Sri Lanka to offer free visas on arrival to boost tourism
Sri Lanka will offer free tourism visas on arrival to citizens of almost 50 countries, a government document showed on Tuesday, as it tries to woo back visitors after militant attacks on Easter Sunday.
Islamist militants on April 21 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.
A government document seen by Reuters showed the cabinet had 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 six months and the government will assess the loss of revenue from visas after six months,” an official at the Tourism Development Ministry told Reuters.
Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga confirmed the measure to Reuters. He added that he expects the move to boost arrivals but declined to provide details. The ministry said it did not have an estimate of its earnings from visa payments.
Tourism was Sri Lanka’s third largest and fastest growing source of foreign currency last year, 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 was down by 13.4 percent.
The government will officially announce the offer at 0430 GMT on Wednesday, the Tourism Development Ministry official added.
Nationals from Thailand, European Union nations, the United States, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Switzerland, Cambodia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Russia are among the 48 nations included in the measure.
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All the ageing single ladies and gay men from United States, AUSTRALIA, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Germany will come to taste the sweet delights of our young men and women who walk the beaches looking for a few LKR’s selling their bodies.
Why not offer free Kandy Lamissis and Lehensu Kollo to the tourists?
They can be employed by the Tourism Authority on a monthly wage to provide free services to the ageing tourists? Kishu Gomes, over to you, dear friend.
You dirty rotten minded people. Must you think of something so uncouth towards solving a problem that is effecting so many Sri Lankans effected by the lack of tourists in Lanka. It is the older people from those countries who spend a lot of money. They have been smart, worked hard and saved for their senior ages and also the retirement funds in those countries are very good. So take your minds off the gutter and look at the positives in this move made by the Tourist Board and lets hope things will get better and the visa fees can be enforced in the future again.
Thank you for your comment Stanley.
I am genuinely worried about the social impact of tourism on our country.
I am worried about the export of housemaids to the Middle east as revenue earners.
Our country, a genuine Sinhala Buddhist Nation, should be based on Lord Buddha’s principles on all sectors of social life.
Revenue from human trade (as service providers to rich tourists and housemaids to Arab shieks) is not ethical revenue.
The citizens of our Nation have the capability of specific skills, ie analytical, manufacturing, farming, agriculture, teaching, fishery, agriculture, construction etc. The specific skills of our people should be developed in these sectors and sold to others in the World to support their endeavours.
We are a proud and ethical people lead by clueless and corrupt politicians.
Hi Ms. Fareena Fakutelly, Just curious what is special about ‘Kandy Lamissi’? Are they better than ‘Lammissis’ in the East? What is ‘Lehensu Kolla’? Could you please expalain.
Amarakoon, yes, kandy Lamissis are far superior to the eastern lamissis.
The eastern lamissis are controlled by Hizbullah’s philosophies; so, they are not exactly active and able in horizontal positions.
Lehensu Kolla means the guys who wera a handkerchief on the heads and parade in the southern beaches attracting elderly European men and women.
Dear Karusha Bombe, Thank you for the clarifications. Glad to hear that ‘Kandy-Lamissi’ with 10 acre ‘goyam’ is far more superior to Hus-Bulla’s Eastern Lamissies most probably udergone FGM! ‘Lehensu kolla is something new to me. This may be due to the fact that I never roam in Southern beaches. I love Kalkuda & Pasi kuda and never saw ‘Lehensu-kolla’ or ‘gal-kolla’ for that matter.