SL to waive entry visa fee for India, 47 countries

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Colombo, July 31 (IANS) Sri Lanka will begin to waive its existing visa fee for travellers from 48 countries including India and China from August 1 as part of efforts to attract more tourists to the country, officials said on Wednesday.

In a media briefing here, Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said that Cabinet approval has been obtained to waive off the existing $25 visa fee for travellers arriving from India, China, the US, Germany, Canada, Malaysia and Indonesia, among other countries.

Amaratunga said the policy would remain in place for six months, Xinhua news agency reported.

Controller General of Immigration and Emigration, Pasan Ratnayake said that travellers wanting to visit Sri Lanka could obtain the visa approval by submitting all the required information electronically by accessing the Sri Lankan embassy websites in their respective countries or by visiting the Immigration website.

For travellers who have not obtained visa approval before arriving in the country, they can do so by submitting the necessary documents at the existing visa counter set up at the Bandaranaike International Airport.

Ratnayake said travellers from the listed countries will be issued a free 30-day visa and if any travellers needed an extension, they will be required to make a payment.

Despite suffering a set back due to the Easter Sunday terror attacks on April 21 which killed over 250 people and injured hundreds, Sri Lanka is aiming to attract at least 1.9 million to 2 million tourists by the end of the year.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at the media briefing, assured that Sri Lanka was now safe for travel as all the suspects linked directly and indirectly to the suicide explosions had been arrested or had died.

–IANS

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