Colombo, Aug 16 (IANS) Due to an increase in the number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka with arrivals expected to hit the 3-million mark by the end of the year, the government announced on Friday that might waive off the entry visa fee 48 countries, including India, indefinitely.
Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said that last year Sri Lanka attracted over 2.3 million tourists and had set a target of over 3 million tourists this year, but arrivals had declined since the Easter Sunday suicide attacks on April 21, Xinhua news agency reported.
"But now, tourist arrivals have picked up again after the attacks, and we may see arrivals hit the 3 million mark this year," the Minister said.
Amaratunga added that the sudden surge in tourist arrivals was partly due to waiving off the entry visa fee for the 48 countries.
Sri Lanka implemented this policy from August 1 and it will last for six months.
However Amaratunga said if more tourists arrive in the country, the government might waive off the entry visa fee for these 48 countries indefinitely.
Through the free of charge entry visa policy, travellers from the listed countries will be issued a free 30-day visa and if anyone needs an extension, they will be required to make a payment.