An update on Colombo by Authenticities Sri Lanka

Opinion piece by DMC's Australian representative


OPINION PIECE by Kirsty Thomas-Thoeun of Authenticities Sri Lanka


We have all been hearing on the news of the financial problems Sri Lanka is facing and of the protests. In June, I spent some time with the Authenticities team in Sri Lanka.

To give you an idea on what it’s like for a traveller in Sri Lanka at the moment – Sri Lanka has serious financial issues and there are fuel shortages causing many line ups for fuel (tourism operators not affected by this), and yes, the power can go out – hotels have generators so it’s generally back on in a matter of minutes. The country has been on the headlines in most international media when peaceful protestors from all walks of life, converged into Galle Face, in downtown Colombo, where there has been a protest tent enclave. With the exception of one noted incident, protests have been very peaceful. Sri Lankans of all walks of life want a better path forward.

Kirsty Thomas-Thoeun with the Authenticities Sri Lanka Sensory Indulgences Team on the Foodie Coma Tour

Colombo at night is always vibrant, we had the best night on a Foodie Coma Tour with the Authenticities and Sensory Indulgences team – visited wonderful food and bars in places that you wouldn’t find yourself. We ate from street stalls on Galle Face Beachfront and walked through the peaceful protests that have been going on for months.

As a regular traveller to Sri Lanka – it’s like a second home to me and I have felt just as safe on the streets as I have in other trips. The warmth of everyday Sri Lankans makes this one of my favourite destinations.

Fast forward a month, and you’ve probably all seen the images from Sri Lanka on 9 July 2022. The discontent in Sri Lanka has worsened in recent weeks as the cash-strapped island stopped receiving fuel shipments, forcing school closures and rationing of petrol and diesel for essential services. The culmination of months of protest, the July 9th Protest called by the general public was to dismantle the Rajapaksa political dynasty that has ruled Sri Lanka for most of the past two decades.

Protesters gather at the Old Parliament Building in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 9 July 2022

Hundreds of thousands descended on the capital Colombo, calling for the incumbent President to resign after months of protests over economic mismanagement. Since then, The president announced he will step down after protesters stormed his official residence, the presidential secretariat, the prime minister’s official residence and office and then set the prime minister’s private house on fire. Though the entire proceedings were largely peaceful, setting the Prime Minister’s private residence on fire by some extremist elements is largely condemned by the general public of Sri Lanka.

Following the resignation of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the 15th of July, the Parliament convened to elect the Island’s 8th Executive President through a secret ballot. There were three candidates contested upon which the incumbent Prime Minister, the acting President Mr. Ranil Wikremesinghe succeeded in securing a majority of the votes, hence he becomes the newly elected President of Sri Lanka. He will now form his government and appoint a Prime Minister and a cabinet of Ministers in due course.

It must be mentioned that the country has been peaceful since the 9th of July mass protest as everyone has been eagerly awaiting the election of the new President. The IMF will resume the discussion with the new government and continue its support to restructure the economy with the new leadership.

Foodie Coma Tour vendor
Another Foodie Coma Tour vendor

Multiple shipments of both diesel and petrol have been received during the past weekend with three diesel shipments of 40,000 metric tons each and 35,000 metric tonnes. The energy Ministry has introduced a new fuel distribution system through a QR Code following the successful registration of vehicles. Accordingly, fuel is expected to be distributed commencing the 21st of July. Meanwhile, both gas and fertilizer have been effectively distributed Island wide and seem to be well within control.

Unfortunately, news presents only one slice, often an exaggerated one, that rarely tells a complete story. Certainly, our perspectives said within, do not match with the perspective of the outside world, largely dependent on media stories obscured by agendas.

Sri Lanka has some tough months ahead but tourism offers hope and brings much-needed finances to the country and the estimated 3 million that work in tourism. I highly encourage you still to consider Sri Lanka as the most amazing destination for your clients and all your clients are VIPs with Authenticities Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka | Credit: Akos Helgert

All tourist attractions remain open and all our current tours continue to operate without any hindrance. We would recommend avoiding the city of Colombo until the situation in Colombo is settled and when the new President takes the oath.

We responsibly reiterate that most of the protest held in Colombo is subdued and all other parts of the island continue to be peaceful with no interruption to travel.

Please join our Authenticities Travel industry-only Facebook page Authentiticies Sri Lanka – Page for our Travel Industry Partners for regular updates on the situation in Sri Lanka.

Alternatively, reach out to Kirsty Thomas-Thoeun, Sales and Business Development Manager in Australia on or by phone 0439 194 249 if you have clients looking to travel to Sri Lanka.

Lead image: By comparison to a week ago, there were only a small number of protestors at the Old Parliament Building, Colombo on 18 July 2022.


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