Sri Lanka offers free visas on arrival

Sri Lanka is getting serious about enticing more overseas tourists by offering free visas on arrival for tourists from a host of countries starting next month.

The country saw an increase of nearly 5% in tourism in March and will offer a six-month free visa period from May 1 to travellers from more than 30 countries, Travel Mole reports.

"We will start granting a six-month free visa period from May 1 for selected countries during our lean period, to boost tourist arrivals," said tourism development minister John Amaratunga.

Free visa entry will be granted to nationals of the UK, the EU, the US, Australia, South Korea, Canada, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and New Zealand.

"As the next step of this program, we are planning on setting up a permanent system at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) to issue visa on-arrival, like in many other countries. We believe this would be a major breakthrough in attracting more visitors," the minister added.

The plan may be expanded to include major market China and could be extended permanently depending on its success over the six-month trial period.

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