Two for tango for more forex

  • Tourism and overseas employment ministers confident of increased foreign exchange inflow
  • Plans on a campaign called ‘Sri Lanka Can’ to create a positive atmosphere
  • Tourism Minister Harin Fernando says by mid-June tourists will return
  • Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara plans to introduce incentive schemes for migrant workers

Tourism Minister Harin Fernando and Overseas Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara yesterday expressed confidence in the increased inflow of foreign currency into the country, while suggesting launching a campaign called “Sri Lanka Can”.

“Tourism is one of the key sectors that can easily generate foreign income. By mid-June we will be bringing tourists back,” Fernando told reporters.

He pointed out that Sri Lanka recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals of 2.3 million and generated $4.5 billion in 2018. However, since then the country has not been able to achieving this goal due to multiple internal and external challenges.

“Right now, we are not even receiving 1,000 travelers mainly due to power cuts, the application of the state of emergency and the shortage of fuel. But we will rebuild the confidence of international travelers and revive our industry as well as the economy,” the minister said, adding that 12% of the population depends on the tourism industry.

Linking Sri Lanka’s economic situation to a band of beggars living on treasure, Fernando claimed that political division had led to the crisis.

He said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had assured financial and technical assistance would be injected into the economy and fuel queues would be eased within the next three days.

Minister Nanayakkara also said that they will introduce some incentive programs for migrant workers to encourage remittances through the banking system.

“Currently we are getting around $300m in worker remittances per month with the introduction of new incentives for them if we can increase the inflow to $600-700m per month would be a big success,” he added.

The two ministers said they will hold talks with foreign envoys in Sri Lanka to strengthen bilateral channels to boost foreign exchange inflows into the economy.

“The next few months are crucial for building the country’s image and regaining international trust to overcome the crises. Thus, we hope to launch a campaign called ‘Sri Lanka Can’ to spread positive vibes,” Fernando added.


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