Government unveils incentive package to bolster tourism.
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): The Ministry of Tourism has unveiled an incentive package in its recent efforts to boost international tourism to Sri Lanka with the approval from the Cabinet of Ministers this week.
Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando presented these proposals to enhance the country’s appeal to tourists and improve its competitive edge in the region.
The first approved proposal involves launching a pilot project to grant free tourist visas to visitors from seven countries.
Tourist visas will be provided at no cost to travellers from China, India, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan until March 31, 2024.
This initiative aims to keep pace with other Asian destinations that are striving to rejuvenate their tourism sectors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, approval was granted for the introduction of a single payment package ticket that allows foreign tourists access to world heritage sites and historical places.
The primary objective is to simplify the process for tourists, making it more convenient for them to visit these sites without the hassle of dealing with traffic.
Under this new system, tourists can purchase tickets at the airport or online.
Additionally, tourists will have the option to buy railway coach tickets online or at the airport, providing a one-time ticket solution for their travel needs.
These measures aim to improve the overall tourist experience and encourage more visitors to explore Sri Lanka’s cultural and historical treasures.
This incentive package is being offed to tourists at a time the country experiencing new revival in the industry with more travelers’ visiting the island.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry welcomed a total of 64,317 tourists in the first 19 days of October, but this figure represents only 56% of the monthly target set at 147,789, leaving stakeholders cautiously optimistic with just 12 days remaining.
The surge in arrivals during the first 19 days of October has boosted the cumulative number of visitors for the year to 1.08 million, demonstrating a resilient recovery following the multiple challenge-induced downturns.
India emerged as the leading contributor to the tourist influx, accounting for 15,861 arrivals during the first 19 days of October, followed by Russia with 5,666, the UK with 5,279, Germany with 4,241, and China with 4,055 arrivals.
Sri Lanka has set its sights on a year-end target of 1.55 million tourists, signaling confidence in the country’s ability to re-establish itself as a premier tourist destination.
Year-to-date figures reveal a consistent trend, with India maintaining its position at the forefront, accounting for 216,171 tourists. Russia followed with 137,966 arrivals, and the UK contributed 96,122 visitors to Sri Lanka’s growing tourism sector.
Industry analysts said the steady recovery underscores the resilience and appeal of Sri Lanka as a destination of choice, offering travellers a rich blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty and hospitality.