Sri Lanka to offer free visas to Malaysians, others on arrival


  • Business
  • Wednesday, 31 Jul 2019

Tourists walk on a beach as Sri Lanka's military patrol the area as part of security measures after April 21 Easter Sunday bomb attacks on hotels and churches, in Colombo, Sri Lanka July 30, 2019

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka will offer free tourism visas on arrival to citizens of almost 50 countries, a government document showed on Tuesday, as it tries to woo back visitors after militant attacks on Easter Sunday.

Islamist militants on April 21 bombed churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka, killing more than 250 people, including 42 foreign nationals.

Several countries then issued travel advisories, undermining the crucial tourism industry. Foreign visitor arrivals in May fell 70.8 percent, the lowest since the end of Sri Lanka's civil war a decade ago.

A government document seen by Reuters showed the cabinet had agreed to scrap tourist visas, which typically cost $20 to $40 and are applied for online or at Sri Lankan embassies and consulates. Visa-free entry will be available to 48 nations, including China, India, and the United Kingdom

"The offer will remain for six months and the government will assess the loss of revenue from visas after six months, " an official at the Tourism Development Ministry told Reuters.

Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga confirmed the measure to Reuters. He added that he expects the move to boost arrivals but declined to provide details. The ministry said it did not have an estimate of its earnings from visa payments.

Tourism was Sri Lanka's third largest and fastest growing source of foreign currency last year, after private remittances and textile and garment exports, accounting for almost $4.4 billion or 4.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2018.

Tourist traffic for the first half of the year was down by 13.4 percent.

The government will officially announce the offer at 0430 GMT on Wednesday, the Tourism Development Ministry official added.

Nationals from Thailand, European Union nations, the United States, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Switzerland, Cambodia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Russia are among the 48 nations included in the measure. - Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Business News

Oka Corp acquires Kulai land for expansion
Guan Chong stays cautious amid rising inflation, costs
Bintai Kinden appointed by South Korean firm to market piping, fitting products
FBM KLCI jumps in growing anticipation of corporate earnings
Mothercare retailer eyes new physical stores, to revamp existing ones
Touch 'n Go launches digital investment platform
KPJ Healthcare appoints Nik Fawaz Nik Abdul Aziz as chief commercial officer
Malaysia's Treasure Global closes Nasdaq IPO
Ringgit opens lower against US$ as weak China economic data continues to weigh
Bursa's VCM exchange puts a price on carbon emissions

Others Also Read