World

Indian tourists exempted from visa fees by Sri Lankan govt

India is among 48 countries whose citizens have been exempted from visa fees for tourism purposes by Sri Lankan government with effect from tomorrow. The decision was announced today during a media conference in Colombo. 

Speaking on the occasion, tourism minister John Amaratunga said visa fees, which ranged from 20 to 40 US dollars, will not be charged for grant of one month visa for tourism. The tourists can apply for electronic travel authorisations online or apply for visa on arrival. 

He said the measure will be implemented for six months initially and a decision will be taken later for extension depending upon its impact on revenue. Joining the media conference, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe said they expect revenues from enhanced tourism arrivals to offset the loss. 

He asserted that security situation in the country has retuned back to normal after Easter Sunday attacks and all the suspects have been taken into arrest. Sri Lankan tourism has been impacted after the attacks but the tourism authorities have claimed that there is a revival seen since last month.

Indian tourist constitute the maximum number with around one fourth of total tourist arrivals. Tourism is Sri Lanka’s third largest and fastest growing source of foreign currency last year, accounting for almost 5 percent of gross domestic product in 2018.

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