Aug 16, 2020

Cabinet paper seeking to up Duty-free allowances

The Tourism Ministry will shortly submit a cabinet paper seeking approval to increase the duty-free allowance for incoming passengers to buy goods and introduce more products for purchase in a bid to revive the duty-free business which has collapsed due to the interruption of airport services.

Accordingly, the Ministry will propose an increase in the allowance and the liquor quota from 2.5 Lt to 3Lt, Tourism Ministry Secretary S. Hettiaarachchi said.

He said the increase of the duty-free allowance would have to be determined by the Treasury.

Mr Hettiaarachchi said they hoped to introduce products such as air conditioning machines and expand the range of mobile phones, washing machines, and other electronic goods in a bid to boost the duty-free sales.

Perfumes and chocolates would also be sold at concessionary prices.

The secretary said duty free sales had dropped severely due to the interruption of services at the airport due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Another reason to propose the increase of the allowance was that the prices of goods have increased over the years and many passengers were finding it difficult to buy these items, he said.

Under the existing duty-free allowance, an adult who spends more than a year overseas is entitled to an allowance of US$ 1,000 for goods brought from abroad and US$ 1,750 for goods bought at duty free shop at the airports here.

A person returning after a stay between 90 days to 365 days abroad is entitled to an allowance of US$ 500 for goods brought from abroad and US$ 625 for purchases at duty free shops.

A person who has stayed less than 90 days is entitled to an allowance of US$ 125 for goods brought from abroad and US$ 187.50 for duty free purchases.

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by has not been edited by SLM staff)