Tourists on jeeps watch a Sri Lankan elephant during a safari at Kaudulla national park in Habarana. (Photo: ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)


IN THE wake of serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, several airlines and travel booking firms hae agreed to waive cancellation charges for people scheduled to travel to the island nation imminently.

“In light of the recent events in Colombo, we are providing full fee waiver on rescheduling/cancellation for all flights to/from Colombo for travel scheduled till April 24, 2019. Our prayers are with the affected,” India’s domestic airline IndiGo said in a tweet.

Air India, too, made a similar announcement on Twitter.

“In view of the situation in #Srilanka #AirIndia has waived off all charges for rescheduling/cancellation of bookings on its flts to/from Colombo for travel till April 24, 2019,” the airline tweeted.

Sunday’s suicide bombings, which killed at least 290 people and wounded 500, is expected to cast a pall over Sri Lanka’s tourism. India is one of the main markets for Sri Lanka, accounting for close to 20 per cent of its 2.3 million tourist inflow in 2018, reported Business Today.

In 2019, the island nation expected total Indian tourist arrivals to cross one million mark.

“The attacks will not only impact already weak economic activity (real GDP growth was at a 17-year low of 3.2 percent in 2018), but also the country’s relatively vulnerable external liquidity position,” Citi Asia Economics said in a note that warned the hardest blow would fall on tourism, reported Reuters.

Several countries have issued travel advisories asking their citizens to exercise caution while visiting Sri Lanka.

The US State Department said in a revised travel advisory of the danger of “terrorist groups” plotting more attacks.

Targets could include tourist locations, transport hubs, shopping malls, hotels, places of worship and airports.

Japan and Australia have also cautioned citizens planning to visit Sri Lanka.