Crisis-hit Sri Lanka sees $900 mln tourism revenue in 8 months amid slower recovery 

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourism sector has earned close to $900 million in the first eight months of 2022, but the recovery in the island nation’s one of the top foreign exchange earners has been slow, official data showed as travel advisories by Western nations following anti-government protests and emergency law have taken the toll.

Sri Lanka has received 496,430 tourists till end-August and has generated a revenue of $892.8 million (246 billion rupees), the central bank data showed.

The island nation has been desperate for foreign currency earnings from the sector as forex shortage led to cut down of many essential commodities including fuel which led to a power crisis and dragged protests.

August earning was 20 percent down compared to $67.9 million dollars from the previous month’s $85.1 million.

Officials have said that negative publicity in India hit the arrivals and revenue in August despite European countries starting to remove travel advisory on Sri Lanka.

The sector earned over $100 million monthly in the first four months of the year. However, it slipped following the
political instability in the months that followed as an economic crisis turned into a protests-led political crisis that resulted in the resignation of prime minister, president, cabinet, central bank chief, and treasury secretary.

From May, the earnings have halved to around 50 million dollars as the protest turned into violence following the supporters of then prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa brutally attacking unarmed and peaceful protesters. Rajapaksa later resigned amid fears of being attacked by the protesters.

Sri Lanka has been expecting to attract one million tourists by the end of the year with earnings of 1.8 billion
dollars.

Tourism sector officials are still hopeful that the country will have a good winter season as the island
sees some political stability and the ease of long queues for essential commodities including fuel and cooking gas.

It is also targeting long-haul travelers during the winter seasons leveraging on the island’s political stability and the steady flow of fuel and gas supply.

In the first 15-days of September Sri Lanka has received about 14,833 travelers led by Indians and British
holiday makers, though the numbers were less than half of total August arrival (Colombo/Sep20/2022)

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