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:
- Czech Republic
- Slovak Republic
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
- South Korea
- New Zealand