To strengthen its tourist sector and attract more visitors, Sri Lanka is offering dual entry status on arrival to travellers from India and six other countries, with visa validity restricted to 30 days.
Sri Lanka’s Department of Immigration and Emigration has announced the launch of a new project that would provide free tourist visas to Indian visitors, who are the island nation’s largest incoming group. This change will take effect immediately and is part of a larger plan launched by a cabinet decision.
According to sources, the move extends the free tourist visa privilege to visitors from six other countries: China, Malaysia, Russia, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand. This effort is part of a reaction to the debt-ridden country’s tourism sector being rebuilt in the aftermath of the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings, which greatly impacted the influx of tourists.
The move is especially noteworthy given the country’s economic woes, which include a financial crisis and shortages of vital products such as food, medication, cooking gas, and gasoline. To resolve these difficulties, the International Monetary Fund decided to help Sri Lanka with a USD 3 billion bailout in March.
The recently launched pilot project provides complimentary tourist visas for the first 30 days of visit and will be in force until March 31, 2024. Travellers travelling from India and the six other specified countries will be granted dual entry status. It is crucial to remember, however, that the visa validity will be limited to a 30-day stay in Sri Lanka.
India has been Sri Lanka’s main source of incoming tourism, and the latest arrival data confirm this. Indian arrivals topped the list in October 2023, accounting for almost 28,000 tourists, or 26% of total arrivals.
This strategic step intends to attract more visitors while also stimulating economic activity in Sri Lanka’s suffering tourism industry, promoting a good course for the country’s restoration from both a security and economic aspect.