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The best time to convert strategic plans into action plans



Sight-seeing foreign tourists in Sri Lanka

Now or never –

By W A Dineesha C Wijayasuriya

According to UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization), destination management consists of the coordinated management of all the elements that make up a tourism destination. Destination management takes a strategic approach to linking up these sometimes very separate elements for better management of the destination. Joined management can help to avoid overlapping functions and duplication of efforts; regarding promotion, visitor services, training, and business support to identify any management gaps that are not being addressed. Destination management calls for a coalition of many organizations and interests working towards a common goal, ultimately being the assurance of the competitiveness and sustainability of the tourism destination.

“SO Sri Lanka”, Strategic Plan for Sri Lanka Tourism 2022-2025, the purpose is to set an agenda for the recovery and future resilience of the tourism sector. A detailed gap analysis performed revealed systemic issues that underpin and constrain future sustainable and resilient tourism sector growth. These include the need for holistic positioning, branding, and marketing: there is a need for more consistent and integrated marketing communication for destination branding, and a need for institutional improvement with better coordination and regulation. At present, the lack of coordination between multiple public agencies is diluting their ability to provide a conducive enabling environment for the industry. This is damaging the tourism planning and destination management of Sri Lanka.

Today Sri Lanka necessitates taking vital measures to discover the global best practices in destination management to achieve the defined three strategic priorities of ‘Protect’, ‘Recover’, and ‘Build Back Better’. Since the world keeps moving fast and new destinations take different approaches to promote tourism to escalate the traffic flow of tourists, Sri Lanka also needs to put strategic plans into action plans.

Qatar Tourism reveals the country’s largest-ever international tourism marketing campaign in the push to become the fastest-

growing tourism destination in the Middle East. Tourism has been identified by the country’s leadership as one of five priority sectors integral to diversifying Qatar’s economy and increasing private sector participation. Notably, 80% of the world’s population is within a 6-hour flight from Qatar, and more than two-thirds can enter Qatar visa-free.

Destination management calls for a coalition of many organizations and interests working towards a common goal, ensuring the same on World Tourism Day 2017. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former Prime Minister, launched the next chapter of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy, a five-year plan that places an enhanced end-to-end visitor experience at the heart of tourism development.

A new, dedicated website and a mobile app were launched to showcase the world-leading destination. Today, this free App “Visit Qatar” -Apps on Google Play has a 5 Star rating and it welcomes the guest to come and explore an exceptional destination, the radiant pearl of Qatar. “Be our guest as you enjoy 360° views, and collect favorites, where you find activities and attractions tailored to suit your travel style.” By understanding the pulse of the new tourists, Sri Lanka must introduce a similar mobile app with state of art technology integrating visitor services.

New visa policies have resulted in Qatar becoming the most open country in the region, and the 8th most open in the world according to visa openness rankings released by the UNWTO in August 2018. This high ranking reflects a string of visa facilitation measures introduced by Qatar.  Visitors to Qatar can easily apply for Qatar Tourist Visa online by uploading the documents and paying the fee online, nationals of 88 countries are allowed to enter Qatar visa-free.

On 1/11/2021, in a Qatar tourism news and media/press releases chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “The country’s extensive developments are well underway as we welcome visitors from around the world, with exceptional hospitality at every touchpoint. The launch of the Experience a World Beyond marks a significant point in our journey to establishing ourselves as a world-leading destination and welcoming six million visitors per year by 2030.” Destination management consists of the coordinated management of all the elements that make up a tourism destination, this is evident through centralized decision-making with integrated marketing strategies implemented and communicated through Qatar Airways Media Newsroom.

Qatar tourism enjoyed the fruitful efforts of the integrated marketing strategies, having been confirmed by Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, announcing the arrival of more than 1.4 million fans from across the globe to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Qatar tourism created the perfect stage for all stakeholders by taking a strategic approach to linking up these sometimes very separate elements for better management of the destination, and this resulted in achieving higher guest satisfaction, which is the key to destination marketing. Further Joined-up management throughout the supply chain helped to avoid overlapping functions and duplication of efforts.

FIFA organizers accomplished equality among disparity. On Dec. 15, 2022, FIFA president Gianni Infantino thanked the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 volunteers, around 20,000 diverse, skilled, multi-lingual passionate individuals, who were working mainly behind the scenes. They helped to deliver the FIFA World Cup and showcase the true spirit of Qatar. “Congratulations,” he said, “You are the heart and soul of the World Cup and, most importantly, you are the face and the smile of the World Cup. You are the first person that people see when they come to this fantastic World Cup, and the last person they see when they leave. Your smile is making this World Cup what it is, which is the best ever.”

Qatar tourism ultimately assures the competitiveness and sustainability of the tourism destination by strategically allowing everyone to become part of the story. Evident was the true spirit of fans and how it was capitalized in destination marketing by hosting an exclusive event that will never have a History Repeat.

The writer is attached to Qatar Airways Group, Qatar Duty Free as a Duty Manager and holds a Master in Tourism Economics & Hotel Management (MTEHM),B.Sc. Business Administration (Special), CGMA, ACMA (UK), CPA (Aust) and Certified Professional Coach (CPC. Aust).

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Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia pledges output cuts – Opec+




(picture BBC)

Oil-producing countries have agreed to continued cuts in production in a bid to shore up flagging prices.

Saudi Arabia said it would make cuts of a million barrels per day (bpd) in July and Opec+ said targets would drop by a further 1.4 million bpd from 2024.

Opec+ accounts for around 40% of the world’s crude oil and its decisions can have a major impact on oil prices.

In Asia trade on Monday, Brent crude oil rose by as much as 2.4% before settling at around $77 a barrel.

The seven hour-long meeting on Sunday of the oil-rich nations, led by Russia, came against a backdrop of falling energy prices.

Total production cuts, which Opec+ has undertaken since October 2022, reached 3.66 million bpd, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Opec+, a formulation which refers to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, had already agreed to cut production by two million bpd, about 2% of global demand.


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Manpower services agency wins accolades for its contribution to foreign employment sector



Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services receives the award

Its MD says. ‘go abroad only if you can work hard’

Siraj Manpower Services, one of Sri Lanka’s leading foreign employment agencies, was honoured with the Three-Star Award at the ‘Golden Awards’ 2023, organised by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). This award ceremony was organised to honour foreign employment agencies that have made a significant contribution to the development of the foreign employment sector, which is a major source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka. Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services, was presented with the award at the award ceremony which was held at the BMICH in Colombo under the patronage of Minister of Foreign Employment and Labour Manusha Nanayakkara.

Having been established in 2002, Siraj Manpower Services ( has earned a reputation in the field of foreign employment by winning the trust of customers for more than 20 years. It has been offering job opportunities in the Middle East countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia as housekeepers, drivers, sanitation workers, labourers and also jobs related to the apparel industry. All these workers are entitled to approved salary scales certified by the SLBFE.

“We always stand for the safety of workers who go abroad through our organisation. We work to solve the problems that arise in relation to the contracts that the workers have entered into. I must mention something special to those who go abroad for employment. That is, you should keep in mind that you go abroad only to work. Go abroad only if you can work hard. You have to remember that you are going abroad to earn some more money and achieve the advancement of your family.” said Siraj Cafoor.

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Direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake to commence from August



A special discussion between Turkish Ambassador – Demet Sekercioglu and Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation – Nimal Siripala de Silva took place last week at the ministry office. The aim of the discussion was to seek authorization to commence direct flights from the Turkish Capital Istanbul to Katunayake, Sri Lanka. The Chief of Turkish Airlines’ South Asia Office Fathi Bozkurt was also present during the discussion.

Currently, Turkish Airlines connects with Sri Lanka through a route that includes a stopover in the Maldives, resulting in an additional travel time of one and a half hours. The delay caused by this routing is not favored by travelers, as emphasized by the Ambassador.

The Chief of Turkish Airlines requested for time and space to be allocated in order to initiate direct flights between Istanbul and Katunaike, thus providing convenience for Turkish tourists and travelers who prefer visit Sri Lanka.

The Minister announced that the request would be forwarded to the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited. The aim is to establish direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake starting from August this year.

Turkish Airlines, a renowned airline with a fleet of over 100 aircraft, offers flights connecting Europe’s Vancouver and New York. The Chief of Turkish Airlines said that the new service would not only benefit European travelers but also encourage them to travel to Sri Lanka.

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