The dead are still counted, the screams of the injured are still heard and the tears are not dried yet.
Easter's terrorist attack on Sri Lanka is probably one of the deadliest since 9/11 in the United States. How will a country that Sri Lanka be able to rise again? A country that has suffered a nearly 30-year civil war, a tsunami and now this. The immediate effects on the economy are already reported.
After contact with tour operators and hotels in Sri Lanka, it is estimated that a 50% decline in tourism is likely. First and foremost, the tourists who have future trips cancel in May and June, but also the winter season. In addition to this, the absence of new bookings. Of course, the tourists will return - but only after the security is perceived as significantly improved. The number of Swedes visiting Sri Lanka is about 28,000 per year and the figure has risen steadily since the end of the war in 2009. Tourism is no. 3 in terms of export revenues. Several large hotel projects are underway and planned. Several airlines have started new routes to Colombo.
Sweden and Sri Lanka have long had strong ties. The people of Sri Lanka are still grateful for Skanska and Kotmale, the hydro power plant dam, which is an important part of the country's power supply. Companies such as Trelleborg, Tailorstore, H&M, Oriflame, Nelly.com, Blåkläder, IFS and Cambio Healthcare have found that Sri Lanka is a good trading partner and supplier for them. Sri Lanka's geographical location has also made more and more people discover the country as a regional hub. Thanks to free trade agreements with many countries in the rapidly growing region, Sri Lanka can be a bridge to an expansion also for medium-sized Swedish companies.
The terrorist attacks on Easter Day do not change the Sri Lankan's location in the region, but the political system and business life are subjected to tremendous stress. There is, of course, a legitimate concern for what can come out of this. Positive and strengthening is that the message from the Swedish business community is that now more than ever we need to be there and support. Sri Lanka will come back. Swedish tourists will once again meet fantastic nature experiences and friendly smiles. Sri Lankan IT developers, talented tailors, factory workers and many other well-educated employees in Swedish-owned companies will continue to deliver quality.
Over the coming weeks, there have been several activities planned for a long time, where Swedish companies would have the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of what Sri Lanka offers. None of these will be canceled.
We look forward to welcoming Sri Lankan companies to Sweden despite these difficult times.
The threat of terrorism is best met by not giving in.
The trade and meetings between people counteract the forces of evil.
Leif I Ohlson
Sweden-Sri Lanka Business Council
SSLBC har till ändamål att främja handel, vänskap, förståelse och kunskap mellan Sverige och Sri Lanka genom personliga nätverk och kontakter.
SSLBC skall driva en verksamhet som skapar kontakter med relevanta handelsorganisationer, affärsförmedlare och företag i båda länderna för att så främja affärsutbyte och handel mellan Sverige och Sri Lanka.
SSLBC verkar aktivt för att stödja och informera politiker, myndigheter och media om vad som kan och bör utvecklas för att handel mellan de två länderna skall kunna öka