Published on : Friday, July 12, 2019
The government of Sri Lanka is all prepared to renew the visa on arrival and free visa programme, which was on hold temporarily after the Easter Sunday blasts, for citizens of 39 countries, apart from India and China, from August 1, as per a media report.
Sri Lanka had on April 25 temporarily stopped its proposals to grant visas on arrival to citizens of around 39 countries following the shocking suicide bombings on April 21 that killed 258 people.
The visa on arrival pilot programme was part of a major effort to grow the tourist arrival number to the country during the six month off-season period from May to October.
The tourism industry of Sri Lanka, which accounts for five per cent of the GDP of the country, is probably to undergo bad pahse due to the blasts, according to industry analysts.
On Tuesday, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga explained that his ministry along with the Department of Immigration and Emigration are togethre working on a proposal to look for Cabinet consent in order to renew the free visa and visa on arrival programme, the Daily Mirror reported.
He observed that the programme will be executed as a trial basis for six months excluding the top source markets of the country like India and China.
Nevertheless, he said that the programme could be extended to these two counties as well in the future based on the success of the trial run.
The minister highlighted that a monitoring system would be placed to stop unwanted people entering the country.
He stressed that the country needs a system to monitor who is arriving in Sri Lanka and to prevent criminals and other troublemakers entering the country,
The countries that will be included in the visa on arrival programme include Austria, the UK, the US, Japan, Australia and Canada, the report said.