departing up to and including 31 May 2022. We will be proactively contacting all impacted customers in departure date order to discuss their options.

"Please note this advice does not apply to customers transiting through Sri Lanka’s international airport and customers currently in resort can continue to enjoy their holiday as planned.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and update customers should there be any further updates. We would like to thank our customers for their understanding at this time.”

The Foreign Office warns that "several incidents took place on 9 May involving violence against peaceful protesters" including areas in Colombo and Kandy, and that "further incidents could take place.”

If you have a holiday or trip booked to Sri Lanka, you'll need to get in touch with your tour operator and airline directly.

When the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel, travel firms such as TUI, will usually cancel any trips they are operating and offer customers options such as rebooking to a later date, or receiving a full refund. They may also offer you an alternative holiday for the same dates you were due to travel on, which you can also choose if you wish.

If you have booked your flights and hotel separately, you'll need to get in touch with your airline and accommodation directly. As flights to Sri Lanka aren't banned, it could be that your flight is still scheduled to go ahead - in which case receiving a refund isn't guaranteed.

In this case, you may need to compromise such as accepting vouchers, rebooking to a later date, or switching flights to a different destination (although you may need to pay a difference in fare if this applies). As for your accommodation, this will depend on the terms and conditions of your booking policy - again, you may need to compromise with a rebooking instead of a refund.

It's worth noting that if you choose to travel against Foreign Office advice, your travel insurance will be void - so if anything goes wrong such as lost luggage or illness, you could end up facing some hefty bills.


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