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Sunday September 24th, 2023

Sri Lanka expects an influx of Chinese tourists in the year 2023

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) anticipates revenue of 2 billion US dollars in 2023 with more Chinese tourists expected to arrive in the coming months.

“The number of Chinese tourists in Sri Lanka is picking up and will increase in the coming months,” SLTDA Priyantha Fernando said. “This year, Sri Lanka has welcomed 13, 771 Chinese tourists so far.”

Tourists to Sri Lanka this year have primarily comprised Russians and Indians with a few visitors from the UK and Australia and other countries making up the rest. China currently occupies the sixth place in terms of tourist arrivals but SLTDA expects this to change.

From January to May 2023, Sri Lanka has welcomed 503,000 tourists in total, an improvement from the 719,978 that arrived in all of 2022. The island nation, still recovering from its worst currency crisis in decades, had originally targeted earnings of 1,550,000 US dollars from tourism for 2023, but it now projects up to 2,000,000 by the end of the year.

A tourist is expected to spend 185 to 195 dollars per day in Sri Lanka.

“Many Chinese tourists bring in a lot of foreign currency due to their spending on shopping and their investment in gemstones” said Fernnado.

However, Fernando acknowledged that the markets for Chinese tourists is varied.

“We receive tourists with mixed spending habits,” he said. “While some of them bring a lot of foreign currency into the local market, there are some who spend less, although it is a little less than or around the average 185-195 dollars a day.” (Colombo/May27/2023)

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Sri Lanka India industrial zone around Trinco, maritime links mooted

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ports Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had highlighted the desire of both the Governments to work closely to develop the industrial zone at Trincomalee, after accepting an invitation to participate in a maritime summit.

The Global Maritime India Summit (GMIS) will be held in India from October 17-19, 2023 at Mumbai where Sri Lanka has been invited at a partner country.

At a curtain raiser event on September 22, India’s High Commissioner in Colombo, Gopal Baglay had said both countries were working on enhancing sea connectivity according to a vision document launched during a recent visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India.

Minister de Silva will lead a delegation from Sri Lanka to the summit.

Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India, T K Ramachandran said the Global Maritime India Summit aims strengthen the Indian maritime economy by promoting global and regional partnerships and facilitating investments.

The event will give an opportunity to the Government of Sri Lanka to attracting greater investment from India in development of its maritime infrastructure, Ramachandran said.

It will also facilitate greater business to business interactions. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka brings back import para tariff on milk

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has brought back an import para tariff called the Ports and Airports Levy, to several grades of milk powder.

Milk powder has been removed from a list of PAL exemptions, making them liable for a 10 percent tax.

The PAL para tariffs are also a contentious issue in terms of export competitiveness, and the government has previously given undertakings that they will be eliminated.

Trade freedoms of the poor figure in an IMF/World bank reform program with the governments.

Milk is a protein rich food, in a country where children of poor families are facing stunting and malnutrition.

Economic nationalism is seen at high levels in food, with several businessmen are pushing for trade protection, amid an overall autarkist (self-sufficiency) ideology, going directly against policies followed in East Asia, which the same as hold up as examples.

Sri Lanka keeps dairy product prices up ostensibly to bring profits to a domestic dairy company and farmers.

Sri Lanka also keeps maize prices up, ostensibly to give profits to farmers and collectors. (Colombo/Sept22/2023)

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Sri Lanka govt warns liquor manufacturers: pay defaulted tax or lose licence

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka government which is struggling to raise the state revenue despite   higher taxes, has warned liquor manufacturers to pay defaulted taxes or lose their licence.

The government is now getting tough with past tax defaulters amid concerns over falling short of this year’s revenue target agreed with the International Monetary Fun (IMF).

“Liquor manufacturing firms owe us 660 crore rupees (6.6 billion rupees),” Siyambalapitiya told  reporters on Thursday (21).

“Most of this or around a third is the only excise tax amount to be paid. The rest is penalty. If a liquor manufacturer does not pay on time, we impose a penalty of 3 percent per month This means 36 percent (penalty) per annum,” he said.

“We have given them deadline to repay the basic excise taxes. If they don’t pay, we will cancel their licence.”

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government committed an ambitious revenue target among many other reforms to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return to a $3 billion loan package.

However, the revenue could face a short fall of 100 billion rupees, State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has said.

A new Central Bank Act also has legally prevented the government of printing money at its discretion as  in the past.  (Colombo/September 24/2023)

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