Lanka slashes visa fee for Indian tourists

Last Updated: Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 15:10

Colombo: Sri Lanka has slashed the visa fee
it planned to charge from tourists from India and other SAARC
countries to USD 10 from the originally planned USD 50, after
New Delhi took up the issue with it.

Non-Indian and non-SAARC nation visitors would, however,
be charged USD 20, officials said today.

India raised concerns in late October over Sri Lankan
immigration`s decision to levy a USD 50 visa processing fee
under the island nation`s new electronic travel authorisation
system (ETA) from January 1, 2012.

"India, through its High Commission here, told us that
the visa fee is high. They wanted it reduced for all visitors
covering SAARC nations," Chulananda Perera, Immigration
Controller said.

India has now replaced Britain as the country with most
tourist arrivals to the island nation.

In September year-on-year, the Indian tourist arrivals
had risen by 50 per cent contributing to a 27 per cent rise
overall, tourism authorities said.

Only the travellers from Maldives and Singapore are
exempted from ETA and the processing fee.

Tourism industry is now looking to revive its fortunes
after the end of the war with the LTTE and has also expressed
concerns over the scrapping of visa-on-arrival facility for
nationals from 78 countries, including India, and replacing it
with ETA.

The government, however, has assured that the ETA would
not cause problems in terms of delays deterring the would-be-
travellers.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 13, 2011 - 15:10

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