New Visa Rule – Counter-Productive for Tourism & Business
Posted on January 3rd, 2011

Prof. Hudson McLean

Once again another “barrier” to slow down the  growth in Tourism and Investment.

Whom are they trying to punish? The EU or USA passport holders? How many Singaporeans or Maldive citizens visit Sri Lanka? What is their nett worth? Compared to EU, USA, Japan tourists, as well as potential investors?

For thirty five years, the LTTE Tamil Terrorism prevented Tourists and Businessmen from visiting Sri Lanka.

If the country is to move forward rapidly in development and inward investment, the government should make life easy for those foreigners who will bring much needed foreign currency and help stimulate employment in service industry.

Naturally the Hotel & Restaurant industry is concerned on the negative impact the new entry requirement will create. It will place another barrier despite the Visa application which may be done “conveniently” over the Internet.

As a EU Passport holder, I can enter many countries in the Middle East, ASEAN, Japan, South America, South Africa, USA, without any hassle.

Once again a Goon woke-up from his slumber and decided to give his “two cents” worth of advice, creating a negative impact.

The immigration and the Police may afford to employ more officers, if there is a greater number of visitors arriving in Sri Lanka, and the government may impose a US$ 10.00 fee built into the Airline ticket price, to finance the  improvements in  control of undesirables.

In any case if the government Goon(s) thinks that by imposing this new barrier, it might prevent undesirables from entry,  they got another thing coming. Those “undesirables” will get in any case, even if they cannot read or write.

Many of those whom I know, who visit Sri Lanka, at short notice, on a business trip will think twice of having a brief holiday break, with this new inconvenience.

On one hand, the Minister visits the airport to greet the first tourists visiting the Island. And immediately the government places another hurdle to slow down the input of the next wave.

Thailand, Malaysia, Philipines have an “open door” policy for tourists with a 30-day Visa upon arrival and levy a fee at departure. Indonesia has a two-tier Visa purchase scheme at arrival, smooth and hazzle free for non-ASEAN citizens.

If Sri Lanka, at this hour of positive development & comments, why create negative conditions for foreigners who are enthusiastic of visiting this beautiful Paradise under the Sun? Always remember, there are other options available!

I think this matter should receive the personal attention of the President and the Secretary of Defence, who I consider to have common sense and above average intelligence, and scrap this crazy idea forthwith.

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12 Responses to “New Visa Rule – Counter-Productive for Tourism & Business”

  1. De Costa Says:

    Fully agree.
    This is pure stupidity. DO NOT FOLLOW INDIA, BANGLADESH, PAKSITAN.
    Pass laws and give full freedom to travel.

  2. Sri Rohana Says:

    Dear Prof.Mclean! I have read many of your articles in Lanka web and almost all are sincere, more patriot than many Lankans. It is true we need not to issue visas even for 10 years stay if all the visitor who come to Sri Lanka with your calibre. But Professor can we consider all the visitors coming to Sri Lanka are genuine and bona-fide tourists as you?
    Implementing visa to tourists doesn’t mean that punishing anyone. Please read IATA TIM (travel information manual) you can see every country that has tourism industry has various visa system and it is not only Sri Lanka implemented it. Best examples are China, India and Bhutan. They have large tourism industry but any one who wants to come, as a tourist has to get prior visas. That doesn’t mean they punish EU or US passport holders. We have to keep in our mind that tamil terrorists diaspora living in EU, USA, Australia and Canada can visit to Sri Lanka for their future planning’s and hidden agendas under visa free tourist scheme. To monitor them we need a visa system. It is a need of our national security agenda and this should be above all and above the cheap holidaymakers.
    We had to exempted Singaporeans and Maldives as those countries exempted visa for Sri Lankan to their countries. This is reciprocating relationship. Under new tourists visa scheme in Sri Lanka others can apply on line and will issue with in 24 hours I heard.
    But we know how much harassed to genuine Sri Lankan tourists when they apply EU, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand visa. Some countries take more than 3-6 months to process the application. We are way ahead and with in 24 hours they get the visa.
    By the name of tourism many spies, tamil terrorists diaspora members, trainers, advisors informants and mentors of tamil terrorists, NGO’s, anti Sri Lankan agents, smugglers, Commercial fraudsters, International criminals, Sex Maniacs and many more visited to our country. All those came as tourists. At least now we have to control them coming to our country. This problem cannot solve with $ 10 visa fee on airline tickets. Even a $ one is a big amount to EU, USA and should not upset them charge $10 on air fare.
    Thailand and Philippines can issue open visas, as those countries doesn’t have terrorist’s threats as us. After all they have many more threats on tourism too. Bangkok and Manila are the highest affected HIV and STD. “In South Asia, where over 1 million young people between the ages of 15 to 24 are infected with HIV, more than half (62%) are young women”. Ref: UNESCO Bangkok Office
    We must appreciate our defense ministry to implement new tourist visa scheme. My hats off to Hon. Sec Gotabaya Nandimitre Rajapakse for his far sighted patriotic vision.

  3. kathirgaman Says:

    Sri Lanka may be Paradise Island. ( no doubt at all ) but it doesn’t mean world touristes can visit Sri Lanka without visa.
    Even India has also visa system a

  4. kathirgaman Says:

    Sri lanka maybe Paradise Island in the Indian ocean but it doesn’t mean the whole world tourist can visit sri Lanaka without visa.the new visa system can help to prevent those who are infected with HIV and STD. There is nothing wrong to have this visa system.

    Thailand is the worst country infected in HIV after south Africa.

    Prof. Hudson McLean should not compare all these HIV infested country to Sri Lanka.
    and Sri Lanka can not be allowed to follow Thailand and Philippines.
    Kindness and hospitality can not be bought through dollars Mr. Mclean.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    We agree with Sri Rohana that all tourists are certainly not of Prof’s calibre ! Re Tamil arrivals here, most will be ‘boat/ferry people’ from Tamil Nadu Dalit sector pouring into Lanka from the Northern entry points that may soon to be established. According Kumar Moses’s article today, the ltte rump in Lanka are getting ready just for that kind of foul play, making the Tamil population of the North fear them once again.

    How times must we learn the same lesson ? It is called ‘Stupidity’ when the same lesson has to be repeated at high cost. If things go wrong again for the Tamil people of Lanka, the Tamil Leaders of present day must be held accountable for it, more than any other sector.

    We think the NEW VISA RULE is a good thing. Even having the reciprocal arrangement of Visa on Arrival with Singapore may prove to be not too good, as the Singaporeans who will arrive possibly to roost in Lanka will be mostly Tamil. We hear that most Singapore Tamils do menial jobs there.

    The genuine tourist to Lanka will not mind filling up a Visa form on the internet.

    Lanka will have to be on guard regarding its Sovereignty for another 30 years at least, till the Tamil Dalits of Tamil Nadu & the Tamil Diaspora become ‘normal citizens’ of the world.

    LAWS must be put in place to safeguard our Safety & Sovereignty, above all else. Our very survival depends on it.

  6. De Costa Says:

    Besiness activities cannot go on easily with the visa rules. Tourists will come anyway with visas but SriLanka will be backward bound with too many problems to do business.
    My ex company ( Singapore) is pulling out unable to maintain competitiveness because of too many issues ( corruption,politics )- not a single Tamil there. Obtaining visa in a hurry will not be efficient with terrible embassy offcials in most of our consulates.
    Prof is right. Strict law and order , enforcement and the openness in imparative for rapid development.
    At the moment Tamils from Tamil Nadu can trave without visa.
    Why do we follow INDIA ? INDIA is the worst example for development.

  7. Leela Says:

    I agree with Sri Rohana and others.

    Our security is paramount. No tourism or any other business should precede our safety measures. No tourism or business should leave any room whatsoever for LTTE apologists to make inroads into Sri Lanka. Their movements in an out of Sri Lanka should be tracked. If Visa is the best means to do it, so be it.

    Besides, tourism must not be allowed to grow uncontrolled. Steady growth is far better for our future. For the sake tourism business, we should not allow Thailand, Philippine and Macau type of tourist industries to take root in this country.

    We want true visitors and tourists; not one night stands. Introducing visa would not hamper a genuine visitor.
    We should discourage back packed hippies as tourists and George Soras type of investors as business visitors. All undesirable elements should be kept out by all means.
    Leela

  8. M.S.MUdali Says:

    Who are these tourists? Any one welfare for 10 months in Canada or USA can come to SL as a tourist! Most of the WHITES on welfare on these countries are drug addicts and HIV positive or gay/lesbian cases.

    Lanka is not a place to dumb all the western garbage.

    The politicos must bring strict rules on tourism!

    Save our kids and women!

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    We should not have any exemptions for any country re entry visas. Indians (Tamils of Tamil Nadu especially), gain by freely entering Lanka, whilst Lankans have to get visas to enter India.

    It is mainly because of easy entry into North Lanka that illegal migration went on freely from Tamil Nadu. In fact, Lanka was the main point of fleeing for Tamil Dalits from Tamil Nadu ! This has gone on for decades. Is it a wonder that there is a demand for a separate state for Tamils, when endless numbers of Tamils can enter Lanka quite freely ?

    We recommend Visa on the Net for all countries, plus tougher Police action, particularly re drugs, prostitution, and environmental control. Generally speaking, there has to be greater discipline among the population and awareness in Lanka. These are the qualities to be developed, not visa on arrival or development at any cost.

    How many beatings must Lanka take before we develop Spine to stand up to global bullying ? The floggings, as they say, will go on till the morale improves !

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    According to the New Rules, Lanka gives Visa on Arrival only to those countries which give the same to Lankan passport holders on arrival in their countries. There are only two countries in the whole world which do just that viz. Singapore & the Maldives (see LankaPage). India does not, so Indians (including Tamils from Tamil Nadu) will not receive Lankan visas on arrival here. Once the Visa on the Net is in place, all foreigners will have to apply for visas that way, including Indians. Hurray !

  11. De Costa Says:

    Fran,
    “Visa on the Net” – thats a good idea. But how it is going to screen tourists and AIDS ? Super software breaking world records ? Good luck.
    We must follows Singapore and Maldives, not India the stupid backward country full of Mudalis where kids are forced to work like hell.

  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    Mr De Costa :
    I am not generally a fan for Tourism, except that this sphere of activity generates jobs, foreign exchange, gives a face lift to aging cities, usually gives a good name to the country, etc.

    There is no way to screen tourists who carry the HIV virus. No country in the world has such a facility.

    As we know, the HIV virus which results in the AIDS disease, can be transmitted by the carrier’s body fluids (mucus discharges, blood, semen, etc.), to an unsuspecting victim. If the carrier even touches a door handle after blowing his nose, then the door handle will be a source of transmission, at least for a few hours whilst the virus is alive there. The human mucus membranes are the sites of infection. Therefore, we must not touch our eyes, nose, inside of mouth, when in public places, and cover our faces if someone sneezes close by. The only way to protect ourselves is to handle all human body fluids with great care, as even infected mothers milk can transmit the disease to an infant. Hospital workers especially must wear disposable gloves, and wash hands often.

    Such is the world today …. sad to say.

    The HIV virus attacks the human immune defence system, resulting in flu like systems in AIDS. Homeopathy products can be used to counter these symptoms,along with good nutrition and rest. It is the cheapest and safest way to protect ourselves. Lanka should open Homeopathy shops with the medicines & books, as is done in the west & in India.

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