Sri Lanka approves visa-free entry for visitors from India, six other countries. Details here | Mint
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Business News/ News / World/  Sri Lanka approves visa-free entry for visitors from India, six other countries. Details here
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Sri Lanka approves visa-free entry for visitors from India, six other countries. Details here

Sri Lanka grants free visas to India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia & Thailand.

A security guard crosses a road outside Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI) at night in Mattala, Hambantota, Sri Lanka. (File) Photographer: Atul Loke/BloombergPremium
A security guard crosses a road outside Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI) at night in Mattala, Hambantota, Sri Lanka. (File) Photographer: Atul Loke/Bloomberg

Sri Lanka Cabinet approved issuing of free visas to India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand with immediate effect as a pilot project till 31 March, tweeted Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Ali Sabry.

The minister stated that the pilot project, which commenced immediately, will extend until March 31, 2024.

“Cabinet approves issuing of free visas to India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand with immediate effect as a pilot project till 31 March," posted Sabry on X.

Earlier in March, Sri Lankan foreign minister Ali Sabry said that his country's relationship with India was ‘one of the most important in our foreign policy’.

Visitors from these nations can now obtain visas for Sri Lanka without any charges, marking a significant change. India has historically been Sri Lanka's primary source of inbound tourism.

As reported by PTI, in the statistics for September, India led with more than 30,000 arrivals, comprising 26 per cent of the total, while Chinese tourists followed as the second-largest group with over 8,000 arrivals.

The island nation witnessed a decline in tourist arrivals since the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings, which resulted in the tragic loss of 270 lives, including 11 Indians, and leftover 500 individuals injured.

Sri Lanka, a country that has been contending with severe economic challenges since gaining independence from Britain in 1948, is currently experiencing political turmoil marked by protests calling for President Rajapaksa's resignation.

The economic crisis has given rise to critical shortages of basic necessities, including food, medicine, cooking gas, other fuels, toilet paper, and even matches. Sri Lankans have been enduring long queues outside stores for months, waiting for hours to purchase fuel and cooking gas due to these shortages.

The Ministry of Tourism recently revealed that during the preceding Cabinet meeting, a Cabinet Paper was introduced, suggesting the provision of complimentary tourist visas to foreign travellers from five countries planning to visit Sri Lanka for tourism, as reported by The Daily Mirror.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 24 Oct 2023, 09:53 AM IST
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