Sri Lanka to issue visa on arrival to tourists from 39 countries

Apr 05, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal to issue visa on arrival to tourists visiting the island from 39 countries.

Cabinet has decided to issue these visas on gratis basis as an incentive to attract tourists. The programme will be a pilot project effective for an initial period of six months commencing 1st May 2019 and ending 31st October 2019.

The programme will be considered for continuation thereafter based on the progress achieved during the pilot period.

The Cabinet Memorandum was presented by the Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga and received approval with the concurrence of the Ministry of Internal and Home Affairs under whose purview the Department of Emigration and Immigration operates, and the Ministry of Finance.

“I’m happy to note that the President, Prime Minister, and all other Cabinet Ministers wholeheartedly welcomed this proposal,” said Minister Amaratunga.

Minister Amaratunga stated that the programme was being introduced to boost arrivals during what is usually perceived as the ‘off season.’

“We will run this as a pilot project initially in order to increase arrivals during the off season. We estimate that this initiative will result in a 20 percent increase in arrivals. Depending on its success in the initial period we will decide whether to continue with it.”

The Department of Immigration and Emigration is now in the process of making necessary arrangements to implement the visa on arrival programme from May 1.

Amaratunga added that the travel and tourism industry stakeholders had welcomed the move as a step in the right direction.

In addition to the visa relaxation, Sri Lanka Tourism in association with airlines, hotels and other industry stakeholders will also launch a discounted country promotion package for tourists in the off season period.

The countries included in the visa on arrival programme are as follows:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Cambodia
  5. Croatia
  6. Cyprus
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Denmark
  9. Estonia
  10. Finland
  11. France
  12. Germany
  13. Greece
  14. Hungary
  15. Ireland
  16. Italy
  17. Latvia
  18. Lithuania
  19. Luxembourg
  20. Malta
  21. Netherlands
  22. Poland
  23. Portugal
  24. Romania
  25. Slovak Republic
  26. Slovenia
  27. Spain
  28. Sweden
  29. United Kingdom
  30. United States of America
  31. Japan
  32. Australia
  33. South Korea
  34. Canada
  35. Singapore
  36. New Zealand
  37. Malaysia
  38. Thailand
  39. Switzerland