Challenged to import fuel to run its power plants and with its dams running out of water reserves and not producing electricity, Sri Lanka’s power cuts are taking a huge toll. The country had earlier decommissioned its coal-fired power plants.
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has taken its latest toll as the country’s most popular ambassador for tourism has spoken of the difficulties in the country.
The country’s popular tourism ambassador, German YouTube vlogger who goes by the name Ken Abroad thinks he has had enough of electricity outages and informed his audience that he was considering cutting short his visit.
This comes in the wake of the Sri Lankan government sinking deeper into an economic mess with the island nation’s currency taking a freefall.
With 81.6K subscribers, the German vlogger had captured the hearts thousands of YouTube users in Sri Lanka.
The central bank has been printing money in excess and a resulting shortage of foreign exchange has thrust the average Sri Lankan into a vortex of economic hardships – from inflation to unemployment to electricity power outages.
“When you are travelling abroad, you have many challenging situations,” Ken said in his latest YouTube video.
“But the challenges are getting worse, so I am actually thinking about leaving Sri Lanka earlier than planned.”
“In Sri Lanka we are having power cuts of six to eight hours every day. It is not only me. Many businesses are struggling.”
Power cuts, he explained, meant that there was no electricity to switch on light bulb, charge his laptop and cut access to internet. This got worse in the evenings.
“Many restaurants are closing because they cannot operate,” he explained. “I can sit in the beach so that is not a problem.”
However, he said he explained his dependence of everything gadgetry to be able to do his job – being an online social media personality that he is.
Economic crisis, power cuts
Ken’s interactive social media life has had thousands of Sri Lankans following him and advising him on the places he must visit – most of these off the beaten track that excites his viewership.
But, coming from Europe, Ken is perplexed. “I am curious to know why we are having the power cuts in Sri Lanka at the moment.”
Sri Lanka’s severe currency crisis and its uninspiring lowering of interest rates could get tourists to visit the island. Interestingly, there are tens of thousands of people from Russia and Ukraine presently visiting Sri Lanka on a tourist visa and to escape the war in their countries.
But all the associated problems of printing more money and injecting liquidity into the economy has not helped. Foreign exchange shortages in a pegged exchange rate regime and the outbound dollar are complicating the crisis.
With difficulties to pay for fuel imports to run its power plants and with its dams running out of water reserves and not producing electricity, Sri Lanka’s power cuts are taking a huge toll. The country had earlier decommissioned its coal-fired power plants.
The government has all along hoped that tourism would take off once the fear of COVID-19 gets over. This would help the government get the much needed foreign exchange. The So Sri Lanka campaign, marketing the emerald island as a tourist destination was being revamped. And Ken was an unpaid-for ambassador.
But, as Ken says in his note on his YouTube channel, “Not every day is a happy traveling day!”
Ken’s thoughts about leaving Sri Lanka came as the British government warned its citizens of the economic crisis engulfing the tourists’ destination.
“The economic situation is deteriorating in Sri Lanka with shortages of basic necessities including medicines, fuel and food because of a shortage of hard currency to pay for imports,” UK’s travel advice to citizens read.
“There may be long queues at grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies. Local authorities may impose the rationing of electricity, resulting in power outages.”