Sri Lanka Grants Visa-Free Entry to Seven Nations
Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has approved a groundbreaking initiative to grant visa-free entry to visitors from seven countries, including India, China, and Russia, as a pilot project extending until March 31, 2024. This significant move aims to promote tourism and enhance the country’s appeal to international travelers, as declared by Tourism Minister Harin Fernando.
In a tweet, Minister Fernando confirmed that the Cabinet has sanctioned visa-free entry for visitors from India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand, effective immediately.
This decision follows the Ministry of Tourism’s previous announcement that a cabinet paper had been presented in a recent Cabinet meeting proposing free tourist visas for foreigners from five countries visiting Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Tourism and Lands Minister Harin Fernando, Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry jointly presented the cabinet paper.
The primary objective of this visa exemption for tourists from several nations is to attract a greater number of visitors to Sri Lanka, with the aspiration of reaching five million tourist arrivals in the coming years, as articulated by the Tourism Ministry. This initiative aligns with China’s announcement of Sri Lanka as one of the 20 countries open to Chinese tourists for travel.
By eliminating the need for visas, this program is anticipated to save travelers time and money while promoting a surge in foreign tourists visiting Sri Lanka. Additionally, the Ministry plans to introduce an e-ticketing system for most of the country’s tourist sites in the near future, streamlining the visitor experience and further enhancing the nation’s allure as a travel destination.