Hospitality Industry Calls For Promotions
By Roy Silva
The hospitality industry is agitating for active promotional activities to attract more tourists continues. The lack of support by the authorities for international promotional campaigns has been highlighted in many a forums, but all such agitations seems to have fallen on deaf years, claim veterans in the field. They liken the attempt to draw tourists to a destination without promotions as ‘winking at a girl in the dark’.
The lack of promotions by the Sri Lanka Tourism and the cutting down official travel for tourism promotional events continue as amply demonstrated by the absence of Sri Lanka Tourism officials in the three key global events – the World Travel Market in London (WTM), International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Germany and the Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) in Dubai. Not a single official was present in any of these key events, let alone the minister of his deputy.
A key official of the Sri Lanka City Hoteliers’ Association recently emphasized the need to ensure that the government engages in required promotional activity to market the destination. These sentiments were shared by many such tourism related organizations including the Sri Lanka Tourist Hotels Association and the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators. Many veterams who wished to remain anonymous claimed that it was the Treasury that blocked promotional campaigns from being carried out and stopped tourism officials from attending key international travel trade fairs. They also pointed out that the World Bank funding for tourism promotion made to the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Buearu in 2009 to the tune of Rs.2.2 billion was also blocked by the Treasury. They also observed that private sector. firstname.lastname@example.org
SL Attracting Attention Of Investors: Tim Clark
Sri Lanka will progressively attract tourists from the more affluent segments. MICE traffic is also increasing, and the country is attracting the attention of investors from many parts of the world, said Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline in Colombo during the high profile formal opening of the Emirates Lounge recently at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayaka.
He said than the investment by Emirates of Rs 200 million in the premium lounge was a further value addition to the airline’s offering in Colombo, as well as to the facilities at the BIA.
“Emirates is happy to make this investment, which also reflects our optimism about the prospects for growth in post-conflict Sri Lanka,” he said. “I understand that more international hotel chains are building in Sri Lanka and that the tourism infrastructure is being upgraded. Sri Lanka will therefore progressively attract tourists from the more affluent segments. MICE traffic is also increasing, and the country is attracting the attention of investors from many parts of the world,” said Clark“These developments are of particular relevance to Emirates, which is one of the most active international carriers serving this country,” said Clark and added, “We look forward to continuing to play a significant role in the growth of Sri Lanka, a country we have served with award-winning air services for 26 years.”
Along with Mr. Clark, Mohammed Mattar, Divisional Senior Vice President Airport Services: Mahmood Mohammed Al-Mahmood, the UAE Ambassador in Sri Lanka; Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa; Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratna and senior aviation sector officials were also present to open the facility.Designed, equipped and furnished to the exacting specifications developed for Emirates lounges at 28 other major international airports around the world, the 5,778-square-foot Emirates Lounge at the BIA can accommodate up to 118 passengers in comfort. It is for the exclusive use of the airline’s First Class and Business Class passengers and Gold members of Skywards, Emirates’ frequent flyer programme.
The lounge features 58 leather armchairs, a dining area for 54 people, a Business Centre with seating for six, an outdoor terrace overlooking airside with seating, a well-stocked bar, a TV viewing area with the choice of most of the international channels, a dedicated prayer room, shower facilities and washrooms for males, females and those with special needs. It offers buffet dining for all meals and Wi-Fi facilities.
Colombo was the fourth destination on the Emirates network, when the airline launched services to Sri Lanka in April 1986. Today, Emirates flies to 123 destinations, linking Sri Lanka by air to 72 countries on six continents. The airline now operates 28 flights a week from Colombo, 14 direct to Dubai, seven via Male to Dubai and daily flights to Singapore, offering First, Business and Economy Class services to and from the destination.
Oneworld Ceo Visits Colombo To Welcome Srilankan On Board
SriLankan Airlines is to join the Oneworld Alliance and to mark the event, a senior delegation from the Oneworld global airline alliance, led by CEO Bruce Ashby, visited Colombo recently as SriLankan Airlines starts its preparations to join the group following its election on board.The visit comes just days after SriLankan Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe and Chief Executive Kapila Chandrasena joined their counterparts from Oneworld’s 11 established member airlines to announce SriLankan’s candidacy, in Beijing as the leaders of the world airline industry gathered for the 2012 International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Air Transport Summit.
The oneworld group visiting Colombo included the alliance’s Vice-President Membership and Customer Experience Dennis Tierney, based with Mr Ashby in New York, and Vice-President Corporate Communications Michael Blunt, based in London. Joining them, representing Cathay Pacific Airways, which is serving as SriLankan’s sponsor into oneworld, was its Regional General Manager Tom Wright, flying in from Delhi.
During their visit, they met with the senior team at SriLankan and employees across the airline and senior politicians, travel agents and key customers.
Oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby said: “For any airline, joining an alliance is one of the biggest projects they will ever undertake, impacting virtually every area of their business, and supported by one of their most extensive communications programmes. Our visit is aimed at helping give SriLankan the very best start across all these activities – besides extending to the airline, its workforce, their customers and other key stakeholders the warmest of welcomes to oneworld.”
SriLankan is expected to be implemented into oneworld late next year, flying alongside some of the biggest and best brands in the airline business.
When SriLankan joins oneworld, it will become part of an alliance of 13 airlines serving between them more than 860 destinations in 150 countries, operating a combined fleet of almost 2,500 aircraft making some 9,000 flights and carrying almost a million passengers every day, generating annual revenues of more than US$ 100 billion. This will make it easier and smoother for SriLankan’s customers to fly all over the globe – and for business people and tourists from every continent to reach Sri Lanka.
The 200,000 members of SriLankan’s FlySmiLes frequent flyer programme will be able to earn and redeem rewards on any of oneworld’s other carriers, with top tier members able to use any of the group’s 550 plus award-winning airport lounges, and its network will be covered by oneworld’s market leading range of alliance fares.
At the same time, the 120 million frequent flyer cardholders of oneworld’s established airlines will be able to earn and redeem rewards when flying on SriLankan.
SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe said: “The world airline industry is increasingly focused on alliances, with almost 75 per cent of full service, scheduled airline capacity now allied to the global airline groups.
“SriLankan has carried out in-depth analysis of the possibilities open to us against this background, supported by leading independent experts, and oneworld is very clearly the best option for us.
“Joining the alliance will enable SriLankan to offer significantly more value and benefits to our customers than we can on our own, making us more competitive, helping strengthen our financial position and put our airline more firmly on the global aviation map.“It will also vastly improve our country’s connections with the rest of the world, with all that means for our country’s vital tourism, manufacturing and other industries,” said the Chairman.
Wild Asia Calls For Responsible Award Applications
Wild Asia has announced that their annual Asia wide Responsible Tourism Awards are now open for applicants.
Developed in 2006, the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards are back for 2012 with a new and exciting selection of categories for applicants to choose from. The awards are open to accommodation businesses across Asia in all shapes and sizes, budgets and locations. Wild Asia is looking for inspirational businesses that are making a difference by practicing responsible tourism principles.
The Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards are based on international standards for environmentally and socially sound tourism, the UNWTO”s Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. For finalists and winners of these awards, the recognition of receiving this accolade will validate the business”s efforts in responsible tourism and give them the platform to showcase their achievements of environmental best practice and support for local communities, revealing to the world that their business cares.Businesses can now submit their applications, available online at tourism.wildasia.org, until the 30th July 2012. The application process is simple. All applicants should submit the Wild Asia General Application Form, which gives the judges a clear overview of the business. Applicants can then choose from six categories that best represent what their business does best and submit the relevant Category Application Form(s)
The 2012 Award categories are:
Best in Community Engagement and Development; Best in Cultural Preservation; Best in Human Resource Management and Workers” Welfare; Best in Protection of Natural Areas and/or Wildlife Conservation; Best in Resource Efficiency;
Overall Winner: Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Operator This year”s winners and finalists will be publically announced at the ITB Asia in Singapore in October. The hot favourites from across Asia can use this famous tourism event as an opportunity to showcase their recognition to thousands of delegates from around the globe.
For more information, contact Deborah Chan, Associate Programme Manager or Amy McLoughlin, Responsible Tourism Awards Coordinator at email@example.com
Tourist Guides, Drivers Demand Higher Rates
The Chauffeur Tourist Guide Lecturers are demanding that their travel rates be increased and that their association be brought under the Tourism Development Authority.
The Chauffeur Tourist Guide Lecturers’ Association of Sri Lanka (CTGLASL) held a protest recently at the Galle Face roundabout, where around 750 chauffeurs protested carrying placards.
They demanded that their association be governed by the Tourism Development Authority, instead of the Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators.
They also demanded an increase of their travelling rates by Rs.20 per kilometre, the guiding fees to Rs.1,000 per day and a daily subsistence allowance of Rs.1,000 per day.
According to Srilal Munasingha, president of the Association, although the travel agents pay about Rs.25 to 30 a kilometer the actual running cost is around Rs.40. As such, they demand a Rs.20 increase for a kilometre. Guiding fees is being charged from each tourist.
We charge around Rs.300 from a tourist. Recently, it had been increased by Rs.200 to 300. After these discussions and protests, some agents paid us around Rs.500. But others paid Rs.350 to 400. So, increasing the guiding fees to Rs.1,000 per day is our other demand.”
“The daily allowance for us is around Rs 300 to 400 per day. But we are paid around Rs350 to 500 per day.
The expense is more than the allowance we get. So we are demanding Rs.1,000 per day for the daily subsistance (Batta),’’ said Srilal.Several meetings and discussions were held with travel agents and the Tourism Board before this protest. From the Galle Face roundabout the protesters proceeded to the President’s Secretary’s office and gave a letter of their demands and proposals.
Thai Air Asia Reduces Flights To Colombo From 7 To 3
Thailand’s budget carrier, Thai AirAsia (TAA), has reduced the number of flights serving the Bangkok-Colombo route due to low demand.
Thai AirAsia has reduced its daily flights to Colombo to three flights a week from Thursday as the demand is lower than expected, the CEO of the low-cost-carrier Tassapon Bijleveld has said.
The CEO has described the measure as a realignment to increase the service on routes with higher demand. As a result, the flights are on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.
TAA is the first low-cost-carrier to serve Bangkok-Colombo route which commenced on March 1.
The route is also served by other airlines including Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan, Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific.
TAA is the only low-cost airline operating both domestic and international flights from Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.