Sri Lanka to re-open five major entry points

Image copyright PA Image caption Sri Lanka’s President Sirisena (right) and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (left) have signed a visa-free agreement

The Sri Lankan government has announced it is reopening five crossings to international travellers amid a lack of arrivals in recent years.

It will allow islanders to enter the country without the need for a tourist visa.

Existing temporary visas will be extended until 31 January 2019 and those seeking permanent visas will be granted a one-year stay, the move said.

Tourists have been banned from travelling to Sri Lanka since late 2015, amid an upsurge in political violence.

Sri Lanka’s rise to prominence as a tourist destination had been helped by increased security measures which resulted in cutbacks in travel to the country during the war on Tamil separatists.

Restricted travel to Sri Lanka for tourists came into force in October 2015 following a terrorist attack at the Galle Face Green in May 2015.

Image copyright PA Image caption Tourists have been banned from travelling to Sri Lanka since late 2015

“The government is in the process of extending the maximum period of temporary Indian travel visa from 30 days to five,” Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said on Twitter.

He also announced that visas would now be given to short-term travel, airlines and companies.

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