Money, not war will hurt Sri Lanka tourism in ‘09


The world financial crisis will cut 2009 tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka to their lowest level in seven years, potentially stripping gains expected as a 25-year war nears an end, tourism officials said on Friday. Tourism is the Indian Ocean island nation’s fourth-biggest source of foreign exchange after garments, remittances, and tea, and is an industry that has stayed alive during a war with Tamil Tiger separatists that started in 1983. Despite the conflict and occasional bombings in the capital Colombo, many visitors still flock to Sri Lanka’s white-sand beaches, visit its ancient cities, or make pilgrimages to sites sacred primarily to Buddhists and Hindus.

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