If you are planning a vacation to Sri Lanka, this might not be the ideal time to visit. Sri Lankan government has put a halt to the visa-on-arrival facility for the time being following the terror attacks. By Swastika Mukhopadhyay
Travellers visiting Sri Lanka might have to hold off their plans for a while since the visa on arrival programme has been put on hold by the Sri Lankan government following the terror attacks. The free visa on arrival facility for 39 countries was supposed to commence from May 1, 2019 providing a hassle-free experience for the tourists visiting Sri Lanka.
Suspecting foreign involvement in the attacks, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said, “Although arrangements were in place to issue visas-on-arrival for citizens of 39 countries, we have now decided to hold it for the time being in consideration of the current security situation.”
The scheme was initially proposed to enhance tourism in Sri Lanka and attract more tourists, especially during the off-season starting from May to October. The trial period of this programme was supposed to be six months, most likely to be extended.
“Investigations have revealed foreign links to the attacks and we don’t want this facility to be abused,” said Amaratunga.
Sri Lanka enjoys thriving tourism, which accounts for around five percent of the country’s GDP. But the terror attacks have surely left a huge dent in the tourism industry. The country hosted about 7,40,600 foreign tourists at the beginning of this year. With around 4,50,000 Indians visiting Sri Lanka last year, the nation was expecting the Indian tourist mark to cross one million in 2019.