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Saturday March 2nd, 2024

Sri Lanka tourist agency assesses, supply, demand for post-Coronvirus strategy

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourism promotion agency said it is assessing supply with the UN backed program and is also looking at markets to develop a post-Coronavirus strategy.

The cabinet of minister had last week cleared a 5-year global promotional campaign.

“The approach focuses on consumer types and will allow for research supported global promotional campaign for Sri Lanka and a traveller-focused, evidence-based promotion strategy will be developed,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said in a statement.

Sri Lanka Tourism with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which will assess the impact and current status of the industry.

There are 11,071 registered entities and individuals in the industry. Additionally, thee were 2,669 accommodation facilities with 39,253 rooms.

There were 34 associations in the industry including regional ones. They were in accommodation, travel agency, tour guiding and driving.

“Tourism in Sri Lanka is an industry built on diversity and inclusivity, the input and collaboration of all tourism organisation is critical in the current situation, and would be of great benefit in planning the future,” Fernando said.

“I look to all associations to provide us with their formal proposals to help Sri Lanka Tourism to complete an inclusive long-term strategy.”

Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance industry grouping has already submitted a proposal.

Sri Lanka Tourism’s post-COVID-19 approach will be in two stages – Stage 1 (December Season 2020) and Stage 2 (Post-December 2020).

Stage 1 focuses on the immediate recovery of the industry, which involves changes to the visa process to include mandatory testing, adjustments to the immigration process, airport entry, hotel transfer and certification of hotels to ensure health and safety of tourists, employees and the local community.

Designated quarantine hotels need to be established with staff safety being paramount.

With advice from the Ministry of Health, a detailed guideline will be released, and establishments will be audited to ensure compliance.

The agency also advocated price floor in the midst of the crisis to gauge more money from any tourist that came.

“..[I]t is recommended that a minimum pricing structure be established for accommodation, avoiding undercutting and the resulting race to the bottom, ” tourism office said.

Countries like Vietnam had raced ahead of Sri Lanka and won the goodwill of all persons, especially young people who grow up to head companies and who later invest in the country by their lack of price controls and nationalism observers say.

Compared to East Asia Sri Lanka’s economic literacy is weak, including in monetary policy, trade and property rights, which is a key reason for Sri Lanka lagging behind, critics say. (Colombo/Apr23/2020)

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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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