Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Lankan tourism to leapfrog leveraging digital media

- BY DILINA KULATHUNGA

Sri Lanka tourism industry is now set to promote the country as a destinatio­n of choice as well as her individual properties through digital media. To this end, the country’s burgeoning IT sector has already developed the required digital solutions and is expected to get off the ground starting from the fourth quarter of this year.

While traditiona­l promotiona­l campaigns such as road shows in target countries have been effective so far, one of the leading trade chambers believes that those have been less effective in accessing the new generation visitors because their needs are different and are mostly connected via digital forms.

“Basically, through this project, we have answered the question whether we (Sri Lanka) have digital solutions to identify the changing needs of t he ‘Generation Y’ or young visitors who are digitally connected through iPads and smartphone­s,” said the Vice President of t he American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) in Sri Lanka, Prasath Nanayakkar­a.

The project code named ‘Tourism 2.0’ has already identified 12 digital solutions by nine domestic IT companies. These solutions which mostly operate as mobile applicatio­ns will market Sri Lanka as a destinatio­n as well as the country’s individual properties.

Some of the solutions will enhance the spending by the tourists while others will optimize cost management throughout the value chain.

“So, what we have in fact done is, we collaborat­ed with Sri Lanka Associatio­n of Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM) and created a missing link between our hotel and Destinatio­n Management Companies (DMCs) and local IT companies to explore best in class digital products and solutions to attract, service and retain guests,” Nanayakkar­a further added.

The project could not have come at a better time when the country’s star-class hotels were not helped at all by the reported number of higher tourist arrivals.

When Mirror Business asked the additional number of arrivals that is expected in the following year of the project implementa­tion, SLASSCOM General Secretary Ruwindhu Peiris said although it was premature to quantify, some of those solutions in fact were able to convert potential travellers into lucrative buyers and thereby increasing the total yield.

“In addition, this project will also create a domestic market for our IT solutions which were predominan­tly catered to foreign clientele. On the other hand, this will enable minimize the drain of foreign currency to other countries to purchase IT solutions as our hotels and DMCs now have customized IT solutions with equal or better quality in the local market,” he said.

The shortliste­d nine finalists selected from 20 competitor companies will be recognized at a conference and a trade exhibition scheduled to be held on September 12 at The Kingsbury Hotel. The conference will be addressed by a global expert on leveraging IT and digital media to enhance marketing and revenue in the tourism industry. The event will be also attended by senior executives from the IT and leisure industry.

 ??  ?? From left: Tourist Hotels Associatio­n of Sri Lanka President J. Kehelpanna­la, Amcham Vice President Prasath Nanayakkar­a, Amcham Director Vasantha Leelananda and SLASSCOM General Secretary Ruwindhu Peiris
Pic by Kithsiri De Mel
From left: Tourist Hotels Associatio­n of Sri Lanka President J. Kehelpanna­la, Amcham Vice President Prasath Nanayakkar­a, Amcham Director Vasantha Leelananda and SLASSCOM General Secretary Ruwindhu Peiris Pic by Kithsiri De Mel

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