Rohantha Athukorala

Tourism: Issues Sri Lanka is facing are similar to Japan

Views - 695 Wednesday, 30 August 2017 00:00

After having engaged the tourism industry for the last 10 years at operational and policy level, one thing is very evident in Sri Lanka. Everybody is an expert in developing the tourism industry of Sri Lanka, be it a cab driver to parking attendant.


Sri Lanka must move from politics to business

Views - 1454 Thursday, 17 August 2017 00:14

Last week, the Yahapalana Government, which came on the promise of good governance and weeding out corruption, had its first blow, when a senior minister and deputy leader of the party had to resign over allegations of corruption. Whils


Sri Lanka cannot afford another terrorism backlash

Views - 1457 Thursday, 10 August 2017 00:01

The other day when the news emerged that forms of terrorism were emerging with sporadic attacks in the Jaffna peninsula, the first that that crossed my mind was Sri Lanka which is having a debt of almost 56 billion dollars cannot take ano


Sri Lanka must follow Pakistan’s IMF reform model

Views - 1684 Wednesday, 2 August 2017 00:00

Research reveals that a country’s image has a positive correlation on inward investment, adding value to exports of a country and attracting quality tourists whilst having a positive impact on skilled migrants.  Whilst China remains a


Sri Lanka badly needs global marketing campaign now

Views - 1356 Wednesday, 19 July 2017 00:00

Global growth 6% Destinations globally registered 369 million international visitors during the period January to April 2017 with an incremental volume of 21 million travellers registering a growth of 6%, states a latest release of the UN


Why the 150-year party for Ceylon Tea?

Views - 3149 Thursday, 13 July 2017 00:00

 The estate workers were not involved in last week’s tea party, nor for that matter were the tea planters who burned the midnight oil to make this turnaround a success story which does not hold in good stead for the industry – Pic


Modi mantra might help in marketing Sri Lanka

Views - 2376 Wednesday, 5 July 2017 00:00

While the US President continues to agitate the world with his out-of-the-box decisions that have resulted in his approval rating dropping to a low of 36%, Indian President Narendra Modi gave him a bear hub which sure shook the world.  Know


ICC cricketing lessons for Sri Lankan economy

Views - 2691 Tuesday, 27 June 2017 00:00

     It has been proven over time how sports strategies can be used by many other disciplines. An eagerly anticipated event on the cricketing calendar was the ICC Champions Trophy. An underdog in terms of its rank we


SL business leaders: Focus on emotional maturity

Views - 2872 Tuesday, 20 June 2017 00:00

  Rough 2017 When the new Government came into power two years back, the private sector was upbeat on the future. But sadly, we see the country losing its competitiveness on exports, tourism and FDIs due to poor policy deci


Political marketing gone wrong – Lesson for SL

Views - 2763 Tuesday, 13 June 2017 00:02

We have seen the world going crazy on some of the decisions that have been taken by the most powerful seat in the world – the President of the United States. Starting from the initial travel ban decision that created an uproar from the Musli


What is happening to brand Sri Lanka?

Views - 4526 Tuesday, 30 May 2017 00:07

It’s strange but brand Sri Lanka has been under attack for the last two years. Overall exports have declined by 5% in 2015, then again by 2% in 2016. The total FDIs have declined in 2016 in the midst of the global pool expanding, which does


Lessons from the war with LTTE after 8 years: Implications for the Government

Views - 3861 Tuesday, 23 May 2017 00:00

 War and business have many similarities. The issue is to have marketing-oriented policies     On 19 May we celebrated eight years since the cessation of hostilities with the LTTE. My mind goes back to the ti


Paradise threatened; 11.1% GDP contribution by tourism

Views - 4027 Tuesday, 16 May 2017 00:01

    Over the weekend I was honoured to listen to my teacher from Harvard, Professor Matt Andrew’s lecture to the Masters in tourism students of Colombo University. He voiced that if not for the tourism industry Sri


SOV = SOM = Share of market

Views - 4529 Thursday, 4 May 2017 00:08

  In marketing, we work on a model that if we increase the Share of Voice (SOV) in the market place by increasing the marketing spend, it will have a direct link to the Share of Mind (SOM) of the target consumer grou


10 key challenges for an MBA CEO of today

Views - 6184 Tuesday, 4 April 2017 00:00

  Over the weekend I was invited to address the final year MBA graduates of a premier university in Sri Lanka, the Colombo University, at their residential workshop. The topic was ‘Key Challenges of Sri Lanka for a Youn


Sri Lankan housewife further challenged

Views - 5421 Tuesday, 28 March 2017 00:00

    Whilst Sri Lanka at the macro end is grappling to pay the $ 15 billion debt in the next four years, private sector and civil society is pressuring the Government to bring in structured reforms and stronger governance


Brand Trump faltering; lessons for Sri Lanka

Views - 5271 Wednesday, 22 March 2017 00:18

In a typical marketing situation when a brand loses its appeal in the target market, a deep dive is done and there after the brand is re-launched after correcting the product offering or any other element of the marketing mix.  For instance


SL heading for tough times; exports drop 2.8%, FMCG growth halved

Views - 5539 Wednesday, 15 March 2017 00:00

The other day when the Prime Minister mentioned that Sri Lanka needs to honour debt payments to the value of $ 15 billion during the next four years, it sure shook Sri Lanka. This was in the backdrop of IMF apparently advising the Government that


7 things Sri Lankan consumers say

Views - 6623 Wednesday, 8 March 2017 00:00

Whilst the world is experiencing volatility fuelled by the drastic decisions taken by US President Donald Trump, Sri Lanka is grappling with fiscal, political and corruption issues that are tainting the good work of the current Government. 


Philippine lessons for Sri Lanka tourism and economy

Views - 6551 Tuesday, 28 February 2017 00:00

  There has been a continuous debate on evaluating the impact of tourism on a country’s economy. Sri Lanka in particular has grown from $ 500 million in 2009 to $ 4,000 million currently in 2016 which indicates the powe


Is Trump destroying $ 19.7 t brand USA?

Views - 6161 Thursday, 16 February 2017 00:00

Tourism and exports are key pillars in the US, being a 19.7 trillion dollar brand. Seen here are US President Donald Trump and his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn     Many people are not aw


What have we done to ‘Brand Sri Lanka’?

Views - 6164 Tuesday, 31 January 2017 00:00

  Sri Lanka as a brand is valued at $ 80 billion and is poised to be $ 100 billion in 2017     Last week’s revelation of Sri Lanka certainly made many of us who love this country not very proud


Corporate Sri Lanka needs to be emotionally wealthy

Views - 5756 Tuesday, 17 January 2017 00:00

 Emotional maturity needs conscious training with self-evaluation        Rough 2017 Sri Lanka is currently challenged with a very rough business economy with the stock market reeling for t


What happened to the most powerful brand in 2016?

Views - 6039 Tuesday, 10 January 2017 00:00

    In my view one of the most talked about events of 2016 was the US Presidential Elections. The market share of the two candidates kept rolling in the forties and the final tally resulted in Clinton garnering 64.7 milli


Sri Lanka heading for an agricultural issue in 2017?

Views - 8469 Tuesday, 3 January 2017 00:00

A labour force of almost 2.6 million serves the agricultural sector in Sri Lanka      2016 performance – 4% GDP Let’s accept it, the performance of Sri Lanka in 2016 was rather mediocre


Brilliant companies are brilliant at the basics

Views - 5941 Tuesday, 6 December 2016 00:02

Top research company AC Nielsen last week announced that the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) had picked up from a downward trend. But challenges to the consumer remain given that the economy grew by a modest 2.6% in the backdrop of the drought and


Trump’s marketing strategist

Views - 7873 Tuesday, 29 November 2016 00:02

  Every time the world turns to elections I personally take the learning mode, given that the best techniques in marketing comes into play, challenging conventional procedures. On this perspective, the US election 2016 was a case stud


Tea: where do we go from here?

Views - 5766 Tuesday, 22 November 2016 00:02

The recent Budget proposal that the ownership of tea would be restricted to 5,000 acres sure surprised the privatised tea industry of Sri Lanka. Though a privatised business of the industry generates only 35% of the total production of the country


Will Budget 2017 achieve inclusive growth?

Views - 5671 Wednesday, 16 November 2016 00:01

  The Sri Lanka Budget 2017 has come into play at a time when the world is being challenged with the appointment of a new President in the United States which led to a nosedive in the stock markets around the world whilst at home ther


Sri Lanka worth $ 74 billion but impact of CBSL Bond scandal?

Views - 6178 Tuesday, 1 November 2016 00:10

In the recent Brand Finance release on the value of a nation, Sri Lanka registered a 74 billion dollar value at a commanding growth of 9% as at the 2016 report. However, the good news got wiped away last week when the cutting-edge COPE report on t


Today's Columnists

Deep design to the rescue: Solving wicked problems of the future

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Let me begin by stating a controversial opinion: our contemporary lives are defined by 200 years of dehumanisation. From the time of the industrial revolution, the nature of work and labour has changed dramatically. The relationship between man and


Exporting bras with imported fibre!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

In a recent World Bank publication, ‘South Asia’s Turn,’ two Sri Lankan organisations – MAS from apparel and Dilmah from agribusiness – receive recognition as global champions. While Dilmah is in control of its value chain and that was its


The Opposition’s 20th Amendment dilemmas

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

It’s the arithmetic, stupid! A no-confidence motion against the Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan, is logical and legitimate


Sri Lanka: May Day and workers’ rights

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

May Day was declared a holiday in Sri Lanka in 1956 for the Government sector, bank and mercantile sectors.


Columnists More