Sri Lanka extends free tourist visa facility to India until 30 April


Sri Lanka on Thursday extended the free visa-on-arrival scheme till April 30 for the citizens of 48 countries, including India, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said, as the country tries to revive the tourism sector which was hit by the Easter Sunday bombings.

As a means to recover the country’s tourism industry which suffered a major setback following the Easter Sunday attacks on April 21, 2019, Sri Lanka granted free visas to travellers from 49 countries, including India, for a period of six months from August 1.

With the period coming to an end this month, the Immigration and Emigration Department lobbied the government to suspend the visa scheme, noting that there will be a loss of revenue.

The tourism industry officials said the arrivals during 2019 were well below the 1.9 million arrivals target.The first 11 months data for 2019 had showed arrivals had been 1.67 million down by nearly 20 per cent.