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Sri Lanka cuts visa charges to boost tourism sector

Sri Lanka has revealed it will offer free visas to travellers from India, China and the UK, among others, as it seeks to rebuild its tourism industry.

A recent report illustrated the stark challenges faced by the sector following the Easter Sunday attacks on April 21st.

A series of bombings at luxury hotels and Christian churches left more than 250 people dead, decimating the tourism sector.

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office has since stopped warning against all but essential travel to the island.

However, the body does warn “terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Sri Lanka”.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners,” added the FCO.

In an attempt to overcome fears, the Sri Lankan cabinet has approved a proposal from the tourism ministry to expand a visa free travel programme.

The initiative will run for six months from August 1st.

In the UK, luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent welcomed the move.

Kerry Golds, managing director, said: “Sri Lankans need tourism for their economy, and we can help them – the news that they have lifted their visa fees for UK citizens will undoubtedly draw Brits to this jewel of an island.

“We’ve seen an uplift in enquiries, but still slight caution from our clients.

“Our message is go now, before everyone else does.”

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