Opposition Leader Criticizes Government's Decision to Hike Tourist Visa Fees


Opposition Leader MP Sajith Premadasa has strongly criticized the government's recent decision to raise the visa fees for foreign tourists, labeling it as "foolish" amidst a flourishing tourism industry. The sudden increase, revealed by MP Premadasa, includes a jump in service and additional charges for SAARC countries from US$ 20 to US$ 30, pushing the total fee beyond US$ 58. Similarly, fees for non-SAARC countries have surged from US$ 50 to US$ 75, resulting in a total fee exceeding US$ 100.

Premadasa highlighted the detrimental impact of this move on Sri Lanka's tourism sector, citing the suspension of plans to welcome nearly 800 Russian tourists weekly via Red Wings Airline. He questioned the rationale behind the decision, emphasizing the lack of scientific analysis prior to implementation.

Comparing Sri Lanka's visa policy unfavorably to other tourist destinations like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Maldives, and Bali, which have either waived visa fees or offered concessions, Premadasa condemned the government's approach as shortsighted.

The Opposition Leader made these remarks during his participation in the 159th phase of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya’s smart classroom donation programme at a school in Maharagama today.