Ceylon Travel Consultancy is said to be Sri Lanka’s first sales and marketing hotel representation company. Established this year, they offer various strategic business solutions for hotels, resorts, and villas located in the country. Currently, their target source market is India, which they achieved by implementing strategic and engaging campaigns.
The Managing Director Shanith Jayalath has over 10 years of international hospitality experience in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He has experience managing different roles within hotels, such as operations, event management, and business development, which has propelled him to take the reins of Ceylon Travel Consultancy. Jayalath’s most recent role was managing nine beach and city hotel clusters for Jumeirah Group by developing India and subcontinent markets for FIT (free independent traveller), MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions), and destination weddings. He has played a key role planning and strategising in order to drive substantial revenue to all the properties, while developing the brand in the Indian market. His experience alone brings over 15 years of comprehensive sales experience to the company.
Ceylon Travel Consultancy recently tied up with Singh Consultancy and Destination Venture to gauge and facilitate the market in India, especially Mumbai and Delhi. Commencing this month, February 2021, Singh Consultancy and Destination Venture plays a vital role in executing all trade, marketing, and communication activities undertaken by Ceylon Travel Consultancy.
Sri Lanka-India partnership
Speaking to Jayalth on this venture, he commented: “We mainly specialise in bridging the Indian travel market to Sri Lanka, because India is the number one travel market because of the short distance, and it is a neighbouring country.” He stated that they see potential in India, so they promote the Indian market and bring new clients and partners from India to Sri Lanka.
“We bring exclusivity by taking their brand and putting it on the map,” he said, adding that they write press releases, do the marketing from their social media platforms, and most importantly, use the sales funnel to generate leads and get business activities like destination weddings and travel.
Jayalath noted that there is no company in Sri Lanka which is registered for this niche. “I have my team who works with me in Dubai, who are currently working for me with our Indian partnership. I do all the contracting and put a strategy in place in order to drive business from India to Sri Lanka.” With this venture, he aims to open up job opportunities in the travel trade and offer something new for our people in Sri Lanka.
Speaking about the challenges behind obtaining this partnership, Jayalath added that hotel representation is a new concept for the majority of the hotel industry, so it is not very well known. “We have to do a lot of groundwork to explain and understand how we work as a company itself. There’s a lot of phone conversations that we could not do in person, which limits our ability to pitch our market value.”
Jayalth stated: “We bring a completely new prospect view in terms of strategising to the market, and we believe, with all the support that we can get from the Sri Lanka Tourism and from the hoteliers, we will be able to open to a niche market of philanthropists.” He observed that in the future, beautiful five-star, upscale resorts will come up in Sri Lanka, and noted that we already have wildlife, and five-star properties surrounding wildlife parks, beaches, mountains, and many aspects that can cater to any traveller. “This venture is going to help with growth, not only in terms of travel, but for global companies, transport companies, and also the retail business.
“The reason I promote Sri Lanka as a travel destination is purely because when you look at it as a country, you have everything; you have the beach, you have the mountains, you have the water activities – it’s a beautiful island, an iconic destination.” He added that usually, when a foreigner visits, it’s to shop or to hike, but Sri Lanka can offer many more adventures like surfing, walking through tea plantations, and hiking, thus making it the ideal tourism hotspot.
Jayalath commented that this is their first big project: “We are trying to tie up with the Sri Lanka Tourism department, and we want to bring top travel agents to Sri Lanka as soon as the travel bubble has been signed up for. We are already in discussions with them on how we are going to take it further.”
Their primary target for 2021 will be to promote Sri Lanka to a major-scale market in India: “If you look at India, they are one of the top source markets for Dubai, Thailand, and Singapore.” He observed that in countries like the Maldives, there are limited options other than the beach, and in countries like Dubai, it’s aimed towards shopping and buildings. “Sri Lanka, aside from our adventures, also has a very rich history and cultural sites to visit. So, our main objective is to promote the country as the ultimate travel destination and get as many travellers as possible to visit us.”