Tourism earnings up 46% to $ 736 m; remittances top $ 4 b in 10 months

Tuesday, 27 December 2011 01:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

For the first 11 months of 2011, earnings from tourism grew at a healthy rate of 46.7% to $ 736 million, whilst worker remittances topped the $ 4 billion mark by October.

The Central Bank said average earnings per tourist per day increased to $ 97 for the period under review from $ 88 for the same period in 2010.

Tourist arrivals for the first 11 months of 2011 increased by 33.1% to 758,458 compared to the first 11 months of 2010. The majority of tourists numbering 281,484 arrived from Western Europe, while arrivals from Middle-East, East Asia, South Asia and Australasia also recorded healthy growth during this period.

The cumulative inflows on account of workers’ remittances grew at 24.3% to $ 4,203 million for the first 10 months of 2011. The expansion in exports of services and increased workers’ remittances helped contain the impact of the trade deficit, thereby mitigating the deficit of the current account to approximately $ 3,253 million for the first 10 months of 2011.

Gross official reserves, excluding Asian Clearing Union (ACU) balances, increased to $ 6,896 million by end October 2011 from $ 6,610 million by end 2010. Gross official reserves had reached a historically high level of $ 8,099 million by end July 2011 as a result of the Central Bank accumulating high reserves over a period of time, thus avoiding fluctuations in the domestic foreign exchange market.

A part of such reserves have now been utilised to deal with any pressure on the exchange rate due to increased demand for imports arising mainly from petroleum and investment goods.

Total external reserves, which include gross official reserves and foreign assets of commercial banks, also increased to $ 8,136 million by end October 2011 from $ 8,035 million by end 2010. In terms of months of imports, gross official reserves and total external reserves by end October 2011 were equivalent to 4.4 months and 5.1 months, respectively.