Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka to offer FREE tourism visas on arrival to woo back visitors after militant attacks on Easter Sunday [#FREEVisa #SriLanka #EasterSunday]

Sri Lanka will offer FREE tourism visas on arrival to citizens of almost 50 countries as it tries to woo back visitors after militant attacks on Easter Sunday.

Islamist militants on April 21, 2019 bombed churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing more than 250 people, including 42 foreign nationals.

Several countries then issued travel advisories, undermining the crucial tourism industry. Foreign visitor arrivals in May fell 70.8 percent, the lowest since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war a decade ago.

The cabinet of Sri Lanka has agreed to scrap tourist visas, which typically cost $20 to $40 and are applied for online or at Sri Lankan embassies and consulates.

Visa-free entry will be available to 48 nations, including China, India, and the United Kingdom.

“The offer will remain for 6 months and the government will assess the loss of revenue from visas after 6 months.”
– an official at the Tourism Development Ministry

Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga confirmed the measure.

Tourism was Sri Lanka’s third largest and fastest growing source of foreign currency last year (2018), after private remittances and textile and garment exports, accounting for almost $4.4 billion or 4.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2018.

Tourist traffic for the first half of the year (2019) was down by 13.4 percent.

Sri Lanka to offer FREE visas on arrival to boost tourism
Reuters