SRI LANKA STOCKS HIT RECORD HIGH AS TOURISM REBOUND CONTINUES
Lanka’s stock market hit an all-time high Monday (March 08), a trading trend that Reuters news service attributed to the nation’s stunning boom in post-conflict tourism.
The All-Share Price Index .CSE of the Colombo Stock Exchange rose 0.66 percent to a new record high of 3,849.23 points in the early trade, surpassing its previous all-time high hit last week.
It closed 0.28 percent up at 3,835.06, extending its rise in the previous two sessions.
"Tourism shares boosted the market," Prashan Fernando, Chief Operating Officer at Acuity Stockbrokers, said in a Reuters report. "Most hotels are already booked due to the boom after the end of the war."
Tourist visits have increased nearly 22 percent since the conflict against the LTTE terrorist group ended successfully in May 2009, compared to the same period a year earlier.
Sri Lankan tourism officials expect visits to continue to increase. There have been no terrorist incidents since May, and many tourism experts feel that the 25-year-long conflict greatly hindered Sri Lanka’s tourism potential. The government hopes to add 20,000 hotel rooms by 2016. Currently there are about 30,000 hotel rooms.
As if to mark the new era, The New York Times recently named Sri Lanka as the number one place to visit in 2010. Another travel website, Daily Candy, also recently raved about Sri Lanka as a travel destination.
The Colombo Stock Exchange has experienced the same rapid growth as the tourism industry since the conflict ended. Sri Lanka’s exports and continuing reconstruction efforts -- especially in conflict-affected areas in the North -- are expected to drive the island economy further.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
10 March 2010