Tourists giving SL a miss amid its crisis: Reports

2018-11-07 09:45:12

A political crisis in Sri Lanka, where two prime ministers are fighting for power, is scaring away tourists and raising questions over foreign aid, ringing alarm bells for the economy as the currency slumps to record lows, the Straits Times reported.

The turmoil in the Indian Ocean nation that has seen one premier refuse to be sacked, and another battle to prove a majority in a Parliament that is banned from meeting, has caused the major upheaval that Sri Lanka cannot afford.

Amid warnings from politicians of a bloodbath, if the dispute escalates, tourists are cancelling hotel bookings just as Sri Lankan beaches and major sites like the Temple of the Tooth prepare for peak season.

While no official figures have been given, deluxe hotels have reported cancellations and a critical decline in new bookings in the past 10 days.

"This comes at the worst possible time when people in Europe are making their holiday plans abroad," a Colombo city hotel executive said.

"We have had a lot of cancellations from the United States."

Western nations have warned their citizens to be on their guard in Sri Lanka.

"You should exercise vigilance and avoid all demonstrations or large political gatherings," a British government advisory said.

Tourism is a cornerstone of the economy. More than 2.4 million foreign holidaymakers visited Sri Lanka last year, spending US$3.2 billion (S$4.4 billion). The authorities had been counting on a rise of more than 10 per cent this year.

And whether Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe stays in office or former president Mahinda Rajapaksa takes his place, foreign earnings will be badly needed.

The Asian Development Bank had predicted that the economy would grow by 3.8 per cent this year and 4.5 per cent in 2019, but all bets are now off.

The power vacuum has raised doubts over a US$1.5 billion Japanese-funded light rail project and another US$480 million of US finance for transport and health, a Wickremesinghe minister, Mr Patali Ranawaka, said last week.

The International Monetary Fund was about to announce an agreement on releasing a new tranche of a US$1.5 billion loan to Sri Lanka when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Mr Wickremesinghe on Oct 26.

  Comments - 21

  • sandy123 Wednesday, 7 November 2018 10:18

    Due to one mans power greedy country is going to dog.

    Reply : 8       165

    JJ Wednesday, 7 November 2018 10:53

    Tourists not turning up only affects those involved in tourist related trade,for the vast majority it has no affect.

    Reply : 184       22

    johan Wednesday, 7 November 2018 13:32

    Seasonal business is over this year.Hotels and resorts are dried up.Now they have to wait one more year looking for green pastures.When Mahadhana Muktha ruling the country this is what happens.More thanthe economy they give preference for their personal agenda

    Reply : 8       53

    RMB Senanayake Saturday, 10 November 2018 11:26

    Its the old story of Sinhalese backstabbing, Sirisena is the latest example.

    Reply : 0       2

    Amara Wednesday, 7 November 2018 10:25

    Well done to both RW and MR for being greedy. RW doesn't want let go of the party leadership and importantly MR cannot accept the fact that people rejected him in 2015. Plus, MY3 being a buffoon.

    Reply : 14       140

    Yahiya Wednesday, 7 November 2018 10:26

    Little surviving down south because English tour. Lastweek down south occupies below 20%

    Reply : 2       79

    Unchikun Wednesday, 7 November 2018 10:28

    Good news for us in Sri Lanka. Now we can find a nice hotel at a reasonable cost in Sri Lanka and need not go to Thailand for the next vacation. The price of Sri Lanka hotel was overpriced after the end of the war in Sri Lanka. Now is the time for Sri Lankans to travel in Sri Lanka. Good.

    Reply : 19       81

    Indran Wednesday, 7 November 2018 10:50

    We should not cry for the greedy hoteliers loosing money. These heartless scums.

    Reply : 47       34

    Sunnyman2020 Wednesday, 7 November 2018 10:56

    Sure it's expensive but sadly due to politicians again. Cost of food electrecity maintenance are much higher than other countries. What can people do...just feeding 225 idiots in the parliament. ? Fight for your rights witout bias mate

    Reply : 1       75

    Pieter Tuesday, 13 November 2018 19:39

    100% waar Sri Lanka is VEEL te duur tegenover andere landen in Asia

    Reply : 0       0

    Pradeepan Wednesday, 7 November 2018 11:06

    All because RW warmed about bloodbath. Please report all peaceful and life as normal

    Reply : 96       18

    Marvel Wednesday, 7 November 2018 11:19

    Such a shame to the country after being named as Number 1 tourist destination country by Lonely Planet! so unfortunate.

    Reply : 8       78

    Jaliya Wednesday, 7 November 2018 14:06

    Did you get to look at all 10 undesirable country list ? Lonely planet isn't that dumb ... they took the money and published sri lanka on a top of a shit list. The current crisis is the proof on that.

    Reply : 31       18

    Smart Aleck Thursday, 8 November 2018 16:19

    Sri Lanka the Lonely Tourist Pradise

    Reply : 0       3

    SN Wednesday, 7 November 2018 11:47

    These strike and processions have become a tradition. Would be nice to make it more colorful and make it a perahara and give more significance. News guys like Big Raja too are doing a big role.

    Reply : 2       21

    cheers Wednesday, 7 November 2018 11:57

    Do you think USA or Europe safe sri lanka is 1000 times safer after 2009 when the tamil tigers were crushed

    Reply : 61       13

    sandy123 Wednesday, 7 November 2018 12:08

    JJ - Please check your general knowledge.

    Reply : 2       42

    Lord Wolfstein Wednesday, 7 November 2018 13:52

    This is only the beginning of the sanctions. Only solution MR has to go.

    Reply : 7       49

    karthik Wednesday, 7 November 2018 13:55

    I think chinese tourists will compensate for the loss.

    Reply : 25       16

    sandy123 Wednesday, 7 November 2018 14:03

    Yes you are absolutely correct since product Sri Lanka is made in China.

    Reply : 3       37

    Roy Tuesday, 13 November 2018 20:51

    Question: has anyone wondered why there is such a lot of diesel power generated in the country ... with old equipment ? A significant drain on the economy despite there being ample options that are cleaner and a lot cheaper the Politicians care about our country ???

    Reply : 0       1

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