- Pawning, withdrawal in banks on the rise as 90% tourists cancel bookings
- Suppliers say 70% orders cancelled
By K. D. Devapriya
Tourist arrivals in the south has shown a sharp decline following security situation in the country much to the anxiety of the hotel owners and thousands of local businesses that depend on supplying services.
A senior official of a State bank in the south said hundreds of people called over at banks every day to pawn their jewellery. He said the individuals who deposited money had dropped to the minimum and those withdrawing their savings were increasing, which was a clear indication of the economic crisis created by the collapse of tourism.
Owners of star class hotels said about 95 percent of tourists had cancelled bookings and that they had suspended orders from suppliers.
Several suppliers said more than 70 percent of the orders had been cancelled.
The safari operators in the Yala Sanctuary said they had been compelled to stall their services for want of tourists. They said their vehicles would soon be seized by the finance companies for arrears of finance installments.
They expressed concern over the prevailing crisis that resulted in loss of their livelihood. They pointed out that several hotels, restaurants and lodges in the Yala area had been closed.
Meanwhile, the owners of lodges, restaurants and business establishments in Kataragama providing services to pilgrims and tourists said they were not in a position to settle their electricity and water bills.
Residents of Kataragama, Tissamaharama, and Udawalawa said they depended on the income from pilgrims and tourists and that they had now lost their livelihood.
The boat operators in Tissamaharama Lake said that they did not have a single tourist or a pilgrim for the last several days.