Good news for Indian tourists planning to visit Sri Lanka in the near future, as the country is planning a visa-free entry for them. The Sri Lankan government is pondering over scraping visa for tourists from India and China. The statement was made by the John Amaratunga, tourism minister on Monday.
According to the Amaratunga, a task force has been appointed by the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to analyze the possibility of exempting the visa for visitors from certain tourist friendly nations to accelerate the arrivals. He also said that the visitors from India and China along with some other West Asian and European nations will be benefited from it.
The minister also confirmed that the proposal may be implemented in the off-season months of March-April and October – November, subsequent to the recommendation from the task force.
Until a decade back, the tourism industry of Sri Lanka faced a tough time because of the civil war with the LTTE. But as of now, the island nation has emerged as a top tourist destination in Asia. A growth of 15.3 percent in tourist arrivals has been recorded during the first six months of 2018 upon comparing with the first half of 2017.
India ranked number one on the list of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka. The count of the tourist visiting Lanka from India was 2, 06,337 which was followed by that from China with 1, 36,294 tourist arrivals.
Currently, all tourists to Sri Lanka require an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to their arrival. But the citizens of the Maldives, Singapore and Seychelles are exempted from ETA on the basis of reciprocity. They can obtain a visa on arrival free of cost.