SL records rise in tourists, may waive off entry visa fee for 48 countries indefinitely
August 16, 2019 10:19 pm
Sri Lanka is seeing an increase in the number of tourists and arrivals may hit 3-million mark by the end of the year, prompting the government to continue with its free of charge entry visa policy, Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said on Friday.
Quoted in local media reports, Amaratunga said last year Sri Lanka attracted over 2.3 million tourists and had set a target of over 3 million tourists this year, but arrivals had declined since the Easter Sunday suicide attacks on April 21.
“But now, tourist arrivals have picked up again after the attacks, and we may see arrivals hit the 3 million mark this year,” the minister said.
Amaratunga added that the sudden surge in tourist arrivals was partly due to waiving off the entry visa fee for 48 countries including China and India.
Sri Lanka implemented this policy from Aug. 1 and it will last for six months.
However Amaratunga said if more tourists arrive in the country, the government may waive off the entry visa fee for these 48 countries indefinitely.
Through the free of charge entry visa policy, travelers from the listed countries will be issued a free 30-day visa and if any travelers need an extension, they will be required to make a payment.