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.
JKH records EBITDA growth of 9% to Rs.10.41 billion in Q3
Summarised below are the key operational and financial highlights of our performance during the quarter under review:
Group EBITDA recorded an improvement to Rs.10.41 billion during the quarter under review, which is an increase of 9 per cent against the comparative period of last year [2021/22 Q3: Rs.9.53 billion]. Excluding the impact of a one-off deferred tax charge at South Asia Gateway Terminals on account of the significant change in income tax rates, Group EBITDA increased by 17 per cent to Rs.11.17 billion in the third quarter of the financial year 2022/23.
Apart from the Consumer Foods and Property industry groups, the Group’s businesses recorded growth in EBITDA compared to the third quarter of the previous year.
The Transportation industry group recorded an increase in profitability due to its USD denominated revenue streams and resultant translation gains due to the depreciation of the Rupee as compared against the previous year.
The groundwork on the West Container Terminal (WCT-1) at the Port of Colombo is progressing well with the dredging works being rapidly completed. The contract for the quay wall construction, a significant component of the overall construction works, was awarded in October 2022. Overall timelines for the project remain as originally envisaged.
The Leisure industry group recorded a strong performance driven by the Maldivian Resorts and Colombo Hotels segments.
The Supermarket business recorded an EBITDA growth of 26 per cent to Rs.1.99 billion due to an increase in same store sales driven by a combination of higher customer footfall and basket values due to high inflation. The overall profitability in the Retail industry group was impacted by a substantial decline in the EBITDA of the Office Automation business compared to the third quarter of the previous year.
Profitability in the Consumer Foods businesses were impacted by volume declines reflective of dampened consumer sentiments, and lower margins, although margin pressure is expected to ease off from the fourth quarter of 2022/23 onwards.
The Property industry group recorded a decline in profitability as the third quarter of the previous year included revenue and profit recognition from the handover of the residential apartments and commercial office floors at ‘Cinnamon Life’. The recognition of revenue of all units sold at ‘Cinnamon Life’ up to 31 March 2022 was recorded across 2021/22.
The Insurance business recorded a growth in the life insurance surplus and gross written premiums whilst Nations Trust Bank recorded an increase in net interest margins and a reduction in costs.
The Group’s carbon footprint per million rupees of revenue decreased by 25 per cent to 0.38 MT while the water withdrawal per million rupees of revenue decreased by 17 per cent to 7.56 cubic meters.
Initiatives under ‘ONE JKH’, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) brand of the John Keells Group, included a perception survey to better understand employee awareness and sentiment towards increasing career opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Cognizant of the multiple economic hardships faced by the people of the country, and in recognition of the Group’s role as a leading responsible corporate citizen, the Group continued its multipronged crisis response programme with a particular focus in the areas of food security, education and nutrition among vulnerable segments such as school children.
CSE positively impacted by US ambassador’s comments on bail-out
By Hiran H. Senewiratne
CSE share trading kicked off on a positive note yesterday following US ambassador Julie Chung’s positive comments on the IMF bailout to foreign media and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland arriving in Sri Lanka last morning, stock market analysts said.
The market gained in mid-day trade yesterday, mainly pushed up by banking and financial sectors, brokers said. As a result, both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index went up by 84.96 points and S and P SL20 rose by 45.29 points.
Turnover amounted to Rs 1.5 billion without any crossings. The reason for investor sentiment to move up was because it was clear that the US seems to be pushing creditors to go for debt restructuring to obtain the IMF bailout for Sri Lanka, analysts said.
In the retail market seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; JKH Rs 239 million (1.7 million shares traded), Softlogic Life Insurance Rs 175 million (1.4 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 164 million (805,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 154 million (806,000 shares traded), Softlogic Capital Rs 125 million (7.8 million shares traded), Tokyo Cement (Non -Voting) Rs 46.5 million (1.5 million shares traded) and Lanka Tiles Rs 46.4 million (one million shares traded).
It said high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in John Keells Holdings, Lanka IOC and Lanka Wall Tiles. Mixed interest was observed in Softlogic Life Insurance, Expolanka Holdings and Chevron Lubricants, while retail interest was noted in LOLC Finance, Softlogic Capital and Browns Investments.
The Capital Goods sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to JKH), while the sector index lost 1.06 per cent. The share price of JKH recorded a loss of 50 cents to settle at Rs. 139.50.
The Insurance sector was the second highest contributor to the market turnover (due to Softlogic Life Insurance) while the sector index increased by 1.31%. The share price of Softlogic Life Insurance increased by Rs. 2 to close at Rs. 120.50.
Lanka IOC, Softlogic Capital and LOLC Finance were also included among the top turnover contributors. The share price of Lanka IOC lost Rs. 2 to close at Rs. 206.25. The share price of Softlogic Capital moved up by 20 cents to close at Rs. 15.90. The share price of LOLC Finance closed flat at Rs. 6.90.
“We are seeing a lot of activity today, mostly retail interest led by the life insurance companies like Softlogic life and Softlogic Capital, a market analyst said. “Foreign buying was there in the last few days as well”. During the day 60.2 million share volumes changed hands in 14000 transactions.
It is said that Colombo City Hotel subdivided its shares by one share into 20 ordinary shares for its shareholders.
The stock market ended the first month of the New Year with a gain of over 4 per cent, largely influenced by strong momentum earlier on as investor sentiment of late has been bearish.
January saw the benchmark ASPI gain by 4.4 per cent and the active S&P SL20 Index by 5 per cent. Daily turnover averaged Rs. 1.86 billion, according sources said.
Dr. Rasarie Wimalana obtains Global Best Results at the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine Examination – 2022
A young Sri Lankan professional has brought honour and recognition to Sri Lanka by achieving world class results in a highly standardized examination held globally for the increasingly popular specialty of Lifestyle Medicine.
Dr. Rasarie Wimalana showcased Sri Lanka internationally by obtaining Global Best results
at the acclaimed International Board of Lifestyle Medicine (IBLM) Examination held in December 2022. The exams drew applications from over 1400 licensed physicians and allied post graduate health professionals representing multiple countries including the United Kingdom and the United States.
The IBLM is a global benchmark that sets and upholds strict criteria for assessment and evaluation of physicians and health professionals in Lifestyle Medicine worldwide. Being certified as an IBLM diplomate translates to possessing specialized knowledge in lifestyle medicine which broadens the application of sustainable treatment of non-communicable diseases.
As the most prestigious and largest lifestyle medicine platform in the world, The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) states, therapeutic lifestyle interventions can be used as a primary modality to treat chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and obesity and when used intensively by certified clinicians, it can often reverse chronic disease. The ACLM states that the six pillars of lifestyle medicine—a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connections—also ensure effective prevention of chronic conditions and can help an individual optimize lifestyle changes needed to develop a holistic approach to over-all wellbeing.
Dr Rasarie who calls both Musaeus College and Visakha Vidyalaya her alma maters, obtained her MBBS from Manipal College of Medical Sciences in Nepal before working in both state and private sector institutions in Sri Lanka. She is currently completing her Master’s in Health Psychology at the University of West London.
As an intensive care doctor of five years, she first handedly witnessed the catastrophic consequences of uncontrolled non communicable disease complications and their tragic effects on her patients and family members. Now, as a newly certified clinician in lifestyle medicine, she believes that although the awareness of Lifestyle Medicine is low in Sri Lanka, there is tremendous potential for the sector to expand. With greater awareness and growing interest, she believes that more and more people can make best use of it to improve their chronic conditions.
While working with The Sri Lankan Society of Lifestyle Medicine (SLSLM) towards their vision of transforming Sri Lanka through a sustainable healthcare system with lifestyle medicine at the core, she says that there is no better opportunity than now to incorporate holistic wellness into our lives with the adaptation of lifestyle medicine.
“Lifestyle medicine can achieve a powerful impact through providing a personalized medical service in clinical practice while also reiterating the importance of public health, research and education. It could bring together medicine and allied health sciences to work together towards minimizing the devastating impact of non-communicable disease burden in Sri Lanka.” She says in conclusion.
Showers above 50mm are likely at some places in Western, Sabaragamuwa, North-Western and Uva provinces.
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