Colombo, Aug 6 (UNI) Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a task force to study the possibility of granting visa free entry to visitors from India and certain other friendly countries to increase tourist footfalls in the country.
The move is aimed at encouraging more people to visit Sri Lanka and avoid the “chaos” at the immigration, local media quoted Tourism Minister John Amaratunga as saying.
Following recommendations from the Task Force, this proposal may be implemented in the off peak months of October to November and March to April, he said.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) is currently working on this plan, he added.
Additionally, the minister said the government was also in discussion with airlines, tour operators and hotels to provide low cost packages during the off peak months.
Last week, Amaratunga had said the government would develop the former war-torn northern district of Mannar as a tourism hub by modernising its infrastructure.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, which was once heavily scarred by a 30-year civil conflict, has become one of the leading industries of the country. Tourist arrivals have recorded a 15.3 per cent rise during the first half of 2018 compared with the same period last year, tourism ministry data showed.