Sri Lanka reopens tourist visas to India, other countries

In a goodwill gesture, Sri Lanka’s government on Wednesday reopened its borders to foreign visitors, permitting travelers from India, China, Singapore, the Philippines, and other Asian countries to enter the country without prior permission. The government is hoping that the move will help bolster tourism in the country, with the first batch of traveler arrivals from India arriving on Wednesday afternoon.

Tourism revenues in Sri Lanka, which hosts the world’s longest man-made beach, helped fuel an economic turnaround after decades of civil war, which ended in 2009. In 2016, tourist arrivals in the country totaled 1.6 million, an increase of more than 20 percent from 2015. As of this July, the government expects that number to grow to 2.7 million. But government officials are concerned that their competitors will siphon off tourism potential, and in 2014 a surge in visitors was put down to an announcement of a new visa-on-arrival policy, which was later rescinded after the government realized that visitors would be unable to get travel documents from vendors near airports, meaning they would need to wait for four to eight hours for visas in the first place.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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