Jam-packed with stunning natural landscapes of pristine beaches in Bentota, the exotic botanical gardens of Kandy or the modern and ancient heritage in Colombo, the land of tranquility is always on the bucket list of any traveler. As an Indian traveler, your trip to Sri Lanka is not much of a hassle anymore thanks to the new visa scheme of free visa on arrival for Indians recently announced by the Sri Lankan government.
To boost tourism in the country, the Sri Lanka government announced to offer a free visa on arrival in the country to 10 other countries including India.
This scheme will come into effect from 1st August 2019. The visas on arrival program were part of a larger initiative to revive the tourism industry of the country during the six-month off-season period from May to October.
In the new scheme, Sri Lanka has added 10 additional countries to the list along with the original 39-country scheme which was provided free visas.
According to the visa-on-arrival scheme, the countries that have been included are China, India, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Philippines, Russia, and England.
Speaking about the scheme, the Manager of Northern India SriLankan Airlines - Chinthaka Weerasinghe said “We hope to see an increase in the number of tourist arrivals from India and other markets. After the attacks in Colombo in April, we had to make a great effort to revive our tourism and we are excited about this new shift”.
John Amaratunga, Minister Tourism Development Sri Lanka said: “We start offering a free visa period for six months for some selected countries during our off-peak season. In the next stage, we plan to set up a permanent system at Bandaranaike International Airport to issue visas on arrival. This is a significant step in attracting more tourists this year.”
According to the first monthly report of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority since the terror attacks, tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka decreased 7.5% in April 2019 compared to the same period last year. There were 7,40,600 foreign tourists traveling to the country in the first three months of 2019 and more half of them are Indian travelers.
In the near future, there will be more tourist promotion campaigns by the government. There is not much additional requirements or document for free visa on arrival for Indian tourists. Indian passport holders need to achieve a general Sri Lankan tourist E-Visa application and submit a digital photo, passport with validity of 6 months, proof of round trip ticket and proof of funds to cover the travel expenses during your stay in Sri Lanka.
India is one of the largest contributors to Sri Lanka’s tourism market, with over 18% of all tourist arrivals from the country.
Earlier, Indians had to pay almost Rs 2,400 on visa fees on arrival in Sri Lanka, but with a new scheme of free visa, Indian tourists can now enjoy a hassle-free holiday in Sri Lanka.