Thursday, 22 October 2009

Attracting back Diaspora retirees

Apart from attracting the Lankan diaspora to invest in specific projects and enterprises, I am skeptical that many would actually move back entirely, especially those who are younger and have more at stake. Except for a champion few who have moved back to launch path breaking initiatives since the end of the war.

HOWEVER, I think if we can mount a clever marketing campaign to attract diaspora retirees - Lankan diaspora members in the 55+ age group, I think we may be on to something. Most expatriates I've spoken to say they would 'love to retire in Sri Lanka', with a nice house by the sea etc. And having provided for their children and seeing them all settled down and financially independent, and also with a slight onset of arthritis (which is miserable when you're living in wintry Toronto) they are more likely to be wooed back to sunny, easy-living Sri Lanka.

We could start marketing the new Eastern beach fronts, and even some of the Negombo, Puttalam, Kalpitiya lands for retirees/holiday homes etc. But of course it's not just the land-by-the-sea factor. We need to open up more private participation in health care, so they know they should they need it they have access to super medical facilities; better transportation links; fewer bureaucratic burdens etc.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great idea but there are quite a few things that need to happen beforehand. One of the things i am concerned about is the sustainable development of such an initiative. Most of the places you mentioned still can not provide basic utilities 24/7. Then there is the fact that housing developments to cater returning Sri Lankan would be located in greenfield sites that are currently used for food production. Land prices would increase leading to the poor not being able to afford housing etc. There are so many examples of wealthy immigrants moving to a country buying up housing making it unaffordable for locals – NZ and Australia are excellent examples. The list of issue that need to be considered beforehand is long and complex.

    I think a better idea would be if we can encourage Sri Lankans overseas to invest in the development of Sri Lanka. Examples like investing in high value-low foot print businesses which educate and employ locals, advocating sustainable practices in current industry, empowering local development etc. I do not think you need to live in Sri Lanka to help develop the economy esp if you are over 55. It would of greater value to encourage your highly skilled children to return home and work for their country.

    However, don’t get me wrong - I do not believe that our parents or grandparents shouldn’t return home – I am just pointing out some of the issues and potential impacts their western lifestyle may have on a nation of limited resources. There must be a balance of course.


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