Entrepreneurship and New Product Development in the Tourism Sector of the Northern (Mannar) and Eastern Province (Batticaloa and Ampara) of Sri Lanka
- Client: The International Finance Corporation
- Partners: Find My Fare
- Project Duration: January 2016 - May 2017
The tourism industry in the Eastern and Northern Provinces of Sri Lanka is emerging. Until now, the priority on developing and expanding tourism in the country has been focused on the Western Coast of Sri Lanka, with minimal attention elsewhere. The Eastern and Northern Coasts of Sri Lanka contain large breaches in tourism policies and face numerous challenges in offering quality services to tourists. For the continued economic growth of the country, Sri Lanka has prioritized becoming a high-quality international destination and attracting more domestic and international visitors. As tourism continues to increase, Sri Lanka’s post-conflict areas can benefit by taking advantage of their country as a sun and sea destination with outstanding world-class cultural and natural attractions. In order to improve policies, services and infrastructure within the tourism industry in the Eastern and Northern Provinces, Solimar worked to encourage dialogue, diversify the number of tourist attractions, and increase capacity among tourism entrepreneurs.
- Facilitated public-private dialogue in the focal districts through one-on-one interviews with key destination stakeholders, coupled with public-private stakeholder workshops;
- Designed and carried out a “Tourism Innovation Challenge” to help develop or enhance fifteen tourism products or services to increase the availability of tourism attractions that offer cultural, historic or nature-based tourism products and services in the region;
- Facilitated focused training and skills development to tourism service providers in districts based on Solimar’s Small Tourism Enterprise Operations and Management training course and an associated Train-the-Trainers course;
- Provided technical assistance to FindMyFare.com and improve market access for targeted areas and MSMEs to promote Sri Lanka’s Eastern and Northern Provinces. Solimar will also conduct on and off-screen SEO’s to improve the Geotourism Mapguide’s ranking in search engines to increase website traffic; and
- Provided basic marketing and sales training to tourism MSMEs in the target regions.
- 15 new and emerging tourism enterprises receiving in-depth advisory services;
- 15 Business Plans developed
- 51 individuals associated with the 15 enterprises attended training workshops and seminars on a continued basis;
- 534 participants in training workshop and seminars when the trainings were made available to the public (222 of which were women);
- 21 signed pledges from hoteliers and service providers showing their commitment to adopting sustainable tourism best practices and preserving the destination;
- 8,135,159 LKR increase in sales revenue (from the period June 2016 – December 2016) among the 15 enterprises receiving in-depth technical assistance. The monthly average revenue grew by 46% when compared to the baseline data collected in May 2016 upon the start of the technical assistance;
- 2,385 new customers served among the 15 enterprises between the period of June 2016 – December 2016. The monthly average of customers grew by 57% from May through December.
- 96 total jobs supported (with the creation of 45 new jobs) through the growth of the 15 enterprises;
- Development of individual sales sheets to promote the products;
- One enterprise has signed a sales agreement with Walkers Tours, and two more are currently negotiating agreements;
- 2,750,000 LKR of indirect investment by enterprises as a result of investments in the business;
- 9 enterprises registered their businesses in the local council and 6 more are currently in process; and
- 2 enterprises obtained their business registration from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and 5 more are currently in process.
- Increased visitation and direct booking of tourism accomodations and attractions through the Eastern Sri Lanka Geotourism Mapguide (http://easternsrilanka.natgeotourism.com) and a local partnership with Find my Fare.