Sri Lanka Tourism responds to Miththapala comments

16 June 2015 06:59 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) in a statement has responded to the article titled ‘Tourism expert urges for the need for proper marketing strategy’, which appeared in Mirror Business yesterday, based on the comments made by the tourism sector expert Srilal Miththapala at a recent forum. Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SALITO) President Mahen Kariyawasam was quoted in the statement as saying:

“We at SLITO are very surprised to note the article where a tourism expert has mentioned that there is no proper marketing strategy and a think-tank should be established. This expert does not know what is happening in today’s tourism industry. We must state that the new SLTPB board was appointed with the representatives of hotels association and SLITO we have already established a tourism marketing strategy which is approved by the industry members SLITO and THASL and which is being implemented. So for sure the expert mentioned in the article is not aware and not updated of the current affairs of the industry! We welcome responsible statements not irresponsible statements,” he said.

The response also included a statement by Taj Samudra Hotels Regional Director Amal Goonetileka, who is a THASL member.

“We are happy to inform that the SLTPB has now formulated a broad Strategic Marketing Plan- 2015 for the destination with the approval of the THASL representatives in the board. This will be reviewed from time to time and new initiatives which will be of benefit to the tourism industry will be added where necessary going forward which is a very positive step given that the industry was alienated in the recent past on global promotions,” she said.

SLTPB Chairman Rohantha Athukorala, while agreeing with Miththapala on his comment that there has been no marketing thrust in the last five years, expressed disappointment over not recognizing the current efforts. “It is a sad day for SL tourism when an expert is not aware of the hard work that its members have done for the last four months in identifying the key 18 markets, developing a detailed targeting strategy and thereafter taking it to the membership organizations like SLITO and THASL getting feedback and making the changes for, former Board approval of SLTPB. This thereafter received policy approval by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports which the said expert has been unaware of, which gives the disconnect to his assertions,” he said.

“After a lapse of 5 years we have set the stage for a global communication partner to be appointed for Sri Lanka Tourism. The TOR has been approved by the board and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the TEC committee has been appointed. Next week the tender will be floated which is an investment of Rs. 200 million, so that we can relook at overall positioning strategy of the destination which the said tourism expert has once again not being aware of,” Athukorala commented. “It’s time that the industry takes the lead from the Tea industry as well as the apparel industry which has entrenched competition among the players but , in unison they have become strong globally. The tourism industry needs the support of every person as it clears 600-800 million financial misappropriations that has happened in the last few years. Responsible experts of any industry must always take a holistic view so that it benefits the industry. This industry cannot take anymore shocks,” he said.
 

Editor’s note


Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Paddy Withana was one of the speakers at the event where Srilal Miththapala made these observations. Withana, who spoke after Miththapala, agreed in general, with the views expressed by Miththapala. 
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