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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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Exterminators PLC certified as great place to work



Travis Ferreira, Executive Director, ‘Extermina tors PLC’, receiving the certificate from the GPTW team

Exterminators PLC announces that it has been certified as a Great Place to Work for the second year in a row. This achievement reaffirms our commitment to creating an environment that fosters learning, development, and success for our staff members. The certification was awarded after an independent audit and certification process conducted by the renowned organisation Great Place to Work (GPTW), which evaluated our company across various focus areas. Exterminators PLC excelled in the Trust Index, scoring high points in all focus areas during the certification process.

“The challenges we faced over the past twelve months were unprecedented. We are proud of our coworkers, who kept our business operating without interruption by working collaboratively and courageously and leaning on our collective creativity, innovation, and passion. Our slogan was ‘How can we’ keep the promise we made? and we constantly innovated to get the job done, no matter how difficult it was.

We are grateful to our coworkers who collaborated with us during these most challenging times and for their pure commitment and loyalty towards Exterminators PLC, which kept us moving forward despite unprecedented obstacles.” Marlon Ferreira the Managing Director said.

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SLT-MOBITEL mTunes introduces ‘Be a Millionaire’ promo



Bringing elevated lifestyle experiences, SLT-MOBITEL is offering users the ultimate chance to turn music into wealth with its new ‘Be a Millionaire’ promo on mTunes.mTunes is a digital lifestyle service that allows customers to personalise their Caller Ring Back Tone (CRBT) with their favourite songs or audio content. It adds a unique and personalised touch to phone calls, allowing customers to express their originality and preferences with their loved ones.

With a vast collection of songs on the mTunes platform, the ‘Be a Millionaire’ promo offers users the opportunity to connect with their hearts’ content and win big cash prizes. From September 1st to November 30th, 2023, the ‘Be a Millionaire’ promo on mTunes promises incredible prizes for lucky participants. The grand prize is an amazing Rupees One million (Rs. 1,000,000) with additional rewards of Rs. 100,000 for the second winner and Rs. 50,000 for the third place. But the path to wealth does not end; seven more lucky winners will receive Rs. 10,000 each, and every week, there will be twelve lucky winners of Rs. 10,000 each in cash prizes.

Participating in the promotion is easy. Existing and new CRBT users have the chance to win these fantastic prizes, including becoming millionaires, by simply activating more mTunes during the promotional period. With multiple cash prizes available, there are numerous opportunities to win every week. The ‘Be a Millionaire’ promotion is a golden opportunity to make dreams come true.

Users can increase their chances of winning by simply activating more mTunes daily. Users can also experience the fun, excitement, and entertainment offered by mTunes and enjoy the world of music.

For more information, contact mTunes at 777 or visit

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Lanka can build strong tourism ‘eco-brand’: UN official



United Nations Resident Representative to Sri Lanka, Azusa Kobota


ECONOMYNEXT –Sri Lanka can build an ‘eco-brand’ catering especially to younger tourists who feel strongly about the environment, United Nations Resident Representative to Sri Lanka, Azusa Kobota said.

About 70 percent of global travellers prioritise sustainability in their holiday choices, marking a ten percent increase from 2021, while around 30 percent of travellers feel guilty about flying, due to carbon emissions, she said.

“As the world embraces green thinking during this time of economic recovery efforts, the objective of the tourism sector cannot simply be about increasing the number of inbound tourists,” Kobota said at an event marking World Tourism Day in Colombo.

“It has to be about enhancing their experience through green lenses, by implementing a responsible, eco-conscious paradigm for the sector and building a stronger eco-brand around the sustainable agenda for Sri Lanka,”

“This is no longer about reducing the trade offs between growing the industry and protecting the environment.

“We must see nature as our asset and solutions to be obtained for the exponential growth for our future generations.”

The sustainable tourism market is estimated to have earned 195 billion US dollars in 2022, and is expected to reach about 656 billion US dollars in 2032, she said.

“Tourists, particularly the younger generations from gen X,Y,Z are deeply, deeply conscious about the long term choices of their actions, and the adverse impact of tourists on the environment.

“Statistics show that a significant proportion of global travellers, about 30 percent, feel guilty about flying due to the environmental impact and 22 percent say they actively prefer public transport and bicycle rental options, over renting a car.”

Sri Lanka welcomed one million tourists by September 26 and is expecting more that 1.5 million tourists by the end of the year.

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