A new online visa scheme Sri Lanka plans to introduce, replacing existing on-arrival visas, will be tested for three months before the government decides to implement it, an official said.
Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of the tourism authority, said the online visa scheme where visitors can apply for and get visas through the internet will be tested as a pilot project from the end of January.
No fee will be charged during the online test phase during which the existing visa on arrival scheme will be continued.
"We will test the online visa scheme for three months and, depending on its success, then go ahead with the new scheme," he told Vimasuma.com, our sister news website.
"We will not change the way we issue visas to foreigners all of a sudden. By the end of this month we will start the online visa scheme while continuing with the existing scheme. No fee will be charged during the three-month pilot project. But once the new scheme is officially adopted we will charge a modest visa fee."
Sri Lanka's tourist industry has raised alarm over the new scheme fearing it could deter visitors at a time when arrivals are surging after he end of the island's 30-year ethnic war in May 2009.
Sri Lanka received more than 600,000 tourists in 2010 and aims to attract 700,000 this year. (LBO)
This will make a big difference for sure..keep it up..
Tourist Tuesday, 04 January 2011 01:04 PM
Why Sri Lanka?
Other countries are more inexpensive and uncomplicated.
Oyage Sudu Royalist Tuesday, 04 January 2011 09:13 AM
Typical Royalist. Shame on you.
Ane Manda Tuesday, 04 January 2011 08:08 AM
Amarapala, don't be an idiot! This type of online system should be tested first.
Ram Tuesday, 04 January 2011 01:21 AM
Technically speaking, there must be an automated system to verify the certain information (as one would do with the 'on arrival' visa) and issue the visa automatically or with little human intervention. Then these verified info must be updated and readily available for the immigration officers to re-check on arrival at the counter and let them go in. The officers probably must do a facial verification, if at all.
udesh Monday, 03 January 2011 11:41 PM
This system is not for Sri Lankans.
Amarapala Monday, 03 January 2011 11:08 PM
During the pilot project is in operation why would a prospective tourist apply online when he / she could get his / her visa stamped on arrival???
DSR-Neckar Monday, 03 January 2011 07:10 PM
This is very good move. SlGov should charge same visa fees accordingly the countries that charge SL passport holders. i.e. US charge $ 130.00 per tourist visa.
YURI Monday, 03 January 2011 06:18 PM
gO sRI lANKA GO sRILANK... lol
Gabriel Monday, 03 January 2011 06:14 PM
Hideout Monday, 03 January 2011 02:55 PM
LOL..... good one
Fair N Square Monday, 03 January 2011 01:45 PM
its better to deter the cheap tourists who dont want to pay the visa fee. They will not come for tourism but for scam n other corrupt activities. We are better off without them coz wwe will need more expertise and use up our resources by way of policing em.
Mahmood Ashraf Monday, 03 January 2011 10:36 AM
I Hussein Monday, 03 January 2011 12:33 PM
Make sence. Will save time & unnecessary questions and serve the purspose.
ONLOOKER Monday, 03 January 2011 12:45 PM
We have large numbers of tourists coming from Eat European countries who communicate with the hotel staff in sign language. We will have Diplomuts in our embassies to handle their inquiries in our native language not theirs. GOSL is very good at Laying the Goose that lays the Golden Egg, like the GSP+
Sujee Monday, 03 January 2011 12:26 PM
Sri Lanka needs both the systems. It is wrong to assume that everyone has access to the Internet and are Internet Savvy, In addition, people have emergencies to attend, and need on the spot attention. It is good to issue Visas through Tour Operators as well i.e. Hong Kong does it. This way tourists will get a convenient service.
Punchi Putha Monday, 03 January 2011 12:11 PM
A good move...........
Further, having seperate counters at the immigration point for locals and foreign passportholders would be an good idea to reduce the waiting time! Coz,we must give a good first impression for the foreign tourists visiting the island.
oyage podi guru Monday, 03 January 2011 12:03 PM
Good question! My experience of sending e-mails and inquiries to Sri Lankan officials, public and private, is disappointing.
oyage podi guru Monday, 03 January 2011 12:00 PM
It's a good move to test the on-line visa scheme, but I think it will deter some visitors.
Royalist Monday, 03 January 2011 12:00 PM
Testing to see if the Ban Ki Moonies are coming our way?
Konde bendapu china Monday, 03 January 2011 11:55 AM
Good start for Visit Srilanka 2011
Kasunsiri Gunartne Monday, 03 January 2011 11:11 AM
Way to go Chairman . Go digital .
NADARAJAH SETHURUPAN Monday, 03 January 2011 11:02 AM
shameel Monday, 03 January 2011 10:56 AM
If applied for online Visa How soon people will be able to get the confirmation...lets say when there is an emergency to visit sri Lanka....Are the SLAs for each priority of level.....???
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