“GLX Digital Evolver” shifting the needle for local Hospitality and DMC providers

Good Life X (GLX) in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Sri Lanka – via the ‘GLX Digital Evolver’ programme created phase one [01] change aimed at empowering businesses in Sri Lanka’s Travel & Tourism Sector to evolve digitally.

The three [03] month-long initiative funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) paired ten [10] participants – Gileemalee Retreat, Summer Explorers Pvt Ltd, Eco Grip, The Travel Concierge, Rediscover Sri Lanka, Destroves Travel, Nandana Tea factory, Eco Team – Sri Lanka Pvt Ltd, Infinity Vacations and Jungle Beach Camp – Ahungalla an invaluable opportunity to develop in spite of the pandemic and adapt to the evolving nature of the international travel market by using digital spaces and contemporary tools to expand their businesses.

Participants Insights

Speaking with Director, Eco Grip – Sameera Liyanagamage, stated “Digitalization is a great way to share our story with the world. It’s not just limited to marketing, it opens many pathways and gives perspective on handling basic tasks such as bookings, payments etc.” Prior to the program Liyanagamage and his team were relying on B2B for international tourists; B2C for locals. “We never focused on OTAs and online booking platforms – we hadn’t even understood the value of it – the same could be said for our website as well. The result of us partaking in the program has led us to utilise these digital platforms available to us (such as VIATOR and AirBnb) as well as revamp our website for it to be more than just a placeholder for the brand, but a functioning platform for guest convenience and brand efficiency, as well as sustainable solutions for us to reduce our carbon footprint – where sustainability and preservation is at the heart of what we do, here at Eco Grip.”

For brands such as The Travel Concierge that have been severely affected and nearing closure due to the unprecedented times – the brand partners were in need of a cost-effective and lean model to aid in expansion into new markets, territories and revenue lines. Understanding that the future of tourism is rooted in sustainability and the implementation of digital means to aid in this – Managing Director, The Travel Concierge Pvt Ltd – Laahiru Jayamanne noted “The programme has helped us to create a new revenue stream that allows us to restart in a post-COVID world. The knowledge gained, along with the e-commerce site development will ease our dependency on B2B as we obtain revenue through B2C avenues.”

Where brands such as Jungle Beach, Ahungalla are concerned, whilst the passion and drive were apparent to not only survive but thrive, speaking with the Founder – Barbara Kainz noted “Oh yes, I feel more whole and I saw how much untapped potential the brand had. It was also good to see how the other participants improved, we are sitting at the front always with the actual information on how the Sri Lankan travel industry is moving and handling the situation. I feel very confident that even though we are a small establishment with only four [04] bungalows we are an important part of the industry.”

The results of the ‘GLX Digital Evolver’ Programme are expected to provide participants with a visible edge, having equipped them for the changes expected in the industry.

 

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