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Emirates Helps Sri Lankan Travel

Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing
airlines, has simplified visa procedures for Sri Lankans travelling to or
transiting through Dubai by launching the Dubai Visa Processing Centre at its Colombo city office.With the opening of the processing centre, Sri Lankan travellers flying on
Emirates from Colombo to Dubai or points beyond can obtain a Visit Visa (60
days) or Transit Visa (96 hours) with Emirates as their sponsor. This
significantly reduces the visa processing time as travellers are no longer
required to locate a U.A.E based sponsor.

An electronic visa is granted to the applicants in three or less days,
subject to passengers meeting the required eligibility criteria and all
documentation being in order. The new centre is located at Hemas House, 75
Braybrooke Place, Colombo 2.


Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations West Asia & Indian
Ocean, Nabil Sultan said: “Dubai has become an increasingly popular
destination for Sri Lankans who visit the emirate either on business or
holiday; or as a stopover destination when travelling to America and Europe.
We can now expect a larger number of Sri Lankan visitors with the Emirates
assistance in visa processing.”



Nabil noted: “Simplified visa procedures were first launched in India in
October 2002. The overwhelming response it generated there prompted us to
launch the processing centre in Sri Lanka. We hope to extend this facility
to other countries within the Indian sub-continent, which we serve with 101
weekly flights.”


Over the past years, Dubai has witnessed an increasing number of visitors
from Sri Lanka. In 2004, 146,691 travellers from Colombo arrived at the
Dubai International Airport. The total number of Sri Lankan guests at Dubai
hotels registered a growth of seven per cent in 2004 vis-à-vis last year.


“The launch of the new centre is one in a series of value-added services
from Emirates to ensure our passengers have a hassle-free experience”, added
Emirates Sri Lanka Area Manager, Tissa Bibile. “At the centre, applicants
will receive guidance and counseling so that proper documentation and faster
turnaround time can be guaranteed.”


A.G. Faridi, Head Dubai Visa Processing Centre commented: “Travelling to
Dubai - Middle East’s fastest growing business and leisure hub - will
definitely become easier for scores of Sri Lankans as they no longer need to
locate a sponsor in the U.A.E. Also with visas being granted electronically,
passengers are no longer required to queue up at the Visa Delivery Counter
in Dubai International Airport upon their arrival; instead they can proceed
directly to Immigration.”