Key Takeaways from the Future of Tourism Conference in Sri Lanka
Euromonitor International presented at the Future of Tourism & Responsible Travel for Driving Revenue conference organised by Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts, on 28 September 2015. The conference was organised in Colombo, Sri Lanka by Cinnamon Hotels in order to increase awareness regarding tourism as an industry in the country, and to discuss the importance of sustainable tourism in generating revenue and economic growth.
There were 10 speakers from across the globe who participated in the event, in addition to Euromonitor International. The conference started with a key note from the Minister of Tourism, Sri Lanka, Mr John Amaratunga. He spoke about the massive turmoil the country went through for three decades due to civil war, and how the government of Sri Lanka has been rebuilding the economy over the last five years. He also emphasised the importance of tourism in the growth of the country, and the future plans to make Sri Lanka one of the most sought after tourist destinations, by focussing on both its traditional and exotic roots while keeping up with the changing face of global tourism.
The conference continued to touch upon the importance of tourism as a growth driver for the global economy and for Sri Lanka specifically. Many speakers highlighted the importance of technology for the tourism industry. Sri Lanka needs to identify the infrastructural gaps in terms of technology, such as improving internet penetration in the country, promoting the use of smartphones, companies being available for mobile channel sales and more, in order to grow.
Furthermore, the concept of “sharing economy” was covered in detail, and how the business model of companies such as AirBnb, Couch Surfer, Uber, amongst others can be replicated. Globally, sharing economy witnessed strong growth, as it not only promotes better management of resources, but also support sustainability, which is beneficial for both consumers and other stakeholders in the industry.
One of the key findings of Euromonitor, which was extremely well received by the audience, was how Sri Lanka should aim to make the US its primary market for inbound tourism. The concept of targeted tourism promotion will help all stakeholders in the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, benefit in the future.