Focus on hotels’ financial viability before catchy environment platforms

Monday, 16 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka’s premier Rotary Club – The Rotary Club of Colombo West was addressed by eminent business personality and Board Director on many private and public sector organisations Rohantha Athukorala on the theme ‘Working in Sri Lanka’. A key point shared by the speaker was whilst it can be chic for a hotel property to be positioned on a environmental-friendly platform with catchy slogans like carbon neutral or eco friendly, the reality for Sri Lanka’s hotel chains in the next two years is to be financially viable, especially if you are part of a conglomerate entity, the logic being that many hotels in the industry are struggling on delivering a ROI in line with the rest of the other business sectors and expectations of the shareholders. The major reason is the high cost structure and the low price points that the organisations are compelled to charge due to entrenched competition in the market place with around 26,000 odd hotels rooms at play. The current hotel room stock includes star class hotels, home stays and bungalows that are at a high growth trajectory given that the arrival numbers are exceeding a million tourists recording a growth of over 26% as at end last year. He urged the industry to engage in a stronger private-public dialogue given that a another new 6,700 rooms will come to the Sri Lankan tourism portfolio in the near future which will further add pressure to the selling price of a room.   The tea and apparel industries are a classic example of how effective private-public partnerships have made them take the high ground globally. Sri Lanka apparel is earning the reputation of being an ethical sourcing destination whilst Ceylon Tea has been declared as the 1st ozone friendly tea product. “On each of these initiatives in the last 20 years the journey has been rough and tough but with a strong dialogue the categories are world beaters and the tourism industry must follow suit. In the recent past we see Ceylon Cinnamon making major strides on this front,” emphasised Athukorala. So first get your organisation financially viable and then focus on labelling tags on environment friendly platforms. The President of the Rotary Club- Colombo East Amal Nanayakkara commended the speaker on the comparisons with Narendra Modi’s marketing strategies and the link to the Sri Lankan economy under the theme ‘Working in Sri Lanka,’ which was an interesting analogy given that this is the reality of the world. The Rotary Club of Colombo West boasts some of the high net worth individuals in the country and leading entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka. Every Wednesday the club has a luncheon meeting at the Galadari Roof Top restaurant.