COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – The head of one of Sri Lanka’s biggest hotel group, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings, has called for visitor quotas at wild life parks to prevent overcrowding and more effective marketing of the island destination.
Sri Lanka’s unique attributes and its “hard to imitate” competitive advantage relies on the diversity it can offer within a small land mass, said Harry Jayawardena, chairman of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings.
“However, our natural resources in particular are in danger due to lack of policies, regulation and controls.
“For instance overcrowding at national parks has not only become an eyesore but also a threat to the sustainability of our wildlife.”
Jayawardena said he hopes that the authorities would introduce “strict regulations and implement a visitor quota” for the long term sustainability of the island’s natural resources, as well as the tourism industry.
The island also needs “cohesive destination marketing” at a national level, Jayawardena told shareholders in the annual report of the group which owns and manages properties in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Oman and India.
“It is an urgent imperative that Sri Lanka markets itself as a destination more effectively with emphasis on a strategic positioning that can aid differentiation,” he said.
“It must be ensured that such marketing is spearheaded at a national level rather than left to individual stakeholders.”
Jayawardena said a strategically cohesive and integrated communications campaign in key markets is hence essential if the tourism industry is to fully harness the potential of post war Sri Lanka.
The industry must increase the demand for Sri Lanka, as it would be difficult to compete on price against other regional players who have the benefit of greater economies of scale and lower costs, he said.