Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up in June
July 09, 2009 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals in to Sri Lanka rose in June 2009, just one month after the ethnic war ended and the first monthly growth in over a year, the tourism promotion office said.
The number of visitors to the island went up 8.1 percent in June 2009 to 30,234 from a year ago, according to figures released by the tourism office.
However, analysts said the growth may look exaggerated as June arrivals in 2008 were the lowest since June 2002.
Nevertheless, the tourism industry has been anticipating a recovery after government forces crushed the Tamil Tigers in mid-May, ending an over 30-year conflict that had deterred tourists and investors.
Many Western travel advisories that had kept away visitors have been eased since the war ended.
The June 2009 upturn in arrivals was the first monthly growth in arrivals since May 2008, analysts said.
The tourism office figures showed that the number of arrivals grew from almost all the major tourist generating markets in Western Europe,East Asia and also India.
Arrivals from Western Europe rose 7.5 percent to 10,161.
Visitors from the UK, a traditional market, rose almost 11 percent to 5,883, although those from Germany, another important market, fell.
The number of visitors from south Asia was down marginally although arrivals from India, a growing market on which the trade has pinned much hope, rose 8.1 percent to 6,124.
The number of arrivals from East Asia rose 13.6 percent to 3,589.
However, tourist arrivals were still down 16.3 percent to 187,729 persons in the first half of the year compared with the same 2008 period.
Sri Lanka central bank chief rules out directed lending
July 09, 2008 (LBO) – In a far sighted move that puts the country firmly on a higher growth path Sri Lanka’s central bank Governor Nivard
Cabraal has ruled out state directed bank lending as a long term policy.
“As a policy we have resisted that (directed lending) because we think that the bank should have the space to decide on their own risk mix,”
Governor Cabraal told a forum organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Sri Lanka’s largest business association.
“And that is good for them because depending on their own funds mobilization as well as the areas that they are applying the funds they should
have the freedom to do so.
“I personally think that freedom should be persisted with.”
Cabraal was responding to a call from a panelist at the business forum that Sri Lanka should increase state directed lending.
Cabraal said there was already a rule that banks should direct 10 percent of their lending to agriculture as a priority but he did not think it “a
very large number but a reasonable number.”
Rajendra Thiagarajah the head of Hatton National Bank, said directed lending had proved a failure especially in India.
“The best example of directed lending failure was India, where directed lending was about 40 percent,” Thiagarajah said.
“Different banks have different skills; all banks do not have the capacity or reach to lend in all areas.”
Some critics have also blamed directed lending for contributing to India’s past low growth before the 1991 reforms triggered by the worst balance
of payments crisis in its history.
Critics say directed lending, which is a throw back to Soviet-era central planning can squeeze out credit available for new and fast growing
areas which obviously need capital as well as areas which politicians and even good bureaucrats cannot anticipate or even imagine.
Analysts say from 1991 as part of India’s reform effort, a directed credit limit of 10 percent was advocated and it was proposed that any politically
directed lending should be fiscally supported, rather than endangering the banking system.
India ready to give Sri Lanka more aid – Indian External Affairs Minister
Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on Thursday Sri Lanka assured India that i India would continue to help Sri Lanka in the rehabilitation of people displaced by war.
In a statement in Parliament, . Krishna said, “We have been assured by the Sri Lankan government of its intention to pursue a political process that envisages a broader dialogue with all parties, including the Tamil parties.”
Krishna said the cessation of hostilities gave Sri Lanka an opportunity to make a new beginning and build a better future for all her peoples and, therefore, for the region as a whole.
“We are convinced that a closure to the cycle of violence and terrorism that has plagued Sri Lanka required an inclusive political process of dialogue and devolution. ,” he said.
Referring to the aid and assistance being provided to Sri Lanka, he said, “India will provide every possible assistance in the task of rehabilitation,resettlement and reconstruction. The government has earmarked Rs. 500 crore for this purpose and was willing to do more.”
Krishna informed the House that India was engaged in a de-mining process — a prerequisite for displaced people to return to their homes —reconstruction of houses, supply of shelter material, medical assistance, and repair of civil infrastructure.
He said the Sri Lankan government had committed itself to resettling most of the internally displaced persons in 180 days.