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Tourism Earnings Soar to USD 342 Million in January 2024, Highest Since 2020

March 02, Colombo (LNW): In a positive turn of events, Sri Lanka’s tourism sector experienced a remarkable boost in January 2024, with earnings reaching an estimated USD 342 million, as revealed by the Central Bank’s latest report on external sector performance. This marks the highest monthly value since January 2020, showcasing a significant improvement from USD 269 million in December 2023 and USD 154 million in January 2023.

The country witnessed a surge in tourist arrivals, with 208,253 visitors in January 2024 compared to 102,545 in the corresponding period of the previous year. This encouraging trend signals a positive trajectory for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.

Additionally, workers’ remittances showed positive growth, amounting to USD 488 million in January 2024, compared to USD 437 million in January 2023 and USD 570 million in December 2023. The Central Bank noted that workers’ remittances have been steadily increasing since 2022, indicating a robust and consistent trend despite intermittent seasonal fluctuations.

The report also highlighted a marginal decline of 0.8% in earnings from merchandise exports, reaching USD 971 million in January 2024 compared to USD 978 million in the same month last year. Meanwhile, expenditure on merchandise imports increased by 6.2% to USD 1,512 million in January 2024, attributed in part to the relaxation of import restrictions and a rise in expenditure on consumer and investment goods.

On the financial front, the gross official reserves (GOR) continued to improve, reaching USD 4.5 billion by the end of January 2024. This positive trajectory is credited to substantial net purchases of foreign exchange from the domestic market by the Central Bank, with a net purchase of USD 245 million during January 2024. The report emphasized that this improvement includes a swap facility from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), valued at around USD 1.4 billion, subject to certain conditions on usability. Overall, these developments indicate positive economic momentum and financial stability for Sri Lanka in the early months of 2024.

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