ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s cabinet has approved to grant free on-arrival visa for touristss, and have expanded the program from 39 countries to 45 in an attempt to recover faster from the Easter Sunday attack, a statement said.
The cabinet had earlier given approval to start the free on-arrival visa on May 01, but the program was halted due to security concerns after the Easter Sunday attack.
The state information office said that new countries have been added to the list in a new cabinet memorandum presented by Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga.
Amaratunga had told the media earlier in July that the program would start on August 01.
Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals have been recovering faster than the state and travel industry had initially expected.
Globally, countries have taken on average around 13 months to recover from a terror attack.
Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals, which had immediately fallen 71 percent in May from a year earlier, had recovered to a 38 percent fall in the third week of July compared to the average last year, according to Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomes.
Gomes is expecting arrivals to fully recover in three to four months.
The government is planning to launch a 1 billion rupee public relations and promotions campaign, and has also taken steps to reduce taxes and fees at the airport to allow reduction of air fares to Sri Lanka.
The full list of countries being given free visa on arrival is as follows:
10. Czech Republic
30. New Zealand
37. Slovak Republic
39. South Korea
44. United Kingdom
45. United States of America (Colombo/Jul24/2019)