Home COLUMNS LITE BLOGS Tourism sector wants SL government to continue free-visa regime

Tourism sector wants SL government to continue free-visa regime

11
0
SHARE
COLOMBO, May 22, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Local residents walk by the seashore during a weather of heavy rains and strong winds in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 21, 2018. The death toll from high winds and rains which lashed out across Sri Lanka since Saturday reached eight on Tuesday while over 38,000 people were affected, the Disaster Management Center said in its latest update. (Xinhua/A.S. Hapuarachchi/IANS) by .
COLOMBO, May 22, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Local residents walk by the seashore during a weather of heavy rains and strong winds in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 21, 2018. The death toll from high winds and rains which lashed out across Sri Lanka since Saturday reached eight on Tuesday while over 38,000 people were affected, the Disaster Management Center said in its latest update. (Xinhua/A.S. Hapuarachchi/IANS)

The appeal by the private sector reportedly follows lobbying by the Immigration and Emigration Department for the suspension of the free-visa scheme for nearly 50 countries since August 2019…reports Asian Lite News

COLOMBO, May 22, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Local residents walk by the seashore during a weather of heavy rains and strong winds in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 21, 2018. The death toll from high winds and rains which lashed out across Sri Lanka since Saturday reached eight on Tuesday while over 38,000 people were affected, the Disaster Management Center said in its latest update. (Xinhua/A.S. Hapuarachchi/IANS) by .
Local residents walk by the seashore during a weather of heavy rains and strong winds in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 21, 2018. (Xinhua/A.S. Hapuarachchi/IANS)

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has urged the continuation of the free-visa regime, as it has helped the island nation to recover from the massive setback following the April 21 Easter Sunday attacks that killed over 250 people, a media report said on Tuesday.

The appeal by the private sector reportedly follows lobbying by the Immigration and Emigration Department for the suspension of the free-visa scheme for nearly 50 countries since August 2019.

“The waiver of visa fees is an encouragement and we prefer it to be continued for a further year until the tourism industry is fully recovered,” The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka President Sanath Ukwatte told the Daily Financial Times.

Colombo City Hotels Association President M. Shanthikumar also insisted that the scheme must be continued until the end of 2020 as part of the full recovery phase for the tourism industry.

He said it was helpful to keep tourists arriving especially from regional markets like India.

Colombo, April 22, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Police and investigators work at a blast scene at Shangri-La hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 21, 2019. The death toll from the multiple blasts that ripped through Sri Lanka on Sunday rose to 228 while 450 others were injured, local media quoting hospital sources said. (Xinhua/Wang Shen/IANS) by .
Police and investigators work at a blast scene at Shangri-La hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka,

Shanthikumar said the industry would lobby for the scheme’s continuity when they meet Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga next month.

In October, Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines, described the free-visa scheme as a “positive and welcome step in the right direction as restrictions were a mental hurdle for many people when it comes to making travel choices”.

Following the April bombings that targeted three churches and three luxury hotels in Colombo, there was a massive slump in tourist arrivals to the island nation.

According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, 1.6 million tourists arrived from January to November, compared to the 2 million arrivals in the same period in 2018.

Leave your opinion

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of