ECONOMYNEXT- Investments into Sri Lanka’s tourism sector came to a standstill in the September quarter from three months earlier, official data showed, as effects from the Easter Sunday attacks took further hold.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) data showed total hotel investments which had received final approval since 2010 remained flat at 2.98 billion US dollars at end-September 2019, despite tourist arrivals recovering steadily.
The 68 projects consisting of 2,210 rooms which had yet to start construction at end-June with investments of 249 million US dollars remained dormant.
Another 107 projects remained under construction with investments of 958 million US dollars, unchanged from three months earlier.
In the June quarter, when the attacks had taken place, the SLTDA had approved 16 new hotels with investments of 23 million US dollars.
However, just one new hotel had started construction in the June quarter.
Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka had fallen 18 percent in 2019 to 1.9 million persons due to Islamist bombers attacking three luxury hotels and three churches on April 21.
By the height of the peak season in December, arrivals had recovered to a 4 percent fall, albeit with mostly budget conscious tourists.
The arrivals fall and recovery were better than expected, compared to other terror-hit destinations, tourism and central bank officials have said.
However, in January, the largest hotel chain Cinnamon was seen offering up to 45 percent off for bookings for the entirety of 2020. (Colombo/Jan20/2020)