Columnists,Rohantha Athukorala,Opinion and Issues

Tourism an export industry: Fourth chance?

Views - 411 Tuesday, 3 December 2019 00:32

It took a lot of thought before I decided to put pen to paper. Whilst the key industry stakeholders like THASL and SLAITO have raised the red flag on the industry with almost 70 hotels up for sale, in my view we have got the fourth chance to make Sri


Brand power or a consumer issue?

Views - 370 Tuesday, 26 November 2019 00:00

Coming from a marketing background and having worked in very competitive markets for several years, the recent Presidential Elections deployed the most cutting-edge marketing practices that I have seen in action. It was very evident that the top two


Serving Sri Lanka and the presidential manifestos

Views - 484 Wednesday, 13 November 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka is entering a decisive week given that the country will be selecting the leader who will drive the country for the next five years. The reason I say decisive is that Sri Lanka has hit the lowest level of economic performance. Sri Lanka is c


Both presidential candidates have missed: Nation brand value building

Views - 691 Tuesday, 5 November 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka is entering one of the most decisive time periods in recent history; just 11 days for the appointment of the new president of Sri Lanka. The manifestos of both key contenders are highly focussed on what Sri Lanka requires and must be commen


Is Sri Lanka going the way of Sony?

Views - 630 Tuesday, 29 October 2019 00:00

While Sri Lanka’s recent Share of Voice (SOV) has been dominated by heavy political marketing, with every newspaper bearing a false cover with political brands or inundated with election rally rhetoric, the rest of the world is passing us by. This


Elpitiya test market: Implications for brands Gota and Sajith

Views - 1060 Wednesday, 23 October 2019 03:52

In the traditional world of marketing, we tend to test market a product before going national with it. There are three test marketing areas that are normally selected by FMCG companies - Gampaha, Kandy and Negombo. The logic behind this is that the c


Ceylon Tea: Not an adoption driver?

Views - 387 Tuesday, 15 October 2019 00:00

The latest research study done using Artificial Intelligence (AI) on consumer perceptions on a sample market like ‘Australia’ reveal that, the key attributes that a consumer looks for when selecting tea are: quality of tea, type of tea and tea fl


Sanga as MCC President: Future of SL cricket?

Views - 1219 Wednesday, 9 October 2019 00:00

The first non-British President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), a true son of Sri Lanka, Kumar Sangakkara, took over the club’s reins on 1 October 2019 for the next 12 months. His mandate, as was clearly outlined by outgoing president Anthony


Brand Sajith wave gets traction

Views - 2353 Tuesday, 1 October 2019 00:00

After a long wait, brand Sajith was declared to be the contender against brand Gotabaya for 16 November showdown at the Presidential Elections 2019.  Whilst there is much speculation and Sri Lanka went into many theories during 49-day lag, the ultim


Rogue MBAs: How to identify them

Views - 1213 Tuesday, 24 September 2019 00:44

Many of us who are into imparting knowledge were thrilled to hear the Chairman of the University Grants Commission Prof. Mohan de Silva stressing on the importance of a national quality assurance system for both State and non-State education.  He we


Gotabaya’s promise and corporate Sri Lanka

Views - 1769 Tuesday, 17 September 2019 00:00

In the backdrop of the $ 93 billion economy, Sri Lanka is wobbling with overall household consumption declining to 4.7% growth and GDP forecasted at 2.7%, which means Sri Lanka is in for tough times. In this backdrop the first candidate off the block


Sri Lankan household sinking: HH consumption drops 4.7%

Views - 1001 Friday, 6 September 2019 00:00

Whilst powers may be busy forging alliances and contemplating how one can stay in power, the poor housewife is squashed between meeting the needs of the family and balancing the disposable income she has in her hand. When we hear the narratives of th


Time that Govt. sees reality – CCI drops to 36

Views - 789 Tuesday, 27 August 2019 00:00

Whilst many of us believed in the Yahapalana regime and decided to serve the country, when we look back it’s sad to say that what we feel is that that the sacrifice we made was in vain. The last four years have been a disaster when it comes to livi


Will ‘10 February’ be repeated?

Views - 1075 Tuesday, 20 August 2019 00:00

Whilst Sri Lanka is in election mode, the thought crossing every Sri Lankans mind is, ‘Will the 10 February 2018 elections behaviour be repeated?’ given the head-start that ‘Brand Gota’ has got. Whilst many are speculating who will be the fig


What a brand architect means to me – Rev. Fr. Trevor G. Martin

Views - 1073 Wednesday, 14 August 2019 00:00

I still remember the day that my mentor Rev. Fr. Joe Wickramasinghe bid adieu to St. Peter’s College; the thought that flashed through my mind was that we would never see this calibre of administrator at college again, given that Fr. Joe ran the en


Sri Lanka needs an IPL approach to nation brand building

Views - 300 Monday, 29 July 2019 00:00

The world of marketing has intrigued me, not only because I have spent most my life in this profession and managed powerful global brands like Dettol, but because it is the only discipline in business that makes one close to the end customer. It is t


Federer lessons for Sri Lanka tourism

Views - 396 Thursday, 18 July 2019 00:10

The Wimbledon Men’s Final in 2008 was termed as the best match the world has seen between the two arch rivals Federer and Nadal. But, what we saw last Sunday between the two of them after 11 years sure shocked the world. Many just asked the questio


Corporate Sri Lanka needs to be psychologically strong

Views - 522 Wednesday, 10 July 2019 00:00

When I was reading Monday’s newspapers I was disturbed to see the Government’s responses to the new Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chief Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya’s very straightforward and candid comments on the proposed forces agreement SOFA and MCC,


Become a corporate athlete

Views - 297 Thursday, 4 July 2019 00:15

Last week Sri Lanka staged ‘Rotary Performance Awards 2019’ at the Cinnamon Grand with a packed audience of almost 600 people. The attendees included Past Global President K. Ravindran and Governor 2018/19, former Sri Lankan cricketer Dushan Soza


Sri Lankan companies: Be brilliant on basics

Views - 585 Thursday, 20 June 2019 00:00

The $ 87 billion Sri Lanka economy is registered a 3.5% GDP growth in Q1 2019 in the backdrop of South Asian growing at 6% which explains how far away we are in relation to our neighbouring countries – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. I guess the Q2


Sri Lanka Tourism gets third chance: will we blow it?

Views - 1030 Thursday, 13 June 2019 00:00

Whilst many are looking at the downturn in Sri Lanka tourism, in my view, we have got a third chance to make Sri Lanka Tourism a world-beater in the future. We can use the next year to re-position the brand, just like Bhutan and Rwanda Tourism, did t


One month gone: No charge on over 200 Catholics murdered

Views - 882 Wednesday, 22 May 2019 00:00

It’s been one month since the murder of around 300 innocent Catholic children and parents but no has yet been charged for the biggest negligence of duty that Sri Lanka has seen in recent history. The President and Prime Minister have both denied a


Cost to tourism: LTTE $ 7.8 b, ISIS $ 1.5 b?

Views - 940 Thursday, 9 May 2019 00:10

The country is yet grappling to come to terms with the manmade disaster on 21 April. The attendance at schools is slowly recovering whilst the private sector is returning to normalcy. The Army Commander’s announcement that Sri Lanka is safe and re


9 lessons for marketing from the terror attack on Easter

Views - 4131 Tuesday, 30 April 2019 00:00

It was not only Sri Lanka that was shaken from the Easter attack but also the world. The lights on the Eiffel Tower were switched off, parliaments around the world observed a minute’s silence. US President Donald Trump made a special comment to the


Countries can recover post-disaster; strong policymakers a must

Views - 1141 Wednesday, 24 April 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka was devastated on Sunday when suicide bombers went on rampage. Whilst the actual impact will be seen in the near future, what is sad for Sri Lanka is that the policymakers are at sea despite all the experience we had in dealing with the LTT


Sri Lanka at crossroads?

Views - 529 Wednesday, 10 April 2019 00:00

The Sri Lankan economy is worth around $ 93 billion with the per capital income at $ 4,310 and the country achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals. However, the country is going through some tough times with questions on governance stemmin


AI and political marketing

Views - 1647 Wednesday, 27 March 2019 00:00

Artificial Intelligence has become a hot topic in the recent past in Sri Lanka, with an eminent business personality explaining how his companies like Singer and HAYLEYS are using this technology to better serve the customers. Let me do a deep dive i


Ceylon Tea or Sri Lanka Tourism the stronger category brand?

Views - 568 Thursday, 21 March 2019 00:00

The Central Bank officially reported last week that Sri Lanka exports have grown to $ 11.9 billion, recording a growth of 4.7%, which means that the country has not performed up to expectation in 2018. The export volume index has grown by 0.5% in 201


Budget 2019 off target?

Views - 515 Wednesday, 13 March 2019 00:00

The share of voice (SOV) of the Budget 2019 was very strong with almost every newspaper every media station, paper or radio highlighting the opinions and challenges. But I did not see anyone report the research presentation that was made on 6 March (


Will SL Budget 2019 capture key trends globally?

Views - 901 Tuesday, 5 March 2019 00:10

As per the latest estimates of the World Bank, the South Asian region is ranked the fastest growing with a whopping 6.9% GDP growth in 2018, whilst the estimated growth in 2019 is to be 7.1% which indicates the appetite that private sector has and no


Today's Columnists

Roots of the crisis

Saturday, 14 December 2019

The candidates who had genuinely contested the Presidential Election had elaborate and attractive election manifestos. But none of them had a pragmatic program to address the basic question of how to overcome the extensive crisis Sri Lanka is facing.


What price reforms now that progress rules?

Friday, 13 December 2019

It was a famous victory. A shadow of a doubt persists after an election commission member spoke up recently, after the event, about an alleged irregularity somewhere in the voting system works. But this would be churlish, buffoonish and academic to t


Assessment of fitness and propriety of directors and officers

Friday, 13 December 2019

In the early ’80s, a businessman turned financier from the hill capital started a public deposit canvassing drive by offering 20% interest per month. The depositors were offered on the spot payment of 20% as interest for the first month for their d


How to select top officials to public corporations

Friday, 13 December 2019

It is commendable that the President wants to select suitable decision-makers to public corporations without them being mere and ad hoc political appointments. However, the process thus far seems somewhat weak. Various people are complaining about th


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