Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka suspends visa-on-arrival to Thailand and 38 other countries

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Sri Lankan Catholics held a short holly Mass outside the bombed St Anthony’s Church on Sunday, standing on the road and praying, marking the seventh day of Easter attacks in Colombo. (Photo by Associated Press)

Sri Lanka has suspended plans to issue visas on arrival to Thais and citizens of 38 other countries after the Easter Sunday bombings in Colombo killed more than 300 people.

Sri Lanka’s Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said the government had suspended the planned May 1 launch.

The minister was quoted on the Sri Lanka Tourism Board website www.srilanka.travel as saying: “Although visas on arrival have been arranged for citizens of 39 countries, we have now decided to hold the visas for the time being in view of the current security situation.”

“Investigations have shown that these attacks are foreign-related and we do not want this facility to be misused,” he added.

The Sri Lankan government says the visa-on-arrival scheme covers 39 countries, including Thailand. The six-month trial period will end on October 31 to boost tourism during the off-season.

About 9,000 Thais visited the South Asian country last year, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Board.

Kandy, the ancient capital, is a popular destination for Thai tourists to pay their respects at the Temple of the Tooth.

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