Monday, January 25, 2016

The Tourism Experience – a cinch for the savvy small business!!

Gone are the days of the package tourist being of value to the host Country. The tourist is transported in a Coach, spends 70% of his waking hours in Sri Lanka in the coach, never manages to intermingle with the locals, contributes hardly anything to the hotel which sells the room at rock bottom rates, and goes back not having contributed at all to Sri Lanka. This goes for all packaged products, be they from Japan, China or Europe.

On the other hand the independent traveler, those who benefit the small one hotel owner most, searches on line, looks at reviews as his main guide to the quality of the experience at the lodgings, makes his own bookings, and comes on a holiday, willing to spend far more money than the aforementioned.

Reading the schizoid article above, it reflects that attitude of the Industry people that bear NO relation to reality.

Until there is a national policy on what type of tourist we would like to attract, there is no point in the State getting involved. All they should do is provide services to the people in the industry, to better manage their product whatever that maybe. The owner of a small three bedroomed establishment, restaurant owner who caters to tourists, masseurs, chefs, a tour guide, the hire car driver, the tourist police, the ticket seller to archeological sites, the person managing the paid toilets (we don’t have any yet) for the convenience of tourists who don’t have anywhere to pee at present in public places. These service providers need to be given classes, given certificates of proficiency, ( I know some of it happens but is totally insufficient as the course teachers don’t know the subject matter)

So before REGULATION COMES EDUCATION, as you cannot impose the will on a person who does not understand why! Frankly the big boys like JKH and Aitken Spence, Jetwing, Hemas, and such like don’t contribute a dime to the tourism industry, their import component decimates the value added component.

It is time to first look at the product that has the highest value added and a couple of the above have establishments that are in this league, and then spend resources in assisting those in that business to improve their quality, as it will provide an IMMEDIATE return on investment, (within a year) as compared with silly destination marketing campaigns that are merely padding the wallets!  

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