Colombo, Jan 19 (NIA) – Colombo’s 5 star hotel occupancy has seen a positive growth since 2015, with a rise in the number of leisure and business travelers, a leading hotelier said here on Thursday.
Padmi Fernando, Director of Sales and Marketing at the newly opened luxurious Movenpick Hotel in the Sri Lankan capital said that the island’s tourism industry was headed towards a positive direction and if a strong long term marketing plan is adopted, tourism was set to boom.
She further said during the final three months of last year, 5 star hotel occupancy grew to around 80 percent, making the year end on a high note.
“Sri Lanka Tourism is going in the right direction. It is very positive. Last year ended with an overall 14 percent growth in tourist arrivals. Certain markets have shown tremendous potential in volumes and growth. Countries with smaller tourism arrivals has also shown a positive growth. France, Australia China, India all these markets have grown,” Fernando said in an interview with NewsIn.Asia.
With Sri Lanka’s tourism industry being heavily scarred by a 30 year civil conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels, which ended in May 2009, Padmi said Sri Lanka was now considered as a safe destination which is why many travelers chose to visit here.
She added that the Colombo Port City, presently under construction and mega projects also under discussions, Colombo was poised to become a financial city which would help attract long term business traffic.
“This would benefit all the hotels in the city. Colombo is becoming an urban city and very soon we are going to see a lot of changes. However it is very important that we have a long term marketing plan if our tourism numbers are going to grow further,” Padmi said.
Sri Lanka has, in recent years seen a rise in Millennial tourists who are typically defined as young adults born after the early 1980s.
Millennial travelers has seen a rise wold wide, and Padmi said the government must put in place unique marketing plans to attract such travelers.
Movenpick Hotel, which opened its doors to the public on Jan 16, is the first 5 star hotel to be constructed in the Sri Lankan capital after 25 years.
The 219 room hotel is also the first Swiss Hotel to be opened in Sri Lanka.
Standing 120 meters in height very close to the Indian Ocean, and located in the heart of the city, the hotel consists of 24 floors, and includes 5 unique restaurants. It also offers a world class spa and a breathtaking roof top pub/restaurant and an infinity pool with a view of Colombo city and the Indian Ocean.
The hotel will also very soon open the first classic French hotel restaurant, ‘Brasserie’ which will provide the highest quality authentic French food.
Movenpick Hotel is also located close to other upcoming world class hotels which will open in Colombo in the coming few years, along with the existing 5 star hotels.
When questioned if this would create stiff competition, Padmi said all these hotels would cater to different markets and provide their own unique experience.
“We are all very excited that these brands are coming into the country. I believe it also helps all of us to sustain our businesses and grow. With global brands entering the country, it lifts up Sri Lanka as a destination. It also makes Sri Lanka much more interesting. It is good to have healthy competition as we all would be more efficient and we will come up with strategies to be future proof,” Padmi said.
With India and China being the leading markets with the most number of tourist arrivals, Movenpick Hotel has also put in place strategies to attract travelers from these destinations.
In addition, the world class brand which is popular in Europe, is also confident in attracting European tourists visiting Sri Lanka.
Get to Know Padmi Fernando, Director of Sales and Marketing, Movenpick Hotel
Padmi brings with her a vast experience in the field of sales & marketing, spanning 15 years in the hospitality industry and 9 years of that in Senior Management Roles with Taj Hotels Sri Lanka, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts and the Trans Asia Hotel. Her main professional qualifications include an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business and a Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK. Padmi has been involved in re-branding & re-positioning of hotels during her long career but her first pre-opening experience had been with the current role which she claims as the most rewarding and a very unique experience considering that it is the first five star international hotel to open in Colombo after 25 years. She is an ardent fan of dogs and loves yoga, travelling and enjoys experimenting her palate with good food!