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Time for Sri Lanka Tourism to think more like tourists than brand builders



by Sanath Nanayakkare

Global e-Tourism Frontiers expert Damian Cook recently urged Sri Lanka Tourism Industry stakeholders to identify multiple ways to present a more inclusive destination image to the world thinking like tourists and more importantly thinking like millennial travellers who have upended the established order of the global travel business.

Speaking from Kenya to a virtual meeting in Sri Lanka hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism and Advocata Institute, Damian said the travel market today has radically changed and the way of building a brand has also changed substantially.

“Today a tourism brand is fragmented through the behaviour of millennial travellers. So it becomes much more complex – a logo, pictures of happy people or TV commercials are okay, but more than that, we need to be able to think more like tourists than brand builders. Many of us make that mistake. When we promote our destination, we don’t picture ourselves as tourist,” Damian said.

“This is a conversation which is quite complex, but is very important to have. I know your destination well. You need to be able to present the potential visitors different elements of your destination along with a variety of experiences they can have in Sri Lanka. Your country has a huge diversity of tourism experiences. And they are not for every one. They are for particular types of people or a niche segment. So let’s find those people and show them the Brand Sri Lanka that works for them.”

“The way people perceive travel destinations has changed a lot. This change is not mainly due to the impact of Covid-19. Those changes were there in the travel trade in 2019. Everybody knows that global tourism slowed in 2019 due to a cooling world economy. And hoteliers were concerned about losing their business to Airbnb – the vacation rental online marketplace. So the changes were already taking place. The pandemic has accelerated and amplified them”.

“Millennials won’t just be the initiators of holiday travel post pandemic, their behaviours will influence how younger and older tourists also choose their destinations because these two generations follow the millennials”.

“Thus millennials are the predominant market for travel. They book their holidays using their smartphones. They make their travel itineraries in-destination. They choose experiences over package tours, sea, sun and sand, or one particular tourism feature. They wouldn’t be easily lured by TV commercials or glossy promotional print ads on Tourism. And they are the ones the travel businesses the world over expect will first begin holiday travel post-pandemic becoming key to revival of tourism”.

“Millennial travellers have many instagram followers and fan clubs that are very active in sharing likes, photos and reviews of places they visit. Their followers tend to choose destinations through mutual inspiration. They are not seeing TV commercials or looking at glossy magazine ads. When was the last time you saw a TV commercial when you were watching Netflix and streaming services? You haven’t, because you are not even exposed to that kind of thing now,”

“In the recent past, we have seen the growing impact of travellers in the age range of 24-39 who are the predominant travel market. Their activity in the digital space has grown so substantial that their way of perceiving a travel destination has changed immensely. They consume content online and they book and buy travel online. This practice has given them a different exposure to destination brands; from becoming aware of a destination brand online through to actually travelling to that place.”

“Because they buy online they are very used to customising what they buy according to their unique tastes.. They go for a customised product that satisfies their travel interests. This is why we are seeing the breakdown of mass tourism model. So we need to shift the focus from mass tourism model to niche segments. Millennials are the demographic that doesn’t want to be treated as a commodity, doesn’t want to join a package tour, doesn’t want to board a cruise ship, doesn’t want to be told that this is the destination you are going to, and this is what you will do there. They want to see the destination ‘their way’. And if they recommend a destination, their fan club would also want to have that travel experience through authentic inspiration. On instagram they find thousands of photos posted by passionate individuals and they’d choose destination Sri Lanka when they see that Sri Lanka has got what they are looking for”.

“So it shouldn’t be about one strategic campaign or promoting one single destination image for Sri Lanka. It should be a multiple campaign providing different elements of the destination and the ‘critically different’ experiences that travellers can have in Sri Lanka,” Damian said.

Damian Cook is the CEO of E-Tourism Frontiers, a global initiative which develops Online Tourism in Emerging Markets, such as E-Tourism Africa initiative, which trained hundreds of tourism professionals across Africa, collaborating with international experts and major travel firms to do business in Africa. He made presentations at leading global summits in Tunis, Berlin, the US, and also in China, Japan and Thailand.


To recognise and reward Women Entrepreneur



by Zanita Careem

WCIC “Prathibhabis-heka” national awards will be given to outstanding women entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka and the SAARC said Anoji de Silva, the chairperson of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce WCIC at a press conference held at the Jetwing hotel Ward PlaceThis year the Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by DFCS Aloka.This National Award which is recognised globally will help women to market their products to international buyers

“As a country we have faced many difficulties over the last few years. Now this is the time to reflect and ensure that local women can contribute and progress to be on par with international entrepreneurs She also noted that this award ceremony is a great opportunity for all since it’s an absolutely empowering platform. “You hear success stories of women from different walks of life and it’s very empowering and inspiring. I’m sure that the younger generation of women who will watch the ceremony wii be inspired to be sucessful entrepreneurs in the future S

“Our women entrepreneurs have the potential to help our economy to grow. They have made vast strides to build companies on a set of values and they have created diverse working environments.

The WCIC Prathibhabisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards will be held in January 22. To the question how financial records of small businesses headed by women could deter their ability to apply the chairperson said.

“We have a startup category which is under five years where they can submit documents for consideration. She responded “These women can apply but must submit proper records to back their applications or else they will be rejected wholeheartedly.The Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022

“Prathibha” depicts excellence in Sanskrit and WCIC will showcase the excellence of outstanding women entrepreneurs through WCIC Prathibhabisheka –

“The relaunched property is structured to assess the businesses in a holistic manner. We invite outstanding women entrepreneurs, especially the ones who have braved the challenges in the past years to share their story of resilience and achievements to compete for the coveted – WCIC Prathibhabisheka The Awards will honour women entrepreneurs for their tenacity to scale and grow, and for their contribution and impact on the economy. Whilst the competition is primarily for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs, we have also included an opportunity for women in the SAARC region to compete in a special category” stated Anoji De Silva, the Chairperson of the WCIC.

The members of WCIC Ramani Ponnambalam and Tusitha Kumarakul-asingam, said”. We will be accepting applications under the categories – Start-up, Micro, Small, Medium and Large. Each category will have a specified revenue for the year under review – 2021/22. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be presented for each category. With the view to identify and promote regional women entrepreneurs, we will encourage applications from all the provinces in the country and select the “Best of the Region” from each province.

The women will also be considered for the coveted special awards – Young Woman Entrepreneur, Outstanding Start- up, Most Positively Abled Woman Entrepreneur, The Most Outstanding Export Oriented Entrepreneur, The Best of the SAARC Region. The ceremony will culminate with the selection of the “Women Entrepreneur of the year -2022”.

“The entry kit can be downloaded from and completed and submitted to the WCIC along with all the material required to substantiate the applicant’s story. Entries close on the 31st of October.” stated Tusitha Kumarak-ulasingam.

WCIC Prathibabisheka – Woman Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by– DFCC Aloka, as the Platinum Sponsor, with Gold Sponsors – Mclarens Group, LOLL Holdings Plc, Hayleys Leisure Pic, and AIA Insurance Lanka Ltd (Exclusive Insurance Partner), Silver – Finez Capital Ventures Print and Social Media Partners will be the Wijeya Group and Electronic Media Partner–ABC Network with Triad as our Creative Partner and Ernst & Young as Knowledge Partner.

Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) is the premier organization supporting entrepreneurs and professional business-women. The membership is open to women who believe they can contribute to society as well as benefit from the many facilities the organization creates. WCIC Prathibhasheka is relaunched this year as a flagship property, to recognize and reward outstanding women enterpreneurs who make a contribution to the SL economy.

For further information Contact- Janitha Stephens – 0766848080

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Marmalade sandwich in Queen’s handbag!



In this period of national mourning, it may seem frivolous to comment on the late Queen’s handbag. After seven decades of selfless service to the nation, fashion is but a footnote to Her Majesty’s glorious reign.And yet her style is something that helped to create the powerful majestic image of Queen Elizabeth II, and which made her instantly recognisable worldwide. A key part of that image, and a constant presence in her working life, was her black Launer handbag.

Launer London was Her Majesty’s handbag maker for more than 50 years and has held the Royal Warrant since 1968. Launer bags are formal and structured, and proved to be the ideal regal accessory for public engagements. Its first royal patronage came from HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in the 1950s. Where others might have bought the latest ‘It’ bag, Queen Elizabeth exercised characteristic restraint with her handbags throughout her life, focusing on quality over quantity in her loyalty to Launer.

Her Majesty was known for her love of colour in her working wardrobe, wearing rainbow brights in order to be better seen by the public, but her accessories were always muted. Black mostly, sometimes beige or white in summer, gold or silver in the evening: neutrals that matched with every colour, allowing her to dress with ease. The timeless style of her trusty Traviata top-handle bag suited the Queen’s no-nonsense nature and symbolised her steadfast reign. The late Baroness Thatcher shared the Queen’s love of a strong top handle from classic British labels such as Launer and Asprey. These bags helped promote a look of someone in control. Like Queen Elizabeth, Thatcher’s handbags were such a part of her identity that they have earned their own special place in history and have been described as the former PM’s ‘secret weapon’. One such bag has been exhibited at the V&A alongside Sir Winston Churchill’s red despatch box. Both are artefacts of cultural and historic importance.

It has been said that there was another purpose to the Queen’s handbag on public engagements, namely that she used it as a secret signalling device. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, Her Majesty would switch the bag from her left arm to her right to signal for an aide to come to her rescue if she tired of the conversation in which she was engaged. If she placed the bag on the table, this was a sign that she wanted to leave. Ever-practical, HM needed a bag that focused on functionality over fashion, choosing styles with slightly longer top handles that comfortably looped over the monarch’s arm, freeing her hands to accept bouquets and greet the public. Even in her final photograph, meeting her 15th prime minister in her sitting room at Balmoral Castle, just two days before her death last week, the Queen’s handbag can be seen on her left arm. Perhaps at this stage it was part armour, part comfort blanket.Even at the age of 96, Queen Elizabeth II did not lose her ability to surprise. She delighted the public by taking tea with Paddington Bear at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and finally revealed what she keeps in her handbag: a marmalade sandwich, ‘for later’.

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Cinnamon Grand, Colombo welcomes You to the SEQUEL



The next best thing in Colombo!

What would you get if you took the decadence of yesterday and paired it with the flavours of right now? Something bold and jazzy or rich and snazzy. Something we’d like to call the next best thing. All this and more at Cinnamon City Hotels to the SEQUEL at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo said a press release.

The release said the SEQUEL is where the old meets new, where charm meets sophistication and having a good time gets a new meaning. Colombo’s latest speakeasy cocktail bar is ready to welcome the discerning guest that is looking for that perfectly curated night.

“The SEQUEL will be a novel addition to Colombo’s nightlife catered to enthralling guests with our performances and showmanship,” said Kamal Munasinghe, Area Vice-President, Cinnamon City Hotels.

What do we mean when we say performance? It means that every little detail is tailored to those who appreciate elegance, and a bespoke experience like no other. Think walking into a vintage space accompanied by the sounds of Sinatra and Fitzgerald inviting you to do it your way or for once in your life. Think of the soul-searching and eclectic mix of Winehouse classics that you can drown your sorrows in.

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