Sri Lanka may grant visa free entry to tourist friendly nations

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a task force to study the possibility of granting visa-free entry to visitors from certain tourist friendly nations in order to boost arrivals, authorities said on Monday.

Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said that some of the countries under consideration are India, China along with some other European and West Asian nations, reports Xinhua news agency. Amaratunga said this proposal was aimed at encouraging more people to visit Sri Lanka and avoid “chaos” at the immigration.

Following recommendations from the task force, this proposal may be implemented in the off-season months of October to November and March to April, the minister said. He further said the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) was currently working on this plan.

Additionally, the Minister said the government was also in discussion with airlines, tour operators and hotels to provide low-cost packages. “These efforts are underway to ensure Sri Lanka becomes a destination that would be a visited location throughout the year,” Amaratunga said.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, which was once heavily scarred by a 30-year civil conflict, has become one of the leading industries of the country.  Tourist arrivals have recorded a growth of 15.3 per cent during the first half of 2018 compared with the same period last year.

(Yahoo News)