Columnists,Rohantha Athukorala,Opinion and Issues

Will tourism lose another chance?

Views - 875 Tuesday, 12 February 2019 00:16

Last week we saw the appointment of another respected business professional to drive Sri Lanka Tourism – the sixth Chairman to drive the entity Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) within a space of just four years. If I may capture since 20


Sri Lankan housewife raises her head

Views - 223 Tuesday, 29 January 2019 01:21

Whilst Sri Lanka is grappling with a 2.9% GDP growth in Q3 2018, which happens to be the lowest growth seen in the recent history of Sri Lanka, thankfully the Sri Lanka housewife is raising the head at the household end due to the low inflationary at


SL tourism: From TOM to experience the brand in 2019

Views - 425 Tuesday, 22 January 2019 00:00

Last week I had just crossed the border that separates Laos from Thailand and was on route via land to Thailand. My mind was on Laos – a country branded globally as ‘Simply Beautiful’ (backed by the ADB in 2018) to attract visitors into the cou


Sri Lanka must focus on quality of exports rather than value

Views - 284 Wednesday, 16 January 2019 00:00

Whilst Sri Lanka needs to be commended on the exports value of $ 17 billion that was achieved last year (the numbers include merchandise and export of services), a point to note us that Sri Lanka is ranked the lowest in our part of the world for new


Sri Lanka: Target exports from $ 37 to $ 50 billion

Views - 678 Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

It was great to see the communique that Sri Lanka has reached $ 17 billion in exports in 2018, registering a growth of 15% in the backdrop of the Colombo Stock Exchange reporting the worst trading recorded in the last 10 years last Friday. The 2018 e


Marketing a political candidate in 2019: Is it right?

Views - 377 Tuesday, 1 January 2019 00:00

If we track back at last year, the highest share of voice topic was undoubtedly ‘politics’. Many are speculating now that 2019 will be the year of elections, starting from the Provincial Council elections to General elections and subsequently the


Lesson from India to Sri Lanka as India powers to $ 2 trillion

Views - 1084 Thursday, 20 December 2018 00:00

In the backdrop of the exchange rate fluctuations due to the strengthening of the dollar, the Indian Government pushed for ‘governance’ by asking the British Government to extradite the Indian liquor baron Vijay Malaya who has taken refuge in the


Sri Lanka beaten by Algeria and Ukraine now

Views - 1295 Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:00

Whilst Sri Lanka has been grappling on the ’Governance’ criteria in the last one month, we see how the world is passing us by – not only Singapore, Malaysia or Bangladesh but now countries like Ukraine and Algeria as per the latest data release


The reality of Sri Lanka – household end!

Views - 832 Wednesday, 14 November 2018 00:00

Whilst Sri Lanka is debating what is right and wrong on the governance of the country, the Sri Lankan household is falling part due to escalating costs, as per the latest data released by respected research agency Nielsen. For the seventh quarter in


Lankan housewives lift their heads but BCI at low 87

Views - 344 Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:21

Whilst the country is moving to unravel the constitutional challenge at hand, the good news emerging is that consumption that has been in decline quarterly has seen a turnaround in the last quarter (Q3-2018), as per the latest Nielsen Report. But the


Clear national strategy results in strong brands

Views - 290 Wednesday, 10 October 2018 00:00

Last week the Daily FT-Colombo MBA Alumni Association staged the first-ever pre-Budget Forum dedicated to women entrepreneurs and professionals. If one were to conceptualise the presented proposals, they hinged on two points. The first was the overa


Teacher Ma, an example to today’s world

Views - 424 Wednesday, 3 October 2018 00:00

Recently, I was on route to Sri Lanka from India and was killing time at the Kochin airport when I got my hands on the autobiography of the owner of the world’s top brand, Alibaba. The founder’s actual name was Ma apparently and he had started b


Modi celebrates birthday whilst making India strong – Lesson for SL

Views - 301 Thursday, 20 September 2018 00:00

The Indian Prime Minister celebrated his birthday earlier this week in the backdrop of India growing at a blistering performance of 7.1%. The January-March quarter saw the highest GDP growth in the last seven quarters with India becoming the sixth la


The private sector speaks, Mr. Prime Minister!

Views - 1299 Tuesday, 4 September 2018 00:00

In the recent past there have been many views about Sri Lanka’s performance. From the Railway strike to students of higher education and recently the fishermen community are some of the indications that there are deeper issues in the system that ne


Economic woes the motivator for FTAs

Views - 355 Tuesday, 28 August 2018 00:00

We have seen in the recent past the heat on the FTA with Singapore that was signed around nine months back. Whilst there can be merits to this argument, we have to keep in mind that when a country is struggling at 3% GDP growth and a debt stock that


Sri Lankan consumer sinking ?

Views - 1049 Wednesday, 15 August 2018 00:10

Globally we see that when an economy gets challenged at the corporate end, it has a ripple effect on the consumer, leading to protests, strikes and agitation. The latter is often termed by politicians as having linkage to


President Kolinda turning around brand Croatia

Views - 677 Monday, 6 August 2018 00:00

Even though France won one of the most popular sporting events globally, the FIFA World Cup 2018, the media highlight was Croatian President Kolinda Kitarovic and how the country was led to its first-ever World Cup final by a refugee, Luka Modric.


Top Cola brand crashing globally; lesson for Sri Lanka

Views - 3580 Friday, 20 July 2018 00:00

We have heard the age old adage, if a brand is not in line to the trends of a customer, they will cease to exist over time.


Has Sri Lanka been beaten by Myanmar?

Views - 2871 Thursday, 12 July 2018 00:00

We have heard that the great Lee Kwan Yu wanted Singapore to be like Sri Lanka way back in the sixties. Today, Singapore is a $ 349 billion economy whilst we are at just a quarter of that value at around $ 85 billion.  Then we consider ourselves to


Gaddafi leadership style and ‘disruptive model’ for business

Views - 1012 Thursday, 5 July 2018 00:00

In this era of ‘disruption’, sometimes it’s important to pick people who work against the grain and develop an output that is not seen in the world. Whilst many of us were against this leadership style of Gaddafi, given the global economic fall


Sri Lanka Cricket not helping battered brand Sri Lanka

Views - 684 Thursday, 28 June 2018 00:00

As you may be aware, brand Sri Lanka is under attack with growth dropping to a single digit since 2016 which has been tainted by ‘Governance’ and the drive down of the economic activity that has reached 3.1% in GDP as of Q12018. Governance If we


Strong trade agreements need 30-50 consultations

Views - 328 Wednesday, 20 June 2018 00:00

Coming from a multinational working background, I strongly support free trade given that open competition tends to sharpen


IPL: Start-up to $ 5.3 b in 10 years – Lessons for Sri Lanka

Views - 605 Wednesday, 13 June 2018 00:00

The world of marketing has intrigued me not because I have spent most my life in this profession and managed powerful global brands like Dettol, but I have got the opportunity to lead categories like Ceylon Tea when I served the Sri Lanka Tea Board f


After 9 years: War lessons for GOSL in 2018

Views - 300 Friday, 1 June 2018 00:00

We saw the agitation by certain quarters once again on 18 May wanting to commemorate war heroes from one side


Sri Lankan consumer in trouble?

Views - 993 Tuesday, 15 May 2018 00:00

When Sri Lanka voted in a new government in January 2015, none of us in the private sector thought that we will be faced with today’s tough reality after three years. Whilst many of us are yet positive and optimistic, we must also be practical and


Central Bank to drive compliance of property developers

Views - 1291 Wednesday, 25 April 2018 00:00

Way back in 2009, the country’s economy was just $ 30 billion dollars and as at today, Sri Lanka is almost at three times the value touching $ 85 billion


Move from politics to district development

Views - 218 Tuesday, 3 April 2018 00:00

Last week I was invited to speak to the senior management team of an eminent bank in Sri Lanka on the topic ‘What Sri Lanka must do’. Rather than getting into the rhetoric of Sri Lanka, I thought of focusing on a sample district and then doing a


Googling Sri Lanka today

Views - 559 Tuesday, 27 March 2018 00:00

The other day I received a call from Germany from the Sri Lankan Tourism team attending the premier tourism exhibition ITB. The objective of the call was whether I could support the task of implementing the ‘destination marketing campaign’ for Sr


Strong brands can sustain shocks!

Views - 250 Thursday, 22 March 2018 00:00

The recent media highlighted the impact of communal violence on the tourism industry. The press conference earlier this week threw out a number as high as 10% whilst the actual cancellation was around 500 room nights around the Kandy vicinity was rep


Life without Facebook

Views - 440 Wednesday, 14 March 2018 00:00

Recent media over the weekend has been highlighting the blockage of Facebook and social media networks.


Today's Columnists

Public sector and corruption: Who should be accountable?

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Member of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Neville Guruge said 25% of the 1.5 million public servants in Sri Lanka were corrupt and that their malpractices were going on unchecked due to the lethargic attitude of the


‘Made in Everywhere Except Here’! Dependence of our independence

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Seventy-one years since 4 February 1948 is what our senses had been informed living in this beautiful isle since independence. Over the last 71 years we also have constantly described ourselves as a developing nation. As the day approaches having pla


MMDA and the consequences of adopting JSM submissions

Thursday, 21 February 2019

The MMDA stands for the Muslim Marriages & Divorce Act. The Committee comprises eminent theologians, judges, lawyers and educationalists. Both women and men were appointed as a team to resolve the many challenges faced by the Act. The committee comm


JVP deserves a chance

Thursday, 21 February 2019

However much and in whichever manner one shuffles the pack of cards in Sri Lankan politics, five jokers constantly appear right at the front: an incompetent Ranil Wickremasinghe (RW), a schizophrenic Maithripala Sirisena (MS) and sanctimonious Rajapa


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