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Dr. Jaishankar turns brand ambassador for tourism in Sri Lanka

Dr. Jaishankar turns brand ambassador for tourism in Sri Lanka

Daily FT: Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar has fervently requested his people to visit Sri Lanka for holiday emphasising the enduring bonds between the two countries.
“My first advice to you would be, the next time you want to take a holiday, go to Sri Lanka. I say this to all of you,” he said speaking at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Mumbai.
The Indian Minister’s remarks come following the recent diplomatic row between India and the Maldives, impacting the tourism sector. Consequently, there has been a significant drop in the count of Indian tourists, who were previously the primary visitors to the Maldives. Despite previously leading the list of tourist groups visiting the Maldives, Indians have fallen to the fifth position in the past three weeks, as indicated by available data.
India on the other hand leads the pack in tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka. In 2023, India retained its position as the single biggest market including 302,844 tourists (21%) of 1.48 million total arrivals. In the first four weeks of January there had been 32,000 Indian tourists.
Dr. Jaishankar shared his experience of witnessing solidarity during challenging times in Sri Lanka when it was hit with the worst economic crisis.
“I’ve myself been in Colombo, there was a petrol shortage, people were pushing the cars to the petrol pumps and there were queues of kilometres, the country was running out of food and essential commodities. At a time when the rest of the world turned its back on Sri Lanka, India was the only country which came forward and not in a small way, we committed $ 4.5 billion,” he said.
Dr. Jaishankar elaborated in that critical juncture, that India stepped forward with significant assistance, surpassing the IMF’s package of $ 3.3 billion.
“Mix with the normal person in Sri Lanka and ask them what they think about India. And I can tell you, you’ll feel yourself grow with that answer,” he stressed.

OSL take:
Sri Lanka and India enjoy strong bilateral and trade ties that span centuries. India and Sri Lanka have an operational free trade agreement (FTA) that is to be further strengthened through the proposed ETCA. India is also one of the key development partners of Sri Lanka with many collaborations in development projects. It is in such a backdrop that India has now become the leading tourist source market for Sri Lanka. All these are indicative of the expansion in Sri Lanka’s economy and the growing opportunities for foreign businesses, especially Indian businesses/investors, to explore. The growth and profits recorded by the Indian businesses already engaged in Sri Lanka are indicative of the growing business potential in Sri Lanka. With Sri Lanka’s ties with India on a further growth path, Indian businesses/investors could confidently explore the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka. With Sri Lanka working towards becoming an emerging business destination in the South Asian region supported by the country’s geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed with other countries, Sri Lanka’s growing business/investment opportunities lucrative opportunities for foreign businesses.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20240214/Z_1

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