Sri Lanka Struggles with Economic Crisis with Hopes for Tourism Revival Ruined

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Published on : Monday, April 25, 2022

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Comprising ancient fort and sandy beaches, the city of Galle on Sri Lanka’s southern coast was expecting an influx in visitors this year.

However, another power cut has plunged the city into darkness, leaving it deserted bereft of tourists.

Power cuts and essential food shortages have impacted the island nation really bad, provoking protesters onto the streets and putting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa under increasing pressure to resign.

In 2018, tourism fetched Sri Lanka $4.4 billion, contributing 5.6% to the GDP; however, this dropped to just 0.8% in 2020. However, arrivals topped 100,000 in March for the first time in two years. Overall, tourism numbers are higher compared to 2021, with many considering it to be a pandemic revival.

Restaurant and hotel owners in Galle are also pessimistic regarding a strong revival now, with Sri Lanka struggling for around $3 billion in bridging finance from multiple sources including India, China and the World Bank to pay for critical imports. Sri Lanka is also negotiating for a programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to deal with its foreign exchange crisis.

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