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‘How to attract and gain repeat local visitors right now’

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Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance returned with the 6th edition of its Resilience Webinar series aptly titled ‘How to Attract and Gain Repeat Local Visitors Right Now’ featuring a panel consisting of industry experts, Jerome Auvity, Director Operations, Jetwing Hotels, Rajiv Welikala, Manager, Classic Destinations (Pvt) Ltd and Niranka T. Perera, chairman and CEO, Antyra Solutions as well as new entrant Dilshan Rabbie, Co-founder, Ceylon Haven who shared some immensely insightful learnings from their experience of engaging with the domestic market.

Sharing key learnings from the past three months Niranka stated that there was a notable spike in booking demand as soon as the lockdown was lifted in June 2020 possibly fueled by pent up demand and heavy discounts offered by local properties. This trend has slowed down in recent months with data indicating a 36% decline in bookings from June to August 2020.

While discounting has worked to some extent during this period the sustainability of the discounting approach remains questionable especially given that the tourism industry would need to survive on domestic travel for considerably longer than initially anticipated.

In this context targeting the existing local client base with specially curated experiences remains as important as ever. Rajiv and the team at Classic Sri Lanka have understood that the Sri Lankan audience sees value in paying full price for a well organised, interesting, hosted experience that is specially curated for them. As a result, Classic Sri Lanka has not felt the need to offer discounts for any of its tours. Instead, the team’s focus has been on curating different types of experiences that are appealing to multiple segments of the local audience, and ensuring that they are hosted by experts on the subject matter.

It is also important to utilise this time to better understand the many segments within the domestic market and tailor make packages and messages for each segment. Businesses need to think local and pay attention to the nuances and preferences of different types of travellers within the domestic market. Dilshan highlights that one of the key aspects Ceylon Haven emphasises on is personalization. A concept that is possibly rather new to the local market. When it comes to the domestic market, local operators have always gone with standard options that are pre-made and off the shelf. Hardly any effort has been made to create opportunities specifically for local travellers. Ceylon Haven looks at personalisation in myriad ways, from tailor made menus for each group to special amenities based on the needs of the individuals within the group. Every conversation that a potential client has with the brand is a personalised one.

The Jetwing Group attributes 25% of its overall audience to the domestic market. The group has always considered the domestic market important, and has made an effort over the years to cater to this market with special offers and packages. According to Jerome, Jetwing has used this time to create different types of experiences for local guests who visit its properties. The group has developed experiences for each hotel, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the special brand of hospitality offered by Jetwing. Another interesting offer being promoted by Jetwing is a curated tour of one or more destinations, hosted by Hiran Cooray. The response for these tours has been phenomenal, indicating that having a recognisable and expert host makes an experience that much more attractive to a local audience.

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Business

New look Chagall opens at Park Street

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Chagall opened its doors at Parkland on Park Street Colombo 2 , with Gerald Solomons, personally welcoming all his clients and the media to the brand new Chagall. 

Gerald who established Chagall as Sri Lanka’s most elite and fashionable salon, despite the prevailing situation with the pandemic and the existing restrictions, displayed his usual flair and panache, greeting everyone with the socially correct ‘ayubowan’ and ensuring that each and everyone present was made to feel special and welcome.Continuing the bold colour scheme of red, black and white, Gerald like his muse Marc Chagall, has a wide range of styles that can cater to an eclectic clientele.

The artist Chagall saw his work as “not the dream of one people but of all humanity”; similarly Gerald through his salon Chagall would like to transform each and every person who walks in through his door, so that they leave transformed, with a new confidence in themselves and their appearance.

Mrs World Caroline Jurie, clients and well wishers, keeping in mind health guidelines made their way to Chagall at Parkland on October 20 where Gerald and his team reaffirmed their commitment to their clients and the beauty industry, to continue upholding the highest standards and maintain all safety measures and health protocols.

Having established himself and Chagall as the hairdresser / stylist and salon of the elite, Gerald’s doors are open to anyone who wants to look good and different to those around them. ” Our doors are open to everyone who wants to look good, who wants to make a statement and who dares to bedifferent” said Gerald .Manicures, pedicures, long and short hair cuts and styles, make up, facials,bridal dressing, sari drapes and the whole gamut of services will beavailable, all in brand new surroundings.All staff have undergone intensive refresher courses with Gerald beinginvolved in their training himself. 

Known for his cool demeanor and eclectic style, Gerald started hairdressing at the age of 15 having left school, determined to make an impression in the world of hair, beauty and style! He joined  Moira Muthukrishna where hiscareer in hair dressing began and today he is a living legend. Chagall was set up in New Zealand where Gerald lived for over 20 years and then moved back to Sydney where Chagall continued. Gerald has also worked in Hawaii, Australia and London.Chagall.

 

 

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CSE indices pick up as trading yields Rs. 1.09 billion

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne

The  stock market on Monday suffered a near 2 percent  decline as investors reacted negatively to the sharp spike in COVID-19 cases in the second wave. Moreover, current investor favourite counters,  Tokyo Cement and Expolanka shares, also slightly declined in trading due to the current situation, market analysts said Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards yesterday. The the All Share Price Index rose by  15.74 points  and the S&P SL 20 Index was up by 8.73 points. The market managed to post Rs. 1.09 billion, safeguarding its track record of over a billion plus turnover for more than a month. But no crossings were reported during the day. 

In the retail market, top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were: Tokyo Cement (Non Voting) Rs. 160 million (3.2 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 187.6 million (7.8 million shares traded), HNB Rs. 99.8 million (881,000 shares traded), Tokyo (Voting) Rs. 86.7 million (1.47 million shares traded) and Dialog Rs. 69.5 million (6.34 million shares traded). During the day  55.3 million share volumes changed hands in 12620 transactions yesterday.

The market also lost Rs. 44 billion in value with blue chips JKH, Carsons, Ceylon Tobacco, Bukit and Distilleries as major contributors to the ASPI’s dip on the previous day.  Some analysts linked the lacklustre trading and sentiment to the quarantine curfew imposed in Fort and Pettah which caused a shutdown of offices and businesses in the area. 

 

 

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Initiative to support startups in Sri Lanka

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Microsoft for Startups recently launched the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where only 56 startups were selected to the Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15000+ startups. The Emerge X winners have greatly benefited with global market access support, a 3-day founder bootcamp with world class mentors, access to funding, ongoing mentorship, and guidance on Azure, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more.

Innovation is critical to unlocking inclusive economic growth in Asia Pacific; high income economies in the region invest three times more in research and development as compared to their peers. To spur innovative entrepreneurship, Microsoft will work closely with governments and industry partners to discover and nurture technology startups with a high potential to become truly global enterprises in the future.

“At Microsoft, we are working to build up a more supportive ecosystem for startups in Sri Lanka,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Startups play a vital role in our economy as innovators, disruptors and first-movers. Sri Lanka needs more entrepreneurial development to fuel economic growth. Through Highway to a 100 Unicorns, we will enable startups in Sri Lanka to drive digital innovation in the region. We look forward to walking with founders along their growth journey and supporting them to scale and achieve more.”

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