SL must build a strong brand – Hiran Cooray

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Highlighting the importance of building a strong brand for Sri Lanka Tourism, a senior Hotelier pointed out that the public and private sectors must work together and develop a strategy that can be implemented soon.

“Our tourism product is ready, but we lack a sound communications strategy,” said Jetwing Hotels Chairman, Hiran Cooray.

There is a misconception that Sri Lanka is not ready for luxury tourism, he said.

He assures all that the country is ready to cater to all types of tourism.

“We are ready; our road networks are excellent, our natural assets are second to none, we have numerous luxury products that can compete with any property in the world, and we are blessed with the most hospitable people on the planet, resulting in the world-class services and experiences that we provide our guests,” he said.

“There certainly are many areas where we can improve, and the industry is doing its best in spite of the financial constraints of the last three-and-a-half years; however, a perfect situation will never arise, and we need to navigate through these tough times to maximise foreign exchange earnings to our country,” he said.

According to him, there is some progress made with the much-awaited promotional campaign.

There is a strong possibility that tourism can contribute close to a billion dollars to meet the country’s need of foreign exchange for essentials and other requirements if everyone works together, he said.

During the first five months of this year Sri Lanka managed to attract 378,521 tourists into the country with earnings reaching US$ 680.7 million.

While Sri Lanka may record a recovery in tourist arrivals, continued uncertainty and volatility on the macroeconomic stability of the country and resultant social unrest, further exacerbated by the ongoing fuel and power crisis, may pose challenges for the country in attracting foreign arrivals in the immediate-term.

By Mario Andree