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Sri Lanka scraps visa-on-arrival

B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Friday announced suspension of visa-on-arrival facility extended to citizens of 79 countries, including India, with effect from September 30.

A public notice posted on the Department of Immigration and Emigration website by said: “It has been decided that the On Arrival Visa Facility be suspended with immediate effect except as regards the countries that have been reciprocal for this facility.”

“Accordingly, the existing visa regime of granting landing endorsements on arrival for tourists will be withdrawn with effect from the 30th of September 2010. Therefore, please note that the tourists from all countries except Singapore and Maldives are required to obtain prior entry visa either from the Department of Immigration & Emigration in Colombo or from the Sri Lanka Missions abroad before their arrival in Sri Lanka.”

Affects tourism

The move could have an adverse impact on the tourism industry, which has witnessed a sharp growth in recent months.

The number of tourist arrivals went up 50 per cent to 63,339 in July 2010, compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, according to figures released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. Sri Lanka was recently ranked as the number one tourist destination by the New York Times in its list of “31 Places to go in 2010”. The maximum number of tourists is from India.

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