Gratis tourist visa scheme only until April 30 | Daily News


Gratis tourist visa scheme only until April 30

The free tourist visa scheme granted to 48 countries will be discontinued after April 30, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has said.

He added that it has been extended until April due to requests by stakeholders in the tourism sector who say that the industry is showing signs of a re-bound.

Minister Ranatunga said a Cabinet paper to this effect would be submitted for the extension.

After the Easter Sunday terror attacks, the Tourism Ministry announced that the government will waive the existing visa fee US$ 20 for nationals from South Asia and US$ 35 for visitors from other countries) from August last year for arrivals from 48 countries in an attempt to revive the tourism industry.

Sri Lanka started off the last year with a boom in tourism. Visitor numbers were up by 12 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year and the island was named as a top destination by Lonely Planet.

But tourism stalled dramatically after the April bomb blasts which killed over 260 people. International arrivals in May fell by 71 percent, the lowest since the war ended a decade ago, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

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