How is Sri Lanka Balancing its Romance with India and China?

India and China are aggressively luring countries from Asia to Africa. Sri Lanka, due to its strategic location, seems to be drawing both India and China towards it. After China leased the Hambantota Port from Sri Lanka, Colombo readily offered the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in the vicinity of the Hambantota Port. Now, to keep the equation balanced, Sri Lanka is considering offering Visa-Free Entry to both Chinese and Indian tourists. 

According to Tourism Minister John Amaratunga, India and China along with some other European and West Asian Nations can greatly benefit from this scheme. Following recommendations from the core committee, the proposal pf Visa-Free Entry may be implemented in the off season months of October to November and March to April.

Sri Lanka’ tourism industry suffered a massive slump during the civial war in the country. However, in the recent years, the beautiful island nation has emerged as a leading tourism destination in Asia. Tourist arrivals have registered an increase of 15.3%  during the first half of 2018 compared with the same period last year.

India is the leading source destination for tourist in Sri Lanka with about 200,00 arrivals followed by Chinese with approximately 136,000 tourists. All tourists visiting the Island nation must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) before their arrival in Sri Lanka. Now, Sri Lanka is contemplating to waive the ETA and offer Visa-Free Entry to both Indian and Chinese tourists.

Only the citizens of Singapore, the Maldives and the Seychelles are exempt from the ETA and can obtain a visa on arrival, that too free of charge.

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