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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2957

COVID – 19 Impact On Tourism & Sri Lanka

By Lakshman Ratnapala

Taking into account the unparalleled travel restrictions across the world, international tourist arrivals will be down by 20% to 30% in 2020 when compared with 2019 -- numbers which translate into a decline in international tourism receipts (exports) of between US$300-450 billion, almost one-third of the US$ 1.5 trillion generated in 2019.

This would mean that between five- and seven-years’ worth of growth will be lost to COVID-19. Putting this into context, in 2009 on the back of the global economic crisis, international tourist arrivals declined by 4%, while the SARS outbreak led to a decline of just 0.4% in 2003

“Tourism is among the hardest hit of all economic sectors. However, tourism is also united in helping to address this immense health emergency, while working together to mitigate the impact of the crisis, particularly on employment." says the WTO, UN agency for tourism. It is clear that millions of jobs within the sector are at risk of being lost.

Around 80% of all tourism businesses are small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the sector has been leading the way in providing employment and other opportunities for women, youth and rural communities.

Alongside this new assessment, UNWTO underlines tourism’s historic resilience and capacity to create jobs after crisis situations, while also emphasizing the importance of international cooperation and of ensuring the sector is made a central part of recovery efforts.

Sri Lanka recommended for 2021 tours

Meanwhile, the Times of London has expressed the hope that Sri Lanka would get back on track to again become a tourist hotspot by next year despite the current Coronavirus situation, with the headline “Ideas for 2021 – Sri Lanka’s beautiful South"

The article by Jenny Coad appeared in yesterday’s (27th March) print and online editions of the Times.

“The week before last I was in Sri Lanka and the trip already feels like something from a different age, although the memory of the warmth, the light, the beauty and, yes, the sounds of the island will sustain me through the coming weeks and months of enforced non-travel,” Coad writes.

Sri Lanka was already on the top of must-visit destinations of several publications including Lonely Planet and all British newspapers have been promoting Sri Lanka regularly.

!8,100 tourists still remain in Sri Lanka in spite of the Coronavirus situation and the Government and tourism authorities are making arrangements to send them back to their home countries. As of today, March, 25th only 109 patients, nearly all of them foreigners have been found to be infected with the virus in the country and none has died of it. These numbers bear testimony to the success of the Government's strict measures to control the spread of the disease and the efficacy of its free medical services.

The Author< Lakshman Ratnapala – a Global Tourism Executive and also a Journalist.

- Asian Tribune -

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