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Sri Lanka fears up to $1.5 billion tourism losses

Christian Fernsby ▼ | April 29, 2019
Sri Lanka fears its lucrative tourism industry could see arrivals drop up to 30 percent, with losses of $1.5 billion this year, after deadly Easter attacks, the finance minister said.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera
Asia   Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera
"Tourism will be the worst affected," Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told reporters.

"We expect a 30 percent drop in arrivals and that means a loss of about $1.5 billion in foreign exchange."

Samaraweera said the country could take up to two years to fully recover from Sunday's attacks, which devastated three luxury hotels and three Christian churches and killed 253 people killed, among them many foreigners.

The government has blamed local Islamist extremists for the coordinated suicide bombings that shocked a nation recovering from a 37-year ethnic war that ended a decade ago.

The Islamic State group said it carried out the attack and the government says it believes local extremists were at least inspired by IS militants.

"Typically, countries that suffer isolated IS-style attacks see tourism recovering within one-to-two years, as long as root causes are addressed and security measures taken are well communicated," the minister said.