Sri Lanka is contemplating the extension of visa exemption for Indian travellers beyond March to sustain its appeal and encourage frequent visits from the Indian market, revealed Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism and Lands, Sports, and Youth Affairs, on February 8. The announcement was made at the ongoing three-day Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) in Mumbai.
Highlighting the significance of the Indian market, Fernando stated, "India is our primary source of visitors, and the support from Indian tourists has played a crucial role in our recovery from recent crises."
Sri Lanka had initially granted visa-free entry for Indian travellers from December 2023 to March 2024. Fernando expressed the intention to extend this privilege, aiming to position Sri Lanka as a hassle-free and easily accessible destination for Indian tourists.
By facilitating visa exemptions, Sri Lanka aims to attract more visitors, especially those who prefer spontaneous travel and may find visa procedures cumbersome. Fernando emphasised the importance of simplifying travel processes to entice more tourists from India and foster repeated visits.
Additionally, Ni Made Ayu Marthini, Deputy Minister of Marketing at the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy in Indonesia, mentioned that they are working towards extending visa exemptions, with India being a top priority on the list. India holds the second spot as a source for Bali, ranking sixth in overall tourist footfalls in Indonesia.
The ongoing three-day OTM event features over 1,600 exhibitors from 60 countries and representatives from 30 Indian states and Union Territories. The event serves as a platform for over 35,000 industry professionals and buyers to connect and explore opportunities in the travel and tourism sector.