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Sri Lanka crisis

Sri Lanka tourism on comeback trail after bombings, COVID, unrest

Visitors return to broke Indian Ocean island but operators struggle with costs

COLOMBO -- Things were looking up for Tharaka Kevin in February 2020. The housekeeping executive at a luxury resort in southern Sri Lanka, famous for its blue waters and pristine beaches, had made his first down payment of 150,000 rupees ($470) to a friend on a Honda Hornet motorbike.

The money was hard-earned. In April 2019, the country's tourism industry had been rocked by the Easter Sunday terrorist bombings, which killed more than 250 people at hotels and churches. "Soon after the Easter attacks, almost all our bookings got canceled," he recalled. "Because we earn mostly from service charges, our monthly salaries were very low."

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