Published on : Friday, April 26, 2019
Sri Lanka stops Visa On Arrival for citizens of 39 countries after the deadly serial bomb blast series in hotels and churches across the country during the Easter celebration. Earlier Sri Lanka had declared that citizens from 39 countries will receive a free visa-on-arrival, starting on May 1, 2019. These countries include U.S., U.K., E.U., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea.
Sri Lankan authorities revised the Easter bombings toll to 253, from the previous figure of 359, because some of the badly mutilated bodies had been double-counted.
John Amaratunga, Tourism Minister, said: “Although arrangements were in place to issue visas on arrival for citizens of 39 countries, we have now decided to hold it for the time being in consideration of the current security situation”. He added: “Investigations have revealed foreign links to the attacks and we don’t want this facility to be abused”.
The pilot programme of visa-on-arrival was part of a larger initiative to increase tourist arrivals to the country during the six-month off-season period from May to October, 2019.
Sri Lanka’s defence secretary has resigned, due to failure in preventing the horrendous attacks.
The island nation received 7,40,600 foreign tourists in the first three months of 2019. Around 450,000 Indians visited Sri Lanka last year.