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Wednesday July 24th, 2024

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals expected to top 1.5 million in 2023: official

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals are expected to top 1.5 million in 2023, Chairman of Sri Lanka’s Tourism Development Authority Priyantha Fernando said.

Sri Lanka welcomed its millionth tourist for the year on September 26.

“Looking at the targets we had set for 2023, we are ahead of targets,” Fernando said at an event marking World Tourism Day.

“We have achieved one million tourists up to now.”

An initial target for 1,550,000 tourists set for 2023 will be exceeded, he said.

In April 2023, officials said they were planning to revise the arrival target to 2.0 million for 2023, based on strong first quarter arrivals.

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Sri Lanka to hike tourist arrival target to 2.0mn for 2023

The United Nations World Tourism Organization cited its own tourism barometer on the global tourism sector in May and said that international arrivals reached 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023.

In 2023, an estimated 235 million tourists across the world travelled internationally for the first three months.

“International tourism is well on its way to returning to pre-pandemic levels, with twice as many people travelling during the first quarter of 2023 than in the same period of 2022,” the body said in a statement.

In the first 20 days of September Sri Lanka welcomed 75,222 tourists, according to official data.

Up to August 2023 Sri Lanka was estimated to have earned 1,304 million US dollars from tourism, up 56 percent from a year earlier according to tourism survey data.

Fernando said the sector hoped to become the largest foreign exchange earner for the economy by 2027.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili in a statement released in May said, “International tourism receipts grew back to hit the USD1 trillion mark in 2022, growing 50 percent in real terms compared to 2021, driven by the important rebound in international travel. International visitor spending reached 64 percent of pre-pandemic levels (-36 percent compared to 2019, measured in real terms).”

The UNWTO Panel of Experts claimed the economic situation to be the main wavering factor affecting international tourism in 2023, with high inflation and rising oil prices translating into higher transport and accommodation costs.(Colombo/Sept29/2023)

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  1. Nisha hettiarachi says:

    It is great to hear that Priyantha Fernando is planning to revise the arrival target to 2 million. Do it using multiple channels to promote every little tourist attraction. Social media platforms are media as well. So utilize those free media to promote every beach, every mountain, and every wildlife park Sri Lanka has to offer.
    Commitment from those who support your decision is essential to success.

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  1. Nisha hettiarachi says:

    It is great to hear that Priyantha Fernando is planning to revise the arrival target to 2 million. Do it using multiple channels to promote every little tourist attraction. Social media platforms are media as well. So utilize those free media to promote every beach, every mountain, and every wildlife park Sri Lanka has to offer.
    Commitment from those who support your decision is essential to success.

Sri Lanka presidential candidate cash deposits not updated in 43 years: MP

MP Dullas Alahapperuma

ECONOMYNEXT — The cash deposits Sri Lanka’s presidential candidates are required to pay have not been revised in 43 years, opposition MP Dullas Alahapperuma said, calling for a significant increase in order to save money and to prevent proxy candidates.

Alahapperuma told parliament on Wednesday July 24 that, as per the Presidential Elections Act No. 15 of 1981, a candidate nominated by a recognised political party has to deposit only 50,000 rupees while an independent candidate, or a candidate nominated by any other party or by an elector, must pay only 75,000 rupees.

The MP said the cabinet of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa had approved an amendment to the act to increase these amounts.

“The election commission proposed that this be increased to 2.5 million rupees for political parties and 3 million for independent candidates. This was a pertinent proposal. There were 35 candidates who contested the last election,” he said.

The Act notes that “Where the number of votes polled by any candidate does not exceed one-eighth of the total number of votes polled at the election, the deposit made in respect of such candidate shall be declared forfeit and shall be transferred by the Commissioner from the deposit account to the Consolidated Fund, and in every other case the deposit shall be returned to the person who made the deposit, as soon as may be after the result of the election is declared.”

At the 2019 presidential election, said Alahapperuma, the deposits made by all candidates besides the top two contenders were transferred to the Consolidated fund.

“The number of candidates might be 80 or 85 this election. Many candidates have no basis for contesting, and it costs a vast sum of money to print ballots and other expenses, not to mention the time consumed for counting votes. This is not just to prevent proxy parties from contesting but also to save a lot of national wealth,” he said.

Leader of the House Susil Premajayantha responding to Alahapperuma said, however, that it would not be possible to pass the proposed amendment in time for the 2024 presidential election.

“The election commission made this proposal some time ago. But we know that to gazette a bill, we need to first draft the bill, the cabinet has to decide on it, send it back to the Legal Draftsman, and receive clearance from the Attorney General. So there is no time to bring this amendment for the upcoming presidential election. You can propose it at the next one,” he said. (Colombo/Jul24/2024)

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Sri Lanka deaf driver license project to be expanded islandwide

ECONOMYNEXT – A pilot project that allowed hearing-impaired persons to obtain light-vehicle driving licenses has been successful and will be rolled out island-wide, Sri Lanka’s Motor Traffic Department said.

The project was implemented in the Gampaha District initially where 50 licenses were provided to drivers who qualified.

The project was expanded to the Kurunegala District, where 150 drivers obtained licences. The drivers were given a probation period.

“Actually, this was a very successful project. It has been almost a year and we haven’t received a single complaint yet,” Motor Traffic Department Commissioner – Driving Licence Wasantha Ariyarathna told reporters on Wednesday.

“We plan to roll it out to all 25 districts islandwide.”

The issuance of driver’s licenses to hearing impaired persons will be done on a bi-annual renewal basis.
(Colombo/Jul24/2024)

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Sri Lanka election commission to announce poll date before weekend

File photo of polling booth

ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka’s Election Commission will announce the date of the election before the end of this week, commission chairman R M L Ratnayake told a private news network.

Ratnayake told the privately owned NewsFirst Wednesday July 24 morning that the gazette notification in this regard would be published before the weekend.

“As I stated before, we will announce the date before the end of this week. There is no backtracking at all. We have selected a date that is nearest and most suitable after September 17 for the election,” he said.

Ratnayake told the media at a press conference on July 16 that the commission will publish the notice announcing nomination and election dates before the end of July.

“Our first task is to publish the notice on the election. From the day the notice is published, nominations have to be accepted between 16 and 21 days. The election should be held within four to six weeks of from the day of accepting nominations,” said Ratnayake.

“The candidates must have enough time to do their campaigns after handing over nominations. Time is also needed to cast postal votes and carry out other duties. The election date should also be convenient for the voters. For the acceptance of nominations, we have to consider cultural factors unique to a country like Sri Lanka. Some people consider things like the Rahu period. So we have to find a date that is suitable for everyone,” he said.

Ratnayake said the election commission intends to issue the notice before the end of July.

“This notice will contain the nominations date and the election date. We plan to then hold the election on the most suitable day after September 17.

“Some people had suggested that we have delayed this to end July to the benefit of one party or another. I want to point out that we can delay we can extend it to August 20 if needed,” he said. (Colombo/Jul24/2024)

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