August 26, 2019
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    Australia to assist Lanka’s tourism and cottage industry development Featured

    July 16, 2019

    Australia has been proving around US$ 19 million annually for tourism sector; cottage industry development in Sri Lanka, Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka & Maldives, David Holly told the Sri Lanka Australia New Zealand Business Council (SLANZBC) AGM at Cinnamon Grand on Thursday.He said that these were mainly to train handicraft, handloom and other such creative people who could manufacture and sell them for the tourism sector. “We are also actively conducting workshops and training youth in the North East in self-employment projects,” he said.

    He however said that with Sri Lanka elevated to a middle income country by passing the US$ 4060 per capita income mark such development assistance would be hard to be provided in the future.Austrian tourist arrivals (4,000) to Sri Lanka were jointly number two with UK (after India). “However this dipped after the blasts and now with softening of travel advisories this should pick again.”The Austrian University UTS has invested US$ 2 million in Sri Lanka to open a campus and this was made after the Easter blasts.
    Outgoing President SLANZBC, Gerard Victoria said that bilateral trade for the three countries saw an improvement in some areas.“Exports to Australia rose to 9% inching up towards US$ 200 million while exports to New Zealand were unchanged. Imports from New Zealand to Sri Lanka rose by 15% to US$ 311 million while Australian imports reduced by 31%. Bilateral trade in services too has also continued to do well in the last few years.”
    The tourist arrivals from both Australia and New Zealand saw a sharp rise in 2018 of approximately 35%.He however said that FDI is an area for growth which will need to be strengthened. “A Trade and Investment Facilitation Agreement was signed between the two countries in November 2017 and in the subsequent two rounds of talks will no doubt strengthen this and the bilateral trade constraints”.
    The setback of April 21 2019 had a drastic implication on all industries and on most businesses.“Most airlines have reduced frequency or suspended flights to Sri Lanka. Similarly new airlines that had identified Sri Lanka for online operations have decided to rethink strategy.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesingha and Ministry of Tourism John Amaratunga, has initiated legislation to reduce ground handling and fuel at the Colombo Airport for airlines operating to Sri Lanka together with a reduction in airport tax.
    “These initiatives will augur well for current airlines to increase frequency and leaves room for new airlines to look at operating to Sri Lanka bringing in more tourism. We have seen resilience so far within the private sector and the broad macro economy. The currency has remained stable in the last few months and has appreciated from the start of the year. However economic growth has been a concern and it will require great strategy and vision to steer it back to the 5% and beyond trajectory. That will be the challenge in the next 12 months”.
    Senaka Silva, Consul for New Zealand said that the New Zealand milk exporters to Sri Lanka faced numerous challenges subsequent to a negative campaigned carried against the quality of these exports from New Zealand. “However after test these allegations have proved futile.”New Zealand tourists arrivals were expected to pick up this year from 10, 000 in 2018 and there will also be delegations visiting Sri Lanka.

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