Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Tourism the real secret to real growth is “The Experience”
When I showed a colleague the previous blog entry of what the independent traveler wants, I was told that only cheap tourists come there, and don’t help the Industry to grow at the speed and level that is needed.
I couldn’t disagree more. If one looks at the normal evolution of the product Ella is now ready for the next level, if the stakeholder can only improve upon the experience and is given ON SITE TRAINING on how it should be done, as I suggested in the previous BLOG. We just have NOT been able to leverage this unique location of outstanding beauty into an exclusive retreat of high quality.
Firstly it is the infrastructure, without a responsible local authority to look into the water supply, roads and trekking paths, mountain bike trails etc. you cannot attract the high net worth. It is all about word of mouth NOT advertising. A project undertaken from the AD budget to sort this out will be more long lasting than the cost to some foreign agency for promotion!!!!!
Today, whilst the B&B double room rate hovers from Rs4,000 to Rs10,000 there, just the dinners at the restaurants normally can run to Rs10K per head with the liquor. So again it is NOT the type of accommodation alone that has the value added, it is the spending in Restaurants and AMBIENCE which our decision makers don’t understand. If we concentrate on REDUCING NOISE, MAKING THE PLACE CLEAN, PROVIDING AMBIENCE, you will have tourists with minimal carbon footprint who will take the train to Ella and spend a week enjoying the clean air, good food, and surrounding countryside.
Is there anything more you want from a tourist? You create employment for the people for miles around, and for local craftsmen to develop their crafts to boot. It is a responsible sustainable tourism dream that has YET TO rub off on these mandarins in Colombo, who if truth be told, don’t have a clue about what I am talking about.
I am using Ella as an example, but I can quote 20 more off the top of my head that have NOT suffered the blight of the 5 star curse. Arugam Bay is another and so on. If we develop these gems sustainably one at a time, there is no stopping Sri Lanka. Curiously it is the foreigner who is doing the best in this tourist product too, as he is more aware of the need of the tourist and is able to offer exactly what they are looking for. Shame on you MANDARIN for letting the side down yet again, depriving Sri Lankans of the opportunity to develop the unique home grown Tourism model that is sustainable and can weather the ups and downs of the world economic tantrums. If only our own Czars spend the money available wisely to develop tourist infrastructure we will have a different story to write about.