Tourism boom expected to boost exports


By Mario Andree

With Sri Lanka expecting the tourism sector to become one of the largest foreign exchange earners the sector is also expected to assist the exports of the country. According to recent research the sector is expected to invest Rs. 127.2 billion, and account for 700,000 jobs, the total contribution of the sector is expected to reach Rs. 1020 billion and further strengthen the export sector by exporting goods worth Rs. 244.6 billion.

The total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to GDP is expected to reach Rs. 1,020 billion in 2020 from Rs. 541.3 billion in 2011, showed a study published in a journal of the newly formed Centre for Research and Sustainable Studies in Tourism.

The direct contribution of the tourism sector is expected to reach Rs. 402.4 billion by 2022 from 219.7 (3.4 percent of total GDP) at present. The World Travel and Tourism Council forecasted a 5.7 percent growth annually in direct contribution to the country’s GDP.

According to several recent research, investments in travel and tourism is expected to grow 8.5 percent this year and continue at 5.5 percent per annum to Rs. 127.2 billion by 2022 from Rs. 68.9 billion at present.

The research showed that the country gained largely on visitor exports which accounted for 12.6 percent of total exports from the country. It generated more than Rs. 140 billion last year and is expected to grow 4.4 percent this year and there by 5.3 percent per annum to reach Rs. 244.6 billion by 2022.

Sri Lanka has identified tourism as a key sector to develop the economy and expects more than 2.5 million tourists by 2016 and launched research centre to provide assistance to both the public sector and private sector.

The Centre for Research and Sustainable Study in Tourism in its first publication highlighted the need for open source data on current details to take the local economy forward.In 2011 travel and tourism accounted for 7.5 percent of total direct and indirect employment with 590,000 jobs and is expected to rise by 0.7 percent this year to 594,000 jobs. The expectation of the CRST is by 2022 the sector would contribute 8.5 percent to the total employment with 700,000 jobs.

In 2011 the sector supported 236,500 direct jobs accounted for 3 percent of the total employment of the country and is expected to create 56,500 additional jobs by 2022 accounted for 3.6 percent of the total employment of the country.

Tourist arrivals during the first eight months of this year increased by 15.8 percent to 622,661 from 537,787 recorded in the corresponding period last year, while arrivals in August increased 9.7 percent to 79,456 from 72,463 in 2011, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority data shows.

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