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Saturday March 2nd, 2024

Sri Lanka cabinet clears global tourism promotion campaign

TRAVEL WOES: Foreigners wearing masks walk past a restaurant a frequented by tourists in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’ cabinet of ministers had cleared a global promotion plan proposed by the tourism promotion office with no modifications but it may be changed to suit post-Covid needs of the country, a top official said.

“The cabinet gave the approval for the global promotion campaign,: Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism Kimarli Fernando told an online forum organized by Advocata Institute, a Colombo-based think tank.

“They approved it as soon as we gave it with no amendments.”

Connectivty

In addition to the promotional campaign, Sri Lanka also had to look at issues such as increasing connectivity to bring in more tourists using the Colombo’s position as a hub.

“But we have to think how we can increase the connectivity to Sri Lanka before promoting”
Fernando said.

“Do we need changes in charges. Are we going to have open sky encouraging more airlines to come in. We are not optimizing ourselves regarding to connectivity.”

“We are having discussion to make our airport as a transit hub for the region. If we look at countries like Singapore they use their airports to promote their country by being a transit hub.”

Sri Lanka’s airport charges are among the highest in Asia and can be about half the ticket price of a 3.0-3.5 hour flight.

Launching Pad

Chairman of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, Sanath Ukwatte said the global promotional campaign was a long felt need of the industry.

“This has been the major call of all us for the last few years,” Ukwatte said. “This can be a good start to launch our country. We have to plan at least for five years and position Sri Lanka as the best island.”

Fernando said Sri Lanka’s tourism players must not fully depend on the global promotion campaign.

Fernando said before promoting Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka tourism should look at the products and services of the industry and how the system operates.

“The global promotion is not the way to solve all the problems in the industry,” Fernando said. “You should look at your product, services and other thing which we are promoting and also how the industry operates before promoting.”

She also said businesses in the industry should not wait until the Sri Lank tourism board to step in and should start also start promoting their brands.

“Do not stay put waiting for the tourism board to come and solve all the problems. It is not going to happen” Fernando said. (Colombo/ April 21/2020)

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Sri Lanka eyes SOE law by May 2024 for better governance

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is planning to pass a Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act improve governance of state-owned enterprise by May 2024 as part of an anti-corruption efforts following an International Monetary Fund assessment.

Sri Lanka’s state enterprises have been used by politicians to give ‘jobs of the boys’, appropriate vehicles for personal use, fill board of directors and key positions with henchmen and relatives, according to critics.

Meanwhile macro-economists working for the state also used them to give off-budget subsides or made energy utilities in particular borrow through supplier’s credits and state banks after forex shortages are triggered through inflationary rate cuts.

The government has taken billons of dollars of loans given to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation from state banks.

There have also been high profile procurement scandals connected to SOEs.

An SOE Reform Policy was approved by Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers in May 2023.

The Public Commercial Business (PCB) Act has now been drafted.

A holding company to own the SOEs will be incorporated and an Advisory Committee and Board of Directors will be appointed after the PCB law is approved, the statement said. (Colombo/Mar01/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 308.80/90 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 308.80/90 to the US dollar Friday, from 309.50/70 on Thursday, dealers said.

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.65/75 percent up from 10.50/70 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.05 percent from 11.90/12.10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.15/35 percent down from 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.25/40 percent up from 12.30/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.30/45 percent down from 12.35/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.50/13.00 percent from 12.55/13.00 percent. (Colombo/Mar1/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.37-pct, Expo to de-list

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up 0.37 percent on Friday, and SG Holdings, the parent company of Expolanka Holdings Plc, said it was taking the company private.

Expolanka is the largest listed company on the Colombo Stock Exchange.

“Expolanka Holdings PLC has, at the Board Meeting held on 1st March 2024, considered a request from its principal shareholder and resolved to initiate the de-listing of the Company’s shares from the Official List of the Colombo Stock Exchange subject to obtaining necessary shareholder approval and regulatory approvals,” the company said in a stock exchange filing.

As per arrangements with SG Holdings Global Pte Ltd, the Company’s majority shareholder, it will purchase its shares from shareholders who may wish to divest their shareholding in the Company at a purchase price of Rs 185.00 per share. The share closed up at 150.50.

The broader All Share Index closed up 0.37 percent, or 39.47 points, at 10,691; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.64 percent, or 19.59 points, at 3,037.

Turnover stayed above the 1 billion mark for the sixth consecutive day, registering 1.4 billion.

Crossings in Melstarcorp Plc (135mn) up at 89.50, Hatton National Bank Plc (64mn) up at 158.00, Hemas Holdings Plc (53mn) up at 75.00 and Central Finance Company Plc (26mn) up at 103.50, added significantly to the day’s turnover.

“The upward trend is continuing, with more retail buying also coming in, the number of trades was more than 10,000 today,” a market participant said. “Investors are looking for undervalued stocks and buying in quantities.” (Colombo/Mar1/2024).

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