Visa Free Entry to Sri Lanka for Australian Passport Holders (Was US $35)

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This deal was previously meant to start on 1/5 but was scraped due to the bombings.

Due to a decline in tourism, Sri Lanka is now reintroducing the visa free program for 48 countries including Australia.

Further, the Sri Lankan government has dropped airline fees by decreasing ground handling charges for airlines and lower aviation fuel and embarkation taxes.

Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister John Amaratunga announced Wednesday the government will waive the existing visa fee ($20 for nationals from South Asia and $35 for everyone else) from 1 August for arrivals from 48 countries* as it continues to revive its punctured tourism industry. According to Reuters, the free visa applies to both tourists and those visiting for business purposes and will be effective for six months.

*The free visa initiative applies to nationals from US, Canada, the UK, European Union nations, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, China, India and Indonesia.


Credit to TA for original post.

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Comments

  • +10 votes

    This is soooooooooo going to get OzBargained !!!

  • +19 votes

    Exercise a high degree of caution in Sri Lanka.
    A terrorist attack could happen anywhere, at any time, including in places visited by foreigners.
    All regions of Sri Lanka experience outbreaks of dengue fever.
    Pay close attention to signs warning of landmines

    Smartravellor.gov.au

    • +108 votes

      Sounds safer than the USA. Flights booked!

    • +11 votes

      Lol. People should also do their own research cos travel advice levels varies between usa, Australia, UK, other countries etc. Security and terrorism and all that can be overhyped / underhyped etc

      • +7 votes

        I think the last place anyone ever thought of having a terrorist attack was a country like Sri Lanka until the Easter time. There's the usual being cautious while going to places in Asia (you know, be mindful of people who might rob you with higher prices if you look like foreign, keeping things by yourself at all times etc) and there's being mindful of terrorist attacks, which is what Sri Lanka is faced with unfortunately, especially after recovering so well after the civil war that ended in '09.

    • +26 votes

      Smartraveller.gov.au
      France:
      Official advice:
      High degree of caution
      High threat of terrorist attack
      Avoid all demonstrations as they may turn violent
      Petty crime is a serious problem
      Significant increase in violent theft on public transport
      Credit card and ATM fraud involving 'skimming' is rising
      Vehicles are frequently the target of crime

      There goes that trip to to Paris.
      Smartraveller advice needs to be taken with a degree of common sense.

      • +1 vote

        Agree with the sentiment. Unfortunately any country can be a victim of ideological morons. I’m just back from Europe, including Paris, was in America when 911 happened, I live in Melbourne. Keep your eyes open to your surroundings but you have to really be unlucky to be caught up in an incident.

    • +11 votes

      It's a beautiful country and one of the safest in the region even during the war that lasted 30 years tourist attractions were filled with tourists. Now that peace has been established for over 10 years and country is safer than ever. If you were wondering about attacks, there are more chances of them in other countries than in Sri Lanka. Smarttravellor advise should be taken with grain of salt, there's a thing called common sense and do your own research.

  • +19 votes

    Pay close attention to signs warning of landmines

    Jumping on this before it sells out.

  • +6 votes

    Pay close attention to signs warning of landmines

    Yeah, that clicking sound is not a good warning sign….

  • +2 votes

    Stack the offer with 40% off business class tickets on sri lankan airlines https://samchui.com/2019/07/25/business-class-deal-srilankan...

    Not a deal for me, I'm running the other way…..

  • +5 votes

    Perfect for when the Australian cricket team tour there again, will need to pack the sandpaper and Trump suit.

  • +21 votes

    The terrorist attacks really dessimated the local economy which had only really begun to flourisg after the end of the civil war 10 years ago… Really sad to see.

    I've been a few times and it's pretty much a cleaner version of India with more english capable people

    •  

      Interesting.
      Any comparison to a quieter Bali, or other SE Asian islands?

      • +3 votes

        Havent been to Bali, but have been to Thailand malaysia etc, again it's cleaner and less chaotic (the irony), people are friendlier always inquisitive if you extend them a greeting and generally a really nice nature-orientated tourism industry (safari's , jungle resorts etc).

        Compared to SE Asia countries, dirtier, motorbikes are like flying bullets left right and center, there's also natural beauty but a lot of it is manmade, people aren't as friendly and i noticed would try to rip you off more often

  • +1 vote

    For anyone planning on visiting, I encourage you to read this to help plan your stay and travel in the most ethical way you can: https://www.srilankacampaign.org/ethical-tourism/thinkagain/

  • +8 votes

    I'm in. Everyone I know who's been there has loved the place

  • +11 votes

    It's unfortunate what happened to my home country in Sri Lanka but besides the easter terrorist attacks it's a wonderful place to visit. Nowadays it's been cooled down a bit and most people have resumed the day-to-day stuff, and places and hotels are much cheaper so get the best of them now before they increase the prices again (some of my relatives told me it was really easy to enjoy since the roads weren't as crowdy as before).

    As a caution, make sure to be safe at all times, make sure you have your belongings with you and not being lifted by someone that seems untrustworthy to you, and don't stay with large crowds for too long (the terrorist attacks happened to places with large crowds, and it might happen again, who knows?)

    Feels like i'm advertising for the Lankan government, but hey, prices are really cheap and you won't see these kinds of prices a year from now so better have some fun while you're at it. It honestly sucks what happened to the people during the Easter attacks but the last thing this country needs to be is being deserted by people who do have a fun time in Sri Lanka.

  • +20 votes

    Just returned from our 2 week trip there travelling with our 6 month old. Couldn't have felt more safer.

    Great country to visit. Need any tips, message me.

    Shame I had to pay the visa fee.

  •  

    Probably just wait it out for the terrorist activities (grace period if ever).

  •  

    Why is this a bargain? it’s become a default.

  • +1 vote

    As announced by a local publication:

    https://www.newsfirst.lk/2019/08/01/free-tourist-visa-facili...

    Colombo (News 1st): The program to provide free visa facilities for tourists from 48 countries begins today (August 1). The Tourism Promotion Bureau said tourists from 48 countries, including India and China, will be able to visit Sri Lanka free of visa charges.

    The Bureau stated that its aim is to promote the tourism industry that has collapsed after the 04/21 terror attacks. The Cabinet of Ministers approved free tourist visa programs to attract more tourists to the country.

    Accordingly, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Britain and the United States are among the 48 nationalities who will be granted free visas.

  • -3 votes

    After I checked again, all the news only mention about the reduction of fees but in fact did not even mention about how much. Finally I have found out the info. The ONLY reason why they do not even mention about the amount in most of the news is that it is just bullshit reduction.

    https://economynext.com/Sri_Lanka_to_cut_embarkation_tax_by_US$10_to_boost_tourism-3-15031-12.html

    The reduction in the "Embarkation (aka Departure) Tax is merely $10 USD. Their tax after reduction is still $50USD which is $73AUD, still quite a rip-off.

    Australia charge $60AUD departure tax (increased from $55) which is very high and Sri Lanka even charge a higher tax after the dud reduction.

    Australia Passenger Movement Charge PMC (AU) A$60.00
    Sri Lanka Embarkation Tax (LK) A$73.20

  • +10 votes

    I would have no hesitation returning backeven what happened, once in a decade event.

    USA just had its 250th masss shooting for 2019 and there's no signs of stopping.

  •  

    what's on top of your list that would you recommend me to eat in Srilanka if I'll only be there for 3 hours transit?
    it got to be savoury and not sweets.

    •  

      3 hours transit won't get you much, you won't be able to get out of the airport really. The airport is ok.

    • +1 vote

      3hrs wont be enough time really

      That said Ministry of Crab does some delicious crabs and spectacular prawn curry.

      • -4 votes

        From my personal experience, I didn't love my experience at ministry of crab, especially after spending over 80 AUD pp. The food seemed pretty average to me and the bread we ordered was rock hard.

    •  

      Don't even get out of airport if it's just 3 hrs. With traffic congestion, you are more than likely to miss your flight.

    •  

      The airport is too far from the city. Takes about 45-1 hour each way.

  • +24 votes

    1) cheap flights (as low as $500 return via AirAsia) or direct flights from Melbourne via Sri Lankan Airlines (around $1,000 return)

    2) Accommodation, hotel and Airbnb prices have been dropped dramatically after Easter bombing so great prices up for grabs (Airbnb for 10 people 2 storey house with Aircon 5 rooms and two baths I saw in Airbnb for December break for just 50$ per night!)

    3) Full package - from nice beaches to rainforests, archeological sites to sacred cities, wild life and nice waterfalls. Hiking, surfing and even rafting all within such a small island

    4) Very friendly people who are more than willing to help out for nothing in return (Buddhist culture). And most of them do understand English, all road signs, name boards of shops etc have English (unlike many other popular tourist destinations)

    5) Uber is available almost all main cities, hiring a car is very cheap as well (make sure to hire with the driver because you need extra driving skills to drive there don't even try. Lol)

    Note: like in any other tourist destination, you must use your common sense at all times. Be vary with people who are overly helpful, always seek help from regular people, especially women. Also get out of Colombo as soon as you can. If you stuck in traffic there you will hate the country. Sydney traffic is nothing compared to Colombo traffic.

    • +5 votes

      A helpful comment

      • +6 votes

        Agreed.
        But the reference to Buddhism is a bit naive. You could replace that team name with any other, and still be accurate.

        Great people flying any flag are great people. And the opposite, equally true.

  • +11 votes

    This is where we go on our honeymoon in two weeks. Woo Hoo
    https://www.resort98acres.com/

    • +2 votes

      This will save hours of my time before the holiday. These YouTube links will be a good starting point for me. So helpful..

      • +1 vote

        I am originally from Sri Lanka (I don't want to emphasis how great Sri Lanka is, because then it would be a biased statement), and there are many many things in these videos that even I haven't tried. I am filling up my bucket-list for my next holiday back at home! :D