The holiday hangover is still not over yet and there is good news in store for those who are planning a vacation to Sri Lanka. The country is now offering free visa on arrival for all the Indian passport holders. It has reportedly extended the scheme recently where it is offering a free visa on arrival till April 30, 2020, for citizens of 48 countries in total. The news was conveyed by Sri Lanka's tourism minister, Prasanna Ranatunga. This decision was primarily taken to again bring the tourism of the country to the stronghold which had hit a setback after the Easter Sunday bombings.
Sri Lanka had also stopped its scheme of offering free visa on arrival in April after the horrifying bombings which reportedly claimed the lives of around 258 people. As a result, around 39 countries were disbarred from this scheme. However, from July, the country started to add more countries to the scheme. This was further implemented from August 1, 2019, and India was also one of the countries which were included in the scheme. In an interview with PTI, Prasanna Ranatunga revealed that they have decided to extend this facility due to the requests from stakeholders.
He also revealed that a cabinet paper would be submitted for this purpose. After the disastrous Easter Sunday bombings, the country had gone on to levying a fee of USD 20 for all the South Asian travellers and tourists along with USD 35 for other travellers from all across the world. According to sources, Sri Lanka's tourism industry tends to contribute around 5 per cent to its GDP but the fateful bombings affected tourism in a grave manner. The bombings reportedly targeted three Catholic churches along with three hotels in Colombo. It reportedly cost the lives of around 250 people, out of which 44 were foreigners and around 37 was gravely injured amongst them.