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Sri Lanka Introduces Online Visa System

Sri Lanka Introduces Online Visa System

One-month double-entry tourist visas for Sri Lanka can be applied for online from 1st January 2012 for a fee of US$50.00 with approval in 24 hours. One-month multiple-entry business visas will cost $60.00 and a seven-day single-entry transit visa for $25.00. Visas on arrival will cost $75.00. A trial of the Electronic Travel Authorization system is already online at eta.gov.lk.

Tourism expects to be the first beneficiary of Sri Lanka’s post-conflict recovery and the Government has set ambitious growth targets for international visitor arrivals from 620,000 in 2010 to 2.5 million in 2016 (with 850,000 for 2012), of which around 20% would be business travellers.

Hotel rooms are targeted to grow from 27,735 in 2010 to 45,000 in in 2012, mainly 4/5-star and in the eastern area, with nine international brands already committed including Anantara, Four Seasons, Hilton and Shangri-la.

Next year will bring the opening of a second international airport and Sri Lankan Airlines will commence a service to Zurich this December, having recently started a four-times weekly service to Moscow.

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NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, editor and proofreader for 53 years, and ITTN's News & Features Editor for 43 years. His travel blog is at www.thetravelbuddhist.com.

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