Sri Lanka Has Approved Visa-Free Entry For Visitors From Six Countries Including India

Oct 30, 2023

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Sri Lanka Cabinet has approved the issuing of free visas to India, Russia, China, Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia. It will come into immediate effect as a pilot project till the 31st of March. Ali Sabry, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has tweeted.

The minister has stated that the pilot project that is to commence immediately will be extended until March 31, 2024. Sabry posted, “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.”

Earlier in March, Sri Lankan foreign minister Ali Sabry said that Sri Lanka’s relationship with India is ‘one of the most important in our foreign policy.’ Visitors from the mentioned countries can now obtain visas from Sri Lanka without charges. This is a significant change, given that India has been Sri Lanka’s primary source of inbound tourism.

Reports by PTI say, according to the statistics for September, India has led north of 30,000 arrivals which comprise 26% of the total. Chinese tourists follow closely as the second-largest group with over 8,000 arrivals.

The island country has seen a fall in tourist arrivals since the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings. It resulted in the tragic loss of 270 lives. It included 11 Indians and over 500 civilians injured.

Sri Lanka has been fighting a severe economic crisis since its British independence in 1948. Currently, the country is facing political unrest that is marked by protests and calls for President Rajapaksa’s resignation.

The economic crisis has created shortages of basic necessities like food, medicine, cooking gas, and fuel. Even toilet paper and matches are nearly unavailable. Sri Lankans have been enduring the long lines outside stores for their basic needs for months now. They have to wait to buy fuel as well as cooking gas due to the shortages.

The Ministry of Tourism has recently revealed that during the preceding Cabinet meeting, a Cabinet Paper was introduced. It suggests the provision of complimentary tourist visas to foreign travelers from five countries planning to visit Sri Lanka for tourism.

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Sarmind is a Writer and an aspiring Editor who has experience in various short and long-form niches. Her academic pursuits intensely mold her industry background in content creation. She holds a Master's degree in Literature, and when not writing for professional purposes, she can be found re-reading old classics of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. She is super fond of cats and enjoys hours of doom-scrolling through memes on social media while cuddled up with a cup of desi chai. She likes to think she is an intellectual badass (colloquial: nerdy bore), and now all she needs is a sewing kit to complete the look!

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