Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka suspends visas on arrival for Thailand and 38 other countries

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

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

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

“While visa-on-arrival arrangements have been made for citizens of 39 countries, we have now decided to put it on hold in view of the prevailing security situation,” the minister said on’s Sri Lanka Tourism Board website.

He added: “Investigations have shown that these attacks have foreign links and we do not want this facility to be misused.”

According to the Sri Lankan government, the visa-on-arrival scheme covers 39 countries, including Thailand. It is a six-month trial period, which will end on October 31, to boost off-season tourism.

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 visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic.

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