Sri Lanka fears up to $1.5b tourism losses | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 28, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, April 28, 2019

Sri Lanka fears up to $1.5b tourism losses

Sri Lanka fears its lucrative tourism industry could see arrivals drop up to 30 percent, with losses of $1.5 billion this year, after deadly Easter attacks, the finance minister said Friday.

“Tourism will be the worst affected,” Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told reporters. “We expect a 30 percent drop in arrivals and that means a loss of about $1.5 billion in foreign exchange.”

Samaraweera said the country could take up to two years to fully recover from Sunday’s attacks, which devastated three luxury hotels and three Christian churches and killed 253 people killed, among them many foreigners.

The government has blamed local Islamist extremists for the coordinated suicide bombings that shocked a nation recovering from a 37-year ethnic war that ended a decade ago.

The Islamic State group said it carried out the attack and the government says it believes local extremists were at least inspired by IS militants.

“Typically, countries that suffer isolated IS-style attacks see tourism recovering within one-to-two years, as long as root causes are addressed and security measures taken are well communicated,” the minister said.

He pointed to Belgium, France, Spain and Tunisia as countries which recovered their tourism markets within a short time.

Samaraweera said tourism was emerging as Sri Lanka’s success story when Sunday’s blast shattered hopes of reaching a revenue of $5.0 billion, up from last year’s $4.4 billion.

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