Hong Kong (CNN Business)A series of deadly attacks could deal a body blow to one of Asia’s fragile economies.

Bombs ripped through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing at least 290 people and injuring hundreds. Targets included the upmarket Shangri-La hotel in the capital, Colombo. At least 39 of those killed in the explosions were identified as tourists from countries including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Australia and India.On top of the heavy loss of human life, the attacks could cause serious damage to Sri Lanka’s economy, which depends on tourism.In pictures: Coordinated attacks kill 290 people on Easter Sunday across Sri Lanka In pictures: Coordinated attacks kill 290 people on Easter Sunday across Sri Lanka Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSecurity personnel stand guard outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on Monday, April 22, a day after the church was hit in a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka.Security personnel stand guard outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on Monday, April 22, a day after the church was hit in a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSecurity personnel stand guard outside St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo on Monday, April 22, a day after the church was hit in a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka.Hide Caption 1 of 27Relatives weep near the coffin of 12-year-old victim Sneha Savindi, who was killed in the Easter Sunday bombing at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka.Relatives weep near the coffin of 12-year-old victim Sneha Savindi, who was killed in the Easter Sunday bombing at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsRelatives weep near the coffin of 12-year-old victim Sneha Savindi, who was killed in the Easter Sunday bombing at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka.Hide Caption 2 of 27Police and forensics officials inspect the interior of St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo on Monday, April 22.Police and forensics officials inspect the interior of St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo on Monday, April 22. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsPolice and forensics officials inspect the interior of St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo on Monday, April 22.Hide Caption 3 of 27Shoes and belongings of victims are collected as evidence at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo on Monday, April 22.Shoes and belongings of victims are collected as evidence at St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo on Monday, April 22. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsShoes and belongings of victims are collected as evidence at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo on Monday, April 22.Hide Caption 4 of 27A man mourns after viewing the body of a dead relative killed in the bomb explosion at St. Anthony's Church in Colombo on Sunday, April 21.A man mourns after viewing the body of a dead relative killed in the bomb explosion at St. Anthony's Church in Colombo on Sunday, April 21. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsA man mourns after viewing the body of a dead relative killed in the bomb explosion at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo on Sunday, April 21.Hide Caption 5 of 27Blood stains are seen on a statue of Jesus Christ after a bomb blast inside a church in Negombo, on Sunday.Blood stains are seen on a statue of Jesus Christ after a bomb blast inside a church in Negombo, on Sunday. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsBlood stains are seen on a statue of Jesus Christ after a bomb blast inside a church in Negombo, on Sunday.Hide Caption 6 of 27A woman is in tears after a deadly bomb blast at St. Anthony's Shrine in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, on Sunday.A woman is in tears after a deadly bomb blast at St. Anthony's Shrine in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, on Sunday. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsA woman is in tears after a deadly bomb blast at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, on Sunday.Hide Caption 7 of 27Security personnel and investigators sift through debris outside Zion Church in Batticaloa.Security personnel and investigators sift through debris outside Zion Church in Batticaloa. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSecurity personnel and investigators sift through debris outside Zion Church in Batticaloa.Hide Caption 8 of 27A man holds up a blood-stained photograph  as people wait to identify the  bodies of their loved ones in front of St. Anthony's Church.A man holds up a blood-stained photograph  as people wait to identify the  bodies of their loved ones in front of St. Anthony's Church. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsA man holds up a blood-stained photograph as people wait to identify the bodies of their loved ones in front of St. Anthony’s Church.Hide Caption 9 of 27Relatives of a victim of the attacks react at the police mortuary in Colombo.Relatives of a victim of the attacks react at the police mortuary in Colombo. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsRelatives of a victim of the attacks react at the police mortuary in Colombo.Hide Caption 10 of 27Sri Lankan hospital workers and soldiers stand at the door to a morgue following a blast in a church in Batticaloa.Sri Lankan hospital workers and soldiers stand at the door to a morgue following a blast in a church in Batticaloa. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSri Lankan hospital workers and soldiers stand at the door to a morgue following a blast in a church in Batticaloa.Hide Caption 11 of 27A Sri Lankan Air Force helicopter flies over a  house suspected to be a hideout of militants following a shootout in Colombo.A Sri Lankan Air Force helicopter flies over a  house suspected to be a hideout of militants following a shootout in Colombo. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsA Sri Lankan Air Force helicopter flies over a house suspected to be a hideout of militants following a shootout in Colombo.Hide Caption 12 of 27A view of damage near the Dehiwala zoo in Colombo.A view of damage near the Dehiwala zoo in Colombo. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsA view of damage near the Dehiwala zoo in Colombo.Hide Caption 13 of 27Relatives of bombing victims gather at a mortuary in Colombo.Relatives of bombing victims gather at a mortuary in Colombo. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsRelatives of bombing victims gather at a mortuary in Colombo.Hide Caption 14 of 27Colombo's Kingsbury Hotel was targeted by a blast.Colombo's Kingsbury Hotel was targeted by a blast. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsColombo’s Kingsbury Hotel was targeted by a blast.Hide Caption 15 of 27Relatives of a blast victim grieve outside a morgue in Colombo.Relatives of a blast victim grieve outside a morgue in Colombo. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsRelatives of a blast victim grieve outside a morgue in Colombo.Hide Caption 16 of 27Sri Lankan Special Task Force  personnel gesture outside a house during a raid following an explosion at a property in the Orugodawatta district of Colombo.Sri Lankan Special Task Force  personnel gesture outside a house during a raid following an explosion at a property in the Orugodawatta district of Colombo. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSri Lankan Special Task Force personnel gesture outside a house during a raid following an explosion at a property in the Orugodawatta district of Colombo.Hide Caption 17 of 27The interior of St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, shows damage from a bomb blast.The interior of St. Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, shows damage from a bomb blast. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsThe interior of St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, shows damage from a bomb blast.Hide Caption 18 of 27Sri Lankan military members stand guard  outside St. Anthony's Church following an explosion. Sri Lankan military members stand guard  outside St. Anthony's Church following an explosion. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSri Lankan military members stand guard outside St. Anthony’s Church following an explosion. Hide Caption 19 of 27Crime scene investigators inspect the scene of an explosion at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.Crime scene investigators inspect the scene of an explosion at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsCrime scene investigators inspect the scene of an explosion at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.Hide Caption 20 of 27Sri Lankan police officers clear the road as an ambulance drives through carrying injured from bomb blasts in Colombo. Sri Lankan police officers clear the road as an ambulance drives through carrying injured from bomb blasts in Colombo. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSri Lankan police officers clear the road as an ambulance drives through carrying injured from bomb blasts in Colombo. Hide Caption 21 of 27A bombing victim's relative weeps outside a hospital in Batticaloa, eastern Sri Lanka.A bombing victim's relative weeps outside a hospital in Batticaloa, eastern Sri Lanka. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsA bombing victim’s relative weeps outside a hospital in Batticaloa, eastern Sri Lanka.Hide Caption 22 of 27Priests view blast debris outside St. Anthony's Shrine.Priests view blast debris outside St. Anthony's Shrine. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsPriests view blast debris outside St. Anthony’s Shrine.Hide Caption 23 of 27Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside St. Anthony's Shrine. Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside St. Anthony's Shrine. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside St. Anthony’s Shrine. Hide Caption 24 of 27Security forces inspect the inside of St. Anthony's Shrine after Sunday's attack.Security forces inspect the inside of St. Anthony's Shrine after Sunday's attack. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSecurity forces inspect the inside of St. Anthony’s Shrine after Sunday’s attack.Hide Caption 25 of 27Sri Lankan military officers stand guard in front of St. Anthony's Shrine.Sri Lankan military officers stand guard in front of St. Anthony's Shrine. Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsSri Lankan military officers stand guard in front of St. Anthony’s Shrine.Hide Caption 26 of 27A relative of a victim of an explosion at St. Anthony's Shrine reacts outside the police mortuary in Colombo.  A relative of a victim of an explosion at St. Anthony's Shrine reacts outside the police mortuary in Colombo.  Photos: In pictures: Deadly blasts strike Sri Lankan churches and hotelsA relative of a victim of an explosion at St. Anthony’s Shrine reacts outside the police mortuary in Colombo. Hide Caption 27 of 2702 sri lanka blasts 042204 sri lanka blasts 042201 sri lanka blasts 042203 sri lanka blasts 042230 sri lanka blasts 0422 RESTRICTED0422 Sri Lanka bomb attacks 0124 sri lanka blasts 0421201919 sri lanka blasts  zion church22 sri lanka blasts 0421201903 sri lanka attack 042123 sri lanka blasts 0421201902 sri lanka attack 042120 sri lanka blasts  Dehiwala zoo 02 Sri Lanka blasts 0421201918 sri lanka blasts 0421201919 sri lanka blasts 0421201911 Sri Lanka blasts 0421201916 sri lanka blasts 0421201906 Sri Lanka Blasts 0421201901 Sri Lanka blasts 0421201817 sri lanka blasts 0421201915 sri lanka blasts 0421201905 Sri Lanka blasts 0421201903 Sri Lanka blasts 0421201907 Sri Lanka blasts 0421201904 Sri Lanka blasts 0421201909 Sri Lanka blasts 04212019The island nation in the Indian ocean welcomes about 2.5 million visitors a year from around the world. Data from the World Travel and Tourism Council show that the industry is one of the biggest contributors to the country’s economy, supporting about 1 million jobs. It is also the third largest source of foreign currencies, according to research firm Capital Economics.Read MoreTourism’s importance has grown rapidly in the last 10 years, after the Sri Lankan government defeated the rebel Tamil Tigers organization to end nearly three decades of civil war.”Tourism has been a big success story for Sri Lanka over the last decade,” said Alex Holmes, Asia economist at Capital Economics. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks and the police investigation is ongoing. But international tourists are now likely to stay away. The Sri Lankan government has declared a state of emergency starting midnight Monday. The US State Department has urged travelers to exercise increased caution, warning that “terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks.” “The violence is likely to hit the tourism industry hard, at least in the short term,” Holmes added. The Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka, pictured in 2015, was one of the hotels targeted in the attack.The Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka, pictured in 2015, was one of the hotels targeted in the attack.The Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka, pictured in 2015, was one of the hotels targeted in the attack.Airline passengers cancel bookingsOne business feeling the impact immediately is Sri Lankan Airlines, the national carrier. CEO Vipula Gunatilleka told CNN Business that hundreds of passengers have canceled bookings since Sunday’s attacks. The airline is allowing passengers to delay or change flights without paying a fee. “Since the hotels were attacked and all that, you’d expect more and more [cancellations], especially the foreign bookings and all of that to come down,” he said. “That’s the reality.”Gunatilleka, whose airline carries about one-third of people flying into Sri Lanka, said it was too early to speculate on how long the damage to tourism will last. “We are looking at [the] immediate impact and how to handle that,” he added.India is one of the biggest sources of foreign visitors. One tour group said it had not yet seen any cancellations.”At the current time we are yet to receive any cancellation requests and it is early days yet to assess impact to the destination,” Mahesh Iyer, executive director of Thomas Cook India, said in a statement.One business feeling the impact of the attack is Sri Lankan Airlines, the national carrier.One business feeling the impact of the attack is Sri Lankan Airlines, the national carrier.One business feeling the impact of the attack is Sri Lankan Airlines, the national carrier.Investors could lose confidenceThe US dollars, Chinese yuan and other currencies tourists spend in Sri Lanka are vital to the economy.Sri Lanka needs a constant flow of currency to keep up payments on its foreign debt. The debt owed by the Sri Lankan government amounts to about 80% of the country’s annual economic output, statistics show, and it is rising. Much of this debt is owed to countries in currencies other than the Sri Lankan rupee, analysts point out. In 2018, Moody’s and Fitch both downgraded the Sri Lankan government’s credit rating, citing questions over its ability to repay its debts.Like other emerging markets, Sri Lanka has also seen foreign investors yank funds out of the country amid sustained US dollar strength.If investors lose confidence in Sri Lanka’s capability to repay its debts, that could prompt the nation’s currency to weaken further. “This will further weigh on the economy,” Capital Economics’ Holmes said.

Source Link:
https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/22/business/sri-lanka-economy-tourism/index.html

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