Sri Lanka tourism urged to go for new branding


By Harischandra Gunaratna

A veteran and one of the most successful hoteliers, tour operators and travel agents from the Maldives with a considerable stake in the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka and elsewhere yesterday told The Island Financial Review that there was a dire need for Sri Lanka’s tourism product to re-position itself and go for new branding if the country was to become one of the top destinations in Asia.

Sri Lanka had been stagnating as a destination for sometime though there had been much rhetoric and bragging by the officials, he added.

“The trend and demands in the tourism industry have changed drastically and we have to gear ourselves to meet them with a new approach. We cannot solely depend on trade markets, but go beyond , the veteran said under condition of anonymity.

‘It is sine-qua-non that the stakeholders, including the tourism authorities change their mindset and give the much needed facelift to the industry, discarding the hackneyed philosophies by introducing new concepts and following new trends, he pointed out.

The seasoned campaigner in the tourism industry on a brief visit to

Colombo said that the scope is unlimited for Sri Lanka and it should explore new markets with a desire and will without depending on traditional markets only.

“Sri Lanka should explore the oil rich countries in Central Asia where high spending holidaymakers are looking for new destinations and the country fits the bill.It should act fast, he advised.

The veteran opined that “Sri Lanka’s national carrier should introduce direct flights to Central Asia and Africa and the tourism authorities should conduct aggressive promotions in wooing the the holidaymakers from those markets. On the other hand, Colombo could easily become a hub for traffic from those countries visiting here and moving to other destinations if properly marketed.

‘There are several hitherto untapped niche markets and one is ‘tea tourism’. If properly marketed the benefits could be immense as there is a ready demand for it. For some reason those at the helm in the past had ignored this niche segment and those handling tourism promotions at present should take cognizance of the fact that it is a gold mine and the country has all the ingredients needed to sustain this segment of the market and start promoting it without delay.

“Ceylon Tea is known the world over and why not the tourism authorities capitalise on that,” he asked.

‘No one can tell the outside world about Sri Lanka than Sri Lankans themselves and the country could achieve its goal easily with qualified ,experienced,non- poiltical persons at the helm, he said



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: