Sri Lanka to Grant Temporary Visa Exemptions for 7 Countries
Recently, the Sri Lankan government launched a scheme that grants temporary visa exemption to travelers coming from seven various countries, including China, India, and Thailand.
The scheme has already come into effect and will last until March 31, 2024.
The announcement of recent changes to the Sri Lankan visa policy is an attempt to boost the tourism sector in the country, which has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The tourism sector is very significant for Sri Lanka, as it is the fundamental pillar of the national economy.
The country has announced the relaxed visa regulations at the time of the Indian festival season, which can help attract visitors to the region.
Countries granted temporary visa exemption
The latest announcement of temporary visa-free entry to Sri Lanka applies to the following 7 countries:
The visa-free entry facilitates travel for citizens of the abovelisted 7 countries. Citizens of the said countries can now travel to Sri Lanka without obtaining ETA Sri Lanka. It will allow them to save both time and money.
Sri Lanka-India relations
Tourists from India have been a top source market for Sri Lanka for a long time. In 2023, Indian travelers constituted 20% of all international tourists visiting Sri Lanka.
These numbers only confirm that the Sri Lankan authorities should treat India as a priority market and focus on encouraging different types of tourists from this country.
Sri Lanka is also working out special deals for Indians to facilitate their travel as much as possible, including offering low-cost carriers.
Tourism sector in Sri Lanka in post-pandemic times
The Sri Lankan government aims to attract 2 million travelers in 2023. Previously, the target was 1.5 mln.
The new visa-free policy is expected to help in the revival of the tourism sector impacted by the prolonged coronavirus pandemic and the country's financial crisis.
By making travel more accessible and affordable, Sri Lankan authorities expect to significantly increase tourist arrivals, which also means a significant cash injection for the country.
Sri Lanka has been promoting various attractions, such as beaches, nature, cultural, and adventure activities, to offer something for every type of tourist.
Other Asian countries relaxing visa requirements
Sri Lanka is not the only country that has recently relaxed its visa policy. Thailand also introduced temporary visa-free entry travel for nationals of India and Taiwan.
They can travel to Thailand without a visa between November 10, 2023, and May 10, 2024. This is the peak of the travel season in the country.
Thailand has also previously suspended visa restrictions for tourists from China.
Relaxing visa requirements in Asian countries is quite a common practice and hopes to boost the tourism industries to recover from the effects caused by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.