Sri Lanka thinks deeply about tax waivers to help tourism post blast

Published on : Saturday, May 4, 2019

For the tourism industry, Sri Lanka will think about a tax amnesty program in a bid to support the companies in recovering from the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks that took away 250 lives, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.


The industry has asked for tax waivers, including on the importation of security gear in the repercussion of the blasts that mainly aimed foreigners and churchgoers, Samaraweera informed Haslinda Amin of Bloomberg Television on the sidelines of Asian Development Bank meetings in Fiji.


“With the right kind of action, I would say tourism could bounce back to normalcy within a short period of one to one and a half years,” he said. That has been the experience in destinations like Tunisia and Bali, which underwent similar attacks previously, he added.
The terror attacks are poised to hit tourism, which estimates 5 percent of the $87 billion economy, as tourists run away from the well-known Temple of Tooth, Dambulla Caves and coconut-fringed beaches. Sri Lanka has been under pressure to perk up growth following a three-decade long civil attack that concluded in 2009 and political turmoil 2018. Arrivals have grown more than fivefold since the war ended and revenue from the industry is near a record.


Malcolm Ranjith, Sri Lanka’s Catholic Cardinal on Thursday cautioned of the possible attacks, the Associated Press reported. The cardinal had received “foreign information” that terrorists may stage an attack on a church and another church institution, the AP reported, citing a letter he sent Thursday to church officials.


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