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. 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. But even with the military attacking the Tigers’ last bases and victory looking close, the industry is already struggling to find cash for new investments and losing its best workers to better-paying markets. This year looks worse.
[ Reuters ]