Visiting Sri Lanka is about to be easier and cheaper. Starting on May 1, 2019, travelers from over 30 countries will be able to obtain a free visa on arrival in Sri Lanka, saving between $20 and $40 in fees. Countries benefiting from this new policy include the US, UK, Canada, Australia, countries belonging to the EU, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and more.
Whereas previously visas needed to be applied for through an Electronic Travel Authorization online, and had fees attached, travelers can now pick them up upon arriving at Bandaranaike International Airport with little hassle.
The new policy comes at an ideal time, too, when more and more travelers are considering Sri Lanka for their vacations. The number of annual visitors to the country has risen from 448,000 in 2009 to over 2.1 million in 2017, and the government hopes to double that number by 2020, as reported by Lonely Planet.
The free visas will be available for a trial period of six months. Pending the success of the new visa program, Sri Lanka will make the policy permanent.