Negative social media has adversely impacted the tourism sector of Sri Lanka, which is battling its worst economic crisis, according to the Managing Director of Lanka IOC, a subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corporation.
In an interview with ANI, the MD of the Lanka IOC Manoj Gupta said: “For ordering shipments Sri Lanka requires USD 30-32 million to open the Letter of Credit (LC) and it is an extremely difficult task to open such LC in Sri Lanka these days.”
“A single bank cannot open such a big LC of 32 million and for that, we need to contact at least four to five banks. We are grateful to the Central bank of Sri Lanka and other licensed commercial banks, who have enabled us to open LCs to import fuel shipments,” he added.
Noting the problem of non-availability of dollars, Gupta noted, “Banks are also telling us that they don’t have any dollars left with them. Even after free float of the LKR (Sri Lankan Rupee), the banks still do not have the liquidity to offer.”
The managing director said that fortunately tourism had recently picked up but news articles on social media have adversely affected the sector.
“After Covid pandemic, we were so happy, so proud, that every month thousands of tourists from across the globe used to come to visit the beautiful island. But some news articles on social media have made an adverse effect on the tourism industry due to which many bookings got cancelled. I strongly believe that this too shall pass and we will sail through the tough time. Social media plays a very important role because everyone is on Twitter and Facebook and it is the fastest mode of communication,” he said while expressing hope for Sri Lanka’s future.
The MD of Lanka IOC added that they are supplying diesel to hotels, schools, airports, hospitals, embassies, and construction sites, among others. “The place we are sitting right now is the World Trade Centre in Colombo which is also getting diesel supply from us because there is power cut of several hours at times”, Gupta said.
“I do appreciate, that we may not be able to contribute to the requirements as needed, due to our limitations of scale, but to a large extent, we are trying to contribute to the best of our abilities. I am confident now that going forward, definitely, the situation will change for betterment. I would reiterate that the biggest problem is the availability of USD. At the same time, I am confident that the way we have sailed through the pandemic, we shall get over this tough and challenging phase too,” Gupta said. (ANI)