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A peanut seller on a beach in Sri Lanka. LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI / AFP

In Sri Lanka, new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on Monday, pledged to strengthen security in the country after the April terrorist attacks on churches and hotels. This should reassure tourists who have deserted the island after the attacks and take time to return.

With our special correspondent in Colombo , Sébastien Farcis

It is 6 pm, and the Laksala souvenir shop in downtown Colombo is almost empty. Mangesh Kirthisena, head of the jewelery section, is waiting patiently: " In May and June, sales fell by 70% compared to last year. Now, it is a little better, we are at 20 or 30% down. The Europeans and the Chinese disappeared at first, but the Indians continued to come, because for them, this kind of situation is normal. "

Tourists are coming back gradually. Security has been reinforced in front of hotels and no serious incidents have occurred since the April attacks.

Rio, a Swiss tourist, considers that this is the right time to come to Sri Lanka: " We decided to come after the attacks, it was the perfect time, it's probably cheaper, the people are more friendly because they need tourists, and it may be less dangerous. Because statistically, after an attack, a country is safer than before. "

Last year, tourism revenues accounted for 5% of Sri Lankan GDP - a figure that is expected to fall sharply now. According to industry experts, the number of visitors should return to its initial level after one year.

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