Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo’s poolside – the place to be for all sports fans


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The Poolside at Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo is famed for its scenic location, overlooking the blue waters of the infinity pool and Beira Lake. An oasis where guests can relax on sundecks and sip on refreshing exotic concoctions while basking in the tropical sun or enjoy a relaxed poolside lunch menu with salads, sandwiches and refreshing cold drinks and desserts.
Come evening, Poolside transforms into Colombo’s most happening sports bar, as all the latest sporting events are televised live on a big screen on the upper terrace. You can now cheer on every play, pass and score of your favourite sports teams while drinking ice cold beverages. If you are not sure about match timings, you can find all the latest game schedules at the bar too.
Who says you can’t have a grilled menu in five star style right in the heart of Colombo? The chefs at Cinnamon Lakeside have conjured up a special grilled menu for you. From tender steaks, to juicy hamburgers and choice of hotdogs with various toppings, you can find your preferred sports bar fare right here.
While the tender meats cook, soak in the spectacular ambience and setting created by the pool and landscaped gardens and watch your team battle it out as the cool breeze carries the aroma of the grilling meats and accompaniments over the terrace throughout the evening.

Emirates spreading out cricket enthusiasm around the world


With just two weeks to go until the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Emirates airline, a global connector of people, places and passions, has unveiled the first of its aircraft that will feature the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Logo.article_image
The Emirates Airbus A380 recently set off to Australia and New Zealand, and is the first of a number of “especially-dressed” Emirates aircraft that will fly around the globe, celebrating this major event with cricket-lovers and uniting fans around the world.
Emirates has been the official partner of the International Cricket Council since 2007 and all its major tournaments including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
In partnership with the ICC, Emirates also sponsors the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and Match Referees.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Need for better marketing strategies for Sri Lankan tourism

  • Case of Sigiriya
Sigiriya can be considered as the eighth ‘Wonder of the World’. It is also an icon of Sri Lankan tourism.
From 2009 Sri Lanka has been enjoying the dividends of peace. According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka had met its tourist arrival target of 1.5 million for the year 2014.

Sigiriya is one of the prominent attractions in Sri Lanka, but at the moment there is no specific website for Sigiriya. There is a need for a novel and innovative website concentrated on Sigiriya
As per the SLTDA figures, Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 16.1% in December last year compared to the same period in 2013 with the arrival of 178,672 tourists compared to the 153,918 arrived in December 2013. For the year 2014 a total of 1,527,153 tourists arrived in the island recording a 19.8% increase from the 1,274,593 who came during 2013.
The tourism sector is more important for economic growth. In this context and the blessings of peaceful environment, the strategic window has been opened for tourism in Sri Lanka.
A strategic window is a “temporary period of ‘alignment’ or ‘fit’ between the competitive capabilities of an organisation and the key requirements of the existing or new markets it intends to compete in”. Technically it is a short time period which Sri Lanka should exploit the market.
To do this, there should be proper marketing strategies by looking at different segments in the world. If you want to touch the heart of Chinese travellers, you have to be concerned about the following factors in hotel accommodations.
What Chinese look for in hotel accommodation
nFree Wi-Fi
nChina Union Pay
nSlippers
nTea kettle
nTranslated materials
nChinese TV channels
nChinese breakfast
nMandarin-speaking staff
nSmoking room
nMini bar cup noodles
nToothbrush and toothpaste
So it is really important to understand the needs and wants of a different people in different regions.
Then what about internet? Internet and web marketing is really important in current world of tourism. According to the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA 2005), 67% of US travellers have used the internet to search the information on destinations or check prices or schedules. Most of the tourists in the world would like to browse the web before visiting to the particular destinations.
As discussed earlier, Sigiriya is one of the prominent attractions in Sri Lanka, but at the moment there is no specific website for Sigiriya. There is a need for a novel and innovative website concentrated on Sigiriya. It is desirable to have catchy theme like ‘I left my heart in Sigiriya’ to attract more tourists to the destination.
In the website it is desirable to have buttons for different locations. Inclusion of different photographs highlighting the attractiveness of the location is absolutely vital. This will attract the attention of browsers as well.
There should be a section enabling the visitors to share their thoughts and also the ideas about the location with their own photograph. Even as a sales promotion tool the best photo uploaded can be selected every week and the winner can be given some complements, etc.
Website should be kept simple and it should consist of beautiful photos, carefully-selected melodies, and brief statements. Further a 24/7 hotline is also can be recommended. Links should be available enabling the visitor to have information about visa procedures, to book hotels in the location, etc. Even web ads can be posted on selected popular websites. Furthermore, visitors should be able to purchase products through the web just by clicking the icon.
For the easy access of search engines like Google some key words can be used. As an example when the potential customer types ‘Handicrafts,’ the Kibissa (this is the place that markets handicrafts of the people to tourists with a lot of creative work) is a word will come as the second or third search.
Social network
Starting groups and advertises via social networks like Facebook and MySpace can be considered as important since it will increase the level of awareness as well as the interest to visit locations. Even blogs (like e-blogger) can be started to attract more people.
Sales promotion
Sales promotion is important not to create awareness for Sigiriya but to compel potential tourists to visit the place (sales promotion is any initiative undertaken by an organisation to promote an increase in sales). Sales promotions should vary according to the purpose of the business.
(a) Buy-One-Get-One-Free (BOGOF) – If the customer is willing to buy one souvenir she/he should offered one free. Or else if five customers of the same family are visiting, one should be given free admission, etc.
(d) Merchandising additions such as point-of-sale materials and product demonstrations
(e) Free gifts – every tourist visiting Sigiriya Rock will get a small memorabilia
(f) Discounted prices – can arrange discounted prices for travelling, food or lodging
(g) Joint promotions between brands owned by a company, or with any other company brands. Joint promotions should be carried out with hotels like Kandalama in order to promote the location (example-T-shirts, caps)
(i) Vouchers and coupons, often seen in newspapers and magazines. Once you forward the newspaper advertisement a 5% discount entrance fee, etc. should be given
(j) Competitions and prize draws in newspapers, magazines, on TV and the radio, on the internet for the local as well as foreign tourists
Customer relationship management
This deals with attracting as well as retaining customers. There should be proper a database on visiting customers including name, address, country, sex, religion, birthday, etc. This should be updated and managed properly.
The database can be used to understand the segments, nature of visits and customer tendencies etc. Further the information like birthday of customers can be used to create loyal customers. Loyalty programs are always helpful to retain attracted customers.
For example, when a tourist visits Sigiriya once, there should be way to detect from the database and the loyalty program can target such visitors by offering them special discounts, vouchers to visit the location again. Even sending birthdays cards (with the logo of the location) will help in retaining customers. Further loyal customers will act as spokespersons for the organisation as well.
Loyalty point system – This can be incorporated on the web as well. Every time when a person browses the web and contributes to the discussions, some points will be allocated and once the tourist comes to Sri Lanka he/she can redeem. This will be a very important part of CRM.
WOM
This can be defined as “all informal communications directed at other consumers about the ownership, usage, or characteristics of particular goods and services or their sellers”.
This is very important to motivate others to buy the product. WOM can have an overwhelming impact upon a destination’s image, as dissatisfied visitors spread unflattering comments related to their experiences.
Emails, the web as well as blogs, virtual communities, newsgroups, chat rooms, product review sites can be used to promote the destination and also the shops, available handicrafts, etc.
To promote Sigiriya and the surrounding area as a tourist destination there is a need for better website together with integrated tools like customer relationship management, sales promotion and word of mouth communication, etc. As discussed earlier, there is a need to have a proper theme like ‘I left my heart in Sigiriya’ to promote the destination.
We need to identify the proper strategies with proper mechanisms in order to enhance the capacity in Sri Lankan tourism.
It is only then that we can witness sustainable tourism in our country with greater opportunities.
Source :http://www.ft.lk/2015/01/26/need-for-better-marketing-strategies-for-sri-lankan-tourism/

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sri Lanka Tourism on full show at WTM, London

World Travel Market (WTM), the leading global event of the travel and tourism trade, kicked off from 3-6 November at the Excel Exhibition Hall in London, promoting international travel throughout the world.

Having foreseen the unique opportunity to promote Sri Lanka as a renowned destination in world travel, Under the guidance of Ministry of Economic Development, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has taken steps to participate in the event, along with 58 partners of the tourism industry.

The official opening ceremony of Sri Lanka Pavilion took place on 3 November with the participation of the Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka High Commission in London Chamaree Rodrigo, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Managing Director Rumy Jauffer and industry members who represented Sri Lanka at WTM.
A total number of 58 industry partners along with Sri Lanka Tourism are participating at WTM this year, highlighting many unique travel and hospitality products in an area of 250 sq metres. Out of the total participants, eight companies from the SME sector have been given the opportunity to participate at a reduced rate by Sri Lanka Tourism.
The Sri Lankan stall this year received much praise from all the participants and visitors for its unique and innovative design. It features a wildlife theme with local elephant family replicas at the entrance, which is a Sri Lankan wildlife attraction. A boulevard banner depicting Sri Lankan elephants and whales was a main attraction at the entrance to the Asia Hall. The Sri Lankan stall design was prepared with the SLTPB in-house design advice.

Under the guidance of Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, the Sri Lanka tourism industry is poised to reach new heights with mega promotional campaigns launched globally while the industry has witnessed rapid growth in recent times. Sri Lanka has become a highly sought-after travel destination among UK tourists within the past few years. The arrival figures up to September 2014 from the UK stood at 107,330 tourists compared to the annual total of last year of 137,416.
Sri Lanka Tourism recently branded and launched 450 taxis in three of the UK’s biggest cities: Manchester, Birmingham and London. The first fleets of 300 taxis of this campaign were launched on 4 August in London. The ‘Sri Lanka –A Journey Awaits’ tagline promotes the key tourism attractions of Sri Lanka on taxis with a massive fleet of cabs in each city displaying taxi super sides, back seat covers and taxi receipts with stunning visual imagery of Sri Lanka’s prominent tourism attractions. The campaign is active in the UK at the moment.
During the four days of the fair, Sri Lanka Tourism has arranged to give away three precious blue sapphire gems for lucky draw winners at the media briefing and for the trade visitors to the booth, signifying and recreating the famous blue sapphire gem of the royal wedding ring of Princess Diana, sourced from Sri Lanka for this purpose. The Sri Lanka stall showcased traditional Sri Lankan dancing enriched with customs as an attractive feature, providing a very good opportunity for visitors to get a glimpse into the country’s culturally-rich traditions. In addition, a program to promote Ceylon Tea is being held during the exhibition, providing an opportunity to visitors to enjoy a cup of pure Ceylon Tea.
Sri Lanka Tourism has been participating in this event for many years with the local travel industry. The main objective of this year’s representation is to provide the local travel industry an opportunity to meet, interact and network with travel and tourism industry partners from the UK and around the world to gain immediate competitive advantage for the Sri Lanka travel industry and stay abreast with the latest developments in the travel industry.
The travel fair provided small and medium hotels and travel agents (SME sector) a valuable opportunity to participate at WTM at a concessionary rate this year as well. WTM attracts more than 30,000 visitors, 5,000 trade partners (exhibitors) and over 3,000 journalists from around the world each year. More than 1,000 travel agents, including over 200 tour operators, attend this travel fair, creating much opportunity for the booming tourism industry of Sri Lanka. With the achievements in the tourism industry so far, SLTPB is looking forward to exceed the expected target by end 2016 and WTM is a milestone in this journey.
Source : http://www.ft.lk/2014/11/05/sri-lanka-tourism-on-full-show-at-wtm-london/

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

US expertise for N’Eliya cable car project


The first phase of the cable car project in Nuwara Eliya, which was set to be pulled from Lake Gregory to Single Tree Mountain with an investment of US$ 9 million is currently undergoing studies with plans to bring down feasibility experts from the United States.
The entire project, when completed, is set to exceed an investment of Rs. 700 million.

“The project had to face a few hiccups with the onset of the recent climate changes. The initial plan was to complete the project by April 2014. But, the Swiss partners who are assisting in importing the cable cars have wanted changes to the original plan of including Single Tree mountain as one of the main connections,” said MLM Associates, Executive Director, Milanka Gajanayake.
“The main reason for getting down the US mountain and rock experts is to ensure the weight hold of Single Tree mountain where most of the construction is also set to take place,” Gajanayake acknowledged.

The studies is set to commence by the end of January 2015 and the initiation of the entire project will depend on their analysis.
Gajanayake also added, “The construction time frame is currently being affected with the constant flow of interruptions due to the weather and a number of other catalysts. We want to remain confident about the near future and hope to see the project come to light in time.”
The project is segmented into three phases to extend to nearly 7.5 km with the second phase commencing from the Single Tree Mountain to Mahagastota and the third phase extending from Mahagastota to the planned airport at Nuwara Eliya. The cable cars would be dual powered; solar and wind and each cabin would have the capacity for 15 persons.
Photo: US expertise for N’Eliya cable car project

The first phase of the cable car project in Nuwara Eliya, which was set to be pulled from Lake Gregory to Single Tree Mountain with an investment of US$ 9 million is currently undergoing studies with plans to bring down feasibility experts from the United States.
The entire project, when completed, is set to exceed an investment of Rs. 700 million.

“The project had to face a few hiccups with the onset of the recent climate changes. The initial plan was to complete the project by April 2014. But, the Swiss partners who are assisting in importing the cable cars have wanted changes to the original plan of including Single Tree mountain as one of the main connections,” said MLM Associates, Executive Director, Milanka Gajanayake.
“The main reason for getting down the US mountain and rock experts is to ensure the weight hold of Single Tree mountain where most of the construction is also set to take place,” Gajanayake acknowledged.

The studies is set to commence by the end of January 2015 and the initiation of the entire project will depend on their analysis.
Gajanayake also added, “The construction time frame is currently being affected with the constant flow of interruptions due to the weather and a number of other catalysts. We want to remain confident about the near future and hope to see the project come to light in time.”
The project is segmented into three phases to extend to nearly 7.5 km with the second phase commencing from the Single Tree Mountain to Mahagastota and the third phase extending from Mahagastota to the planned airport at Nuwara Eliya. The cable cars would be dual powered; solar and wind and each cabin would have the capacity for 15 persons.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tourism revenue touches US$ 2.5 b

The Cinnamon Hotels Group hosted world’s leading travel bloggers in Sri Lanka and here, some of the bloggers at Kaudulla. Picture by Shirajiv Sirimane

The Sri Lankan tourism industry, for the first time touched the US$2.5 billion revenue mark for 2014. In addition the industry also for the first time in history passed the 1.5 million tourists arrivals for 2014 recording 1, 527,153. This is a 19.8% increase as against the previous year of 1,274,593 during 2013.
Most of the tourist arrivals were from Western Europe with 479,007 tourists visiting in 2014, recording a 13.8 percent increase over corresponding 2013 figures. For the month of December 55,877 tourists arrived in the island, 13.9% more than in December 2013.
The number of Chinese tourists arriving in the island rose by an impressive 136.1 percent to reach 128,166. In December alone tourist arrivals from China increased by 120.4 percent with 10,400 Chinese tourists visiting the island.
Arrivals from South Asia, the other region from where most of the tourists come, increased by 13.4 percent to record 370,299, while arrivals from India increased 16.3 percent to 242,734 in 2014.
By achieving 2014’s arrival target of 1.5 million tourists, the tourism industry has shown a steady growth by assuring continuance in momentum with its key focus for the next two years and to attract a number of 2.5 million arrivals by the end of 2016.
This strategic development plan of Sri Lanka tourism will achieve its core objectives serving the needs of all stakeholders and ensuring the economic benefits of the industry distributed to a larger cross section of the society.
The 1.5 millionth tourists were a German couple, Torrens Jaime and Ciupika Hedwig who arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) via UL558. The couple were given a warm welcome by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, industry leaders and senior staff of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.
A special cultural dance performance was held at the BIA to welcome the couple and Sri Lanka Tourism offered a special gift and a complimentary package for them to visit the country’s tourism attractions.
Torrens Jaime, who happened to be an architect by profession and is a great admirer of the late and legendary Archt. Geoffrey Bawa.
Source :http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=business/tourism-revenue-touches-us-25-b

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sri Lanka Tourism creates history by successfully achieving year 2014 arrivals target !!

Sri Lanka Tourism creates history by successfully achieving year 2014 arrivals target !!

The booming Sri Lanka Tourism industry created history by achieving year 2014 arrivals target of 1.5 million tourists on yesterday, 28th December by welcoming the German couple Mr.Torrens Jaime and Mrs.Ciupika Hedwig who arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport via UL558 as the 1.5 millionth tourists to Sri Lanka in year 2014. The couple was given a warm welcome by the Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Mr. Rumy Jauffer, Board of Directors of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau , Industry Leaders and senior Staff of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau at the Bandaranaike International Airport. A Special cultural dance performance was held at Bandaranaike International Airport to welcome the couple and Sri Lanka Tourism offered a special gift and a complimentary package to them to visit country’s tourism attractions. Mr. Torrens Jaime who happened to be an architect by profession and is a great admirer of late legendry Architect Mr.Geoffrey Bawa. The gentleman has much to speak about this legendary and has been moved so much to become an admirer of Sri Lanka with the influence of Mr.Bawa’s architecture.
By achieving year 2014 arrival target of 1.5 million tourists, the tourism industry has shown a steady growth by assuring continuing with the momentum with its key focus for the next two years is to attract a number of 2.5 million arrivals by the end of 2016. This strategic development plan of Sri Lanka tourism will achieve its core objectives serving the needs of all stakeholders and ensuring the economic benefits of the industry distributed to a larger cross section of the society being in line with the national effort of making Sri Lanka, the emerging Wonder of Asia. This record breaking tourist arrival was made possible by the leadership given by his Excellency president and guidance given by minister of Economic Development Hon. Basil Rajapaksa and efforts made by Sri Lanka tourism.