COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has granted approval to issue on-arrival visa to tourists from countries, including India and China, aiming to revive its flagging tourism sector after the deadly Easter bombings.
On July 10, the Sri Lankan government planned to revive the visa on arrival and free visa programme for 39 countries with effect from August 1. But the programme then, however, excluded Sri Lanka’s top source markets, namely India and China, according to Colombopage.
The countries included, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Switzerland.
But on Wednesday, Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry approved the pilot project to issue a free visa on arrival to 10 additional countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Philippines, Russia, China, India and England.
The visas-on-arrival pilot programme was part of a larger initiative to increase tourist arrivals to the country during the six month off-season period from May to October.
However, the initiative remained suspended indefinitely following the Easter Sunday attacks that rattled several high-end hotels and churches across the country on April 21.