Sri Lanka might consider Extending Visa Exemption for Indian Tourists to Bolster Tourism Industry

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9th Feb, Report by: Ruchita Bhatt

Introduction: Sri Lanka is contemplating extending its visa-exempt status for Indian tourists beyond March in a bid to attract more visitors, particularly those who prefer last-minute travel and find visa application processes cumbersome. This move comes as Sri Lanka aims to maintain its position as a favored destination for Indian travelers and promote repeat visits.

Details: Minister of Lands, Tourism, Sports, and Youth Affairs, Harin Fernando, announced the possibility of extending the visa exemption during a session at OTM 2024. Highlighting India as Sri Lanka’s primary source market, Fernando emphasized the significant contribution of Indian tourists to the country’s recovery from recent challenges.

Since December 2023, Sri Lanka has allowed Indian tourists to enter the country without a visa, a policy aimed at simplifying travel procedures and attracting more visitors from India. Fernando expressed the government’s intention to continue this initiative to make Sri Lanka easily accessible for Indian travelers seeking a hassle-free holiday experience.

By granting Indians visa exemption, Sri Lanka hopes to attract a larger number of tourists, especially those who prefer spontaneous trips and find visa application processes burdensome. Fernando stressed the importance of easing travel procedures to encourage more Indian tourists to visit Sri Lanka and boost footfalls in the country.

Ni Made Ayu Marthini, the deputy minister of promotion for Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, also expressed similar sentiments regarding visa policies. Marthini mentioned Indonesia’s intention to grant visa-free status to several countries, with India being a priority due to its large population and significant potential as a tourism market.

Conclusion: As Sri Lanka and Indonesia explore visa exemption policies to attract more tourists, particularly from India, the tourism industry in both countries anticipates positive outcomes. Extending visa exemption status for Indian tourists could lead to increased footfalls, benefiting both the tourism sector and the economies of Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

With ongoing discussions and initiatives to simplify travel procedures, Sri Lanka and Indonesia aim to strengthen their position as preferred destinations for Indian travelers, contributing to the growth and development of their respective tourism industries.