- Remittances take opposite route to increase by 5.4% to $ 527 m
Tourism and remittance earnings travelled in opposite directions in February with the former declining 17.7% year-on-year to $ 391 million while the latter increased 5.4% to $ 527 million.
The outbreak of COVID-19 and its global spread impacted the global tourism industry significantly from February onwards. Sri Lanka also experienced the same trend, with tourist arrivals in February declining by 17.7% to 207,507 from 252,033 in February 2019, the Central Bank said in its latest External Performance report.
There was a significant decline in tourists from China, with Chinese tourist arrivals being only 2,096 in February, compared to 28,039 arrivals in February 2019.
Tourist arrivals from key destinations, such as France, the US, Canada, the UK and Germany also declined, while arrivals from Russia, Poland and Ukraine increased on a year-on-year basis in February.
With these developments, earnings from tourism were provisionally estimated to have declined to $ 391 million in February, in comparison to $ 475 million in February 2019, with cumulative earnings amounting to $ 822 million during the first two months of 2020. Earnings from tourism are likely to be severely affected during the rest of the year with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, workers’ remittances recorded a growth of 5.4% in February, year-on-year, amounting to $ 527 million. On a cumulative basis, workers’ remittances grew by 6.0% to $ 1,108 million during the first two months of 2020 in comparison to the corresponding period of 2019.
Workers’ remittances are also likely to be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in the forthcoming months, with key sources of remittances such as Italy, South Korea and the Middle East being affected by the pandemic and the resultant economic slowdown.