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Visa free travel to Sri Lanka opens for India, China and five more countries

Currently, many Asian destinations are competing to raise their tourism market, which fell after Covid pandemic.

NEW DELHI:  Sri Lanka on Tuesday sought to turbocharge its tourist footfalls by making arrivals from seven n countries, including India

visa-free. It is a pilot scheme that kicked in with immediate effect and will continue till March 31, 2024. Indians constitute 21% of total tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka.

Currently, many Asian destinations are competing to raise their tourism market, which fell after Covid pandemic. With the objective of reaching 5 million tourists, the Sri Lanka Cabinet decided to waive tourist visa fee for nationals arriving from India, Russia, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan.
It means tourists from these countries will get visas when visiting Lanka without a fee.

The announcement appeared timed with the Indian festival season that has already begun. Sri Lanka hopes to rebuild its wrecked economy partially with enhanced tourist inflow, which has the potential to galvanise the allied sectors even without the visa fee revenue.

“Sri Lanka is fully open and reaching out for tourists. India is our priority market and we are targeting three types of tourists – family, entertainment and Ramayana. We are also working out special deals for Indian tourists and are in the process of tying up with low-cost carriers,” Sri Lankan Convention Bureau (SLCB) chairman Thisum Jayasurya had said earlier. SLCB had led a delegation to India last year in November for road shows to promote tourism.

The SLCB delegation, led by Jayasurya, held road shows in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. “India has always stood strong with Sri Lanka with their boundless love to visit and explore our island. Wonders of our paradise are ready for Indians,” Jayasurya had said. The initial proposal was to issue free tourist visas to arrivals from five countries — India, China, Russia, Thailand and Indonesia.

 

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