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Monday December 5th, 2022

Sri Lanka can earn more targeting experiences, sustainable tourism

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourism sector must move from promoting products and start promoting experience unique to the island’s culture and history with a focus on sustainability, a marketeer said.

“We have to package Sri Lanka in tourism in to a set of niches. We cannot do one-night stand tourism anymore,” Omar Shaqib Khan from Global Leadership Coach and Founder – Sensei International said at an event in Colombo to commemorate World Tourism day.

Citing official reports he said the average spend of tourists in Sri Lanka is 550 dollars per week.

“The way we have done is everyone spends one night in one destination and moves on to another. They are not coming to see the country.”

He says the way forward is to provide niche packages that would create experiences unique to travelers.

“We have to package Sri Lanka in to niches- cultural Sri Lanka, historical Sri Lanka, colonial Sri Lanka, hikers Sri Lanka, etc., because for each of those niches, enthusiasts will pay,” Khan said.

“But if we are only offering only products (hotels) so what? Everyone is doing. To all these must be executed.”

Along with experiences, he says the services mut follow a ‘gold standard’ from the smallest level to the highest to support the niches in the country.

“There is something called gold standard. Hospitality is warm, caring and a desire to help and Sri Lankans are the most hospitable but services are hard deliveries,” Khan said

Sri Lanka’s Tourism Development Authority had earlier planned to attract 3 million tourists with a revenue of 7 billion US dollars by 2027.

However, in the interim budget for 2022 President Ranil Wickremesinghe has set a target of welcoming 2.5 million travelers by the end of 2023 with high spenders.

This year it is expecting to receive one million arrivals and earn 1.8 billion dollars.

“In order to earn the upper echelons of earning we have to aim for the gold standards. Its a way of every perception points from arrival to departure and everything in between,” Khan said.

“Meeting or receiving expectations consistently and then hospitality is the icing on the cake but not the cake.”

Officials also called on the government to focus on sustainable tourism.

“As an island nation with extraordinary biodiversity, Sri Lanka is extremely vulnerable  to the averse effects of unsustainable tourism,” Christian Skoog, acting Resident Cordinator for UN and Country Representative for UNICEF – Sri Lanka and Maldives.

He explained that many countries looked at their tourism practices to revive the sector post pandemic.

“Sri Lanka has faced a heavy blow but the task we now face in reviving the sector also presents us with an opportunity to address some of these challenges

These include overt tourism and other unsustainable practices, contribution to the climate change, pollution, a loss of biodiversity and a lack of inclusion.”

Skoog says sustainable tourism offerings is no long a choice

“Costs incurred in adopting practices that benefit the environment and community need to be looked at as investments.”

He says this will help to differentiate Sri Lanka overall. (Colombo/Sep28/2022)

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Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium on Sri Lanka debt, 15 years of debt restructuring

ECONOMYNEXT — The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis, India’s The Hindustan Times reported.

While the Paris Club has yet to formally reach out to India and China, Colombo has yet to initiate a formal dialogue with the Xi Jinping regime, the newspaper reported on Saturday December 03, inferring that the chances of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approving its 2.9 billion dollar extended fund facility for Sri Lanka in December now ranges from very low to nonexistent.

“This means that Sri Lanka will have to wait for the March IMF meeting of the IMF before any aid is extended by the Bretton Woods institution,” the newspaper reported.

“Fact is that for Sri Lanka to revive, creditors will have to take a huge hair cut with Paris Club clearly hinting that global south should also take the same cut as global north notwithstanding the inequitable distribution of wealth. In the meantime, as Colombo is still to get its act together and initiate a dialogue and debt reconciliation with China, it will need bridge funding to sustain the next three month before the IMF executive board meeting in March 2023. Clearly, things will get much worse for Sri Lanka before they get any better—both economically and politically,” the report said. (Colombo/Dec04/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea prices up amid low volumes

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka tea prices picked up at the last auction in November amid low volumes, brokers said.

“Auction offerings continued to record a further decline and totalled 4.2 million Kilograms, of which Ex-Estate offerings comprised of 0.6 million Kilograms. There was good demand,” Forbes and Walker Tea brokers said.

“In the Ex-Estate catalogues, overall quality of teas showed no appreciable change. Here again, there was good demand in the backdrop of extremely low volumes.”

High Growns

BOP Best Westerns were firm to 50 rupees per kg dearer. Below best and plainer types were Rs.50/- per kg easier on last.

Nuwara Eliya’s were firm.

BOPF Best Westerns were firm to selectively dearer. Below best and plainer teas declined by 50 rupees per kg.

Uva/Uda Pussellawas’ were generally firm and price variances were often reflective of quality with the exception of Select Best Uva BOPF’s which were firm and up to 50 rupees per kilogram dearer.

CTC teas, in general, were mostly firm.

“Most regular buyers were active, with perhaps a slightly more forceful trend from the local trade,” brokers said.

Corresponding OP1’s met with improved demand. Well-made OP/OPA’s in general were fully firm, whilst the Below Best varieties and poorer sorts met with improved demand. PEK/PEK1’s, in general, were fully firm to selectively dearer.

In the Tippy catalogues, well-made FBOP/FF1’s sold around last levels, whilst the cleaner Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated. Balance too were dearer to a lesser extent.

In the Premium catalogues, very Tippy teas continued to attract good demand. Best were firm to selectively dearer, whilst the Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated

Low Growns

Low Growns comprised 1.8 million Kilograms. Market met with improved demand, in general.

In the Leafy & Semi Leafy catalogues, select Best BOP1/OP1’s were fully firm, whilst the Below Best/bolder BOP1’s were barely steady.

Low-grown teas, farmed mainly by smallholders and exported to the Middle East and Central Asia, are the most sought-after and expensive Ceylon Teas.

Low-grown CTC prices have gained this week to 982.80 per kilogram this week from 934.76 per kilogram last week.

Few Select best BOP1s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower. Poorer types maintained.

BOPF’s in general, firm market.

FBOPF/FBOPF1’s select best and best increased in value, whilst the below best and bottom held firm.

Selected best BOP1’s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower.Poorer types maintained.

OP1’s selects best together with best and below best were firm to dearer. Poorer sorts were fully firm.

Medium Growns

BOPF’s, select best gained by 50 rupees per kilogram. Others maintained.

BOP1’s select best dearer by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others moved up by 50 rupees per kg.

OP1: select best gained by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others dearer by 100 rupees per kg.

OP/OPA’s in general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg whilst the poorer sorts were firm.

PEK’s Select best gained by 50 rupees per kg whilst all others maintained. PEK1: In general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg. (Colombo/Dec 04/2022)

 

 

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Sri Lanka Ports Authority East Terminal contractor paid: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ports Authority had paid a deposit for a gantry crane and made the required payment for the contractor to complete building the East Container Terminal, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said.

The East Container Terminal, a part of which is already built is being completed as a fully SLPA owned terminal at a cost of 480 million dollars Ports and Shipping Minister de Silva said.

“ECT we are funding with money available in the ports authority,” he said.

“Up to now we have paid an advance for the gantry crane. And for the construction we have paid all the money agreed with the contractor. So that is going on well.”

Sri Lanka is undergoing the worst currency crisis in the history of the island’s soft-pegged (flexible exchange rate) central bank which has created difficulties in funding the project.

“Every penny we collect as dollars we are keeping them separately and utilizing that for the Eastern Terminal work,” Minister de Silva said.

“We are confident that the ECT will be completed within the envisaged time. It is a difficult task in view of the dollar problem.

Banks were also not releasing the dollar deposits of the SLPA earlier but are now doing so, he said.

“Our deposits in banks they have utilized for urgent other national purposes,” he said.

“So they are releasing that money slowly. I am happy that they are releasing that money little by little. So with that we will be able to manage that.”

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