A series of coordinated bombings took place in Sri Lanka during Easter Sunday in April 2019. Six of the eight bombings took place in Sri Lanka’s capital, and the blasts had caused more than 300 deaths and left 500 wounded. The aftermath of this terrorism left the Sri Lankan government to grapple with several concerns on how the attacks will affect the country’s fragile economy.
Tourism has been a central driver of Sri Lanka’s rising GDP growth figures over the last decade. The sector was the country’s third-largest and fastest-growing source of foreign currency in 2018 and is worth $4.4 billion to Sri Lanka each year – accounting for almost 5% of the country’s annual GDP. This tragic attack has prompted tourists in the country to cut short their holidays and return to their respective home countries with many more cancellations for future trips. It has been estimated that there could potentially be a $1.5 billion loss to the economy.
Terrorist attacks which struck Tunisia (2015) and Egypt (2013) led to sharp declines in the numbers of European tourists visiting those countries in the short term. Given the importance of tourism to the country, the Sri Lankan government will surely be looking for ways to minimize the damage to the sector in the months ahead.