Tourism operators in Sri Lanka heaved a sigh of relief after the government reduced a $50 visa fee to $20, an official said here Monday.
It will be effective January 2012. They will now charge $10 from South Asian travellers and $20 from others, reported Xinhua.
The move comes after Sri Lanka's neighbour India protested the $50 fee as being too excessive and warned that it would severely impact tourism, which has hit an all-time high of nearly 670,000 arrivals.
Sri Lanka hopes to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016.
Tourist Hotels Association President Anura Lokuhetty stated that the reduced visa fee was encouraging news for the industry.
"The initial $50 would have had a definite impact on arrivals to the country. It would have surely slowed down the numbers," Lokuhetty said.
"I still think it is not the correct amount to compete with countries like Thailand and Malaysia. We must offer an attractive, cost effective product," he said