Colombo: Sri Lanka will introduce the free visa on arrival facility to 46 countries, including India, with effect from August 1. Also Read - India-Sri Lanka Bilateral Talks: PM Modi Pitches For Devolution of Powers by Lankan Govt to Minority Tamils
Further, a report stated that travel advisories have been toned down or withdrawn for these countries. Also Read - Lankan Navy, Indian Ships Battling Re-ignited Fire on Board Oil Tanker
This is being seen as a bid to improve tourism which has drastically reduced post Easter attacks. Also Read - Experts Join Indian Coast Guard to Control Oil Spill From Tanker on Sri Lanka Waters; Fire Brought Under Control
Sri Lanka had on April 25 suspended its plans to grant visas on arrival to citizens of 39 countries after the devastating suicide bombings on April 21 that killed at least 258 people.
Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga had earlier said that his ministry along with the Department of Immigration and Emigration are jointly working on a proposal to seek Cabinet approval to revive the free visa and visa on arrival programme, the Daily Mirror reported.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, which accounts for around five per cent of the country’s GDP, has suffered due to the blasts, according to industry analysts.
The island nation received 7,40,600 foreign tourists in the first three months of 2019. Around 450,000 Indians visited Sri Lanka last year and the island nation was expecting the total Indian tourist arrivals to cross one million mark in 2019.
Tourism revenues in Lanka increased to USD 362.7 million in November from USD 284 million in October 2018, according to reports.
(With agency inputs)