Free visa on arrival facility into force soon | Daily News


Free visa on arrival facility into force soon

Minister Senanayake at the WTM in London
Minister Senanayake at the WTM in London

Sri Lanka will soon be offering the ‘free visa on arrival’ facility to foreigners, said State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wasantha Senanayake.

Speaking to ‘Daily News’ he said that this facility would be initially offered to nationals from EU countries and USA and UK. The facility was earlier planned to be offered to EU, UK, USA, SAARC countries and a few other selected countries from May 1 but was put on hold due to the Easter Sunday blasts.

Sri Lanka currently offers ‘on arrival visa’ only to citizens of Singapore, Nepal and the Maldives. Earlier, the island provided on arrival visa to many other countries, similar to the policy introduced by Singapore. However, that decision was halted eight years ago. The Minister said that the government will now offer this facility soon to attract more arrivals in the aftermath of Easter Sunday blasts. He said that the Foreign Ministry working on completely getting travel advisories removed. The security situation is now totally under control and Foreign missions are made to understand this. “We spoke to Ambassadors based in Sri Lanka, first to tone done the advisories which have been done and now will talk to them again to completely remove them.”

Senanayake who was also the one time Minister of Tourism, participated in the 2018 World Tourism Market in London in November and launched Sri Lanka’s new brand identity ‘So Sri Lanka’.

Senanayake said that Sri Lanka Embassies oversea too have been briefed to promote tourism in a more organized manner. “Each Embassy too has been given targets to promote tourism and a performance report would be called at the end of the year.”

Representing the Polonnaruwa district, Senanayake said that he had already spoken to hotel owners in the area in a bid to help in ironing out their problems due to low arrivals. “I will be now speaking to some of the Jeep Drivers and owners providing services in national parks to see how we could help them with the assistance of both the Ministry of Finance and Tourism.”

He said that similarly, he will speak to owners and specially employees of unregistered tourist hotels to assist them.

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