Tourism and real estate in Sri Lanka were the two hardest-hit industries by the corona virus pandemic of the first half of 2020. The economic fallout that resulted from, particularly the tourist industry grounding to a complete halt and recovery will be quite long drawn out.
The future, however, is optimistic. ACCA member Adrian Perera states that he believes Sri Lanka is looking at some unique opportunities coming out of the pandemic as long as the country plays its cards right. Tourism thrived right after the end of the civil war in 2009 and also bounced back almost immediately after the Easter bombing of 2019. The advantage that Sri Lanka has is that its appeal as a tourist destination never dies down.
Tourist arrivals fell in 2019 right after the bombing by 22% yet showed a significant growth by the end of the year. While the immediate future does seem bleak with 0% arrivals in April 2020, the Sri Lanka hotel industry is positive and looking to the government which is helping however it can by stimulating the economy and gently relaxing restrictions.
Six to Nine Months
Despite the industry grinding to a complete halt, big chains such as Aitken Spence Hotels have kept up their advertising and operations running smoothly, rising to embrace the new health regulations that would become necessary in a post-COVID world. While experts believe it could take up to 6-9 months for tourism to return to normal.
Sri Lanka seems to be on the right track however, with WHO confirming that the country is on its way to containing the virus soon.