Sri Lanka Tourism, Australia's MDF to develop 5-year plan to transform tourism research

Sri Lanka Tourism, Australia's MDF to develop 5-year plan to transform tourism research

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and Australia’s Market Development Facility (MDF) have joined hands to develop a research roadmap to facilitate Sri Lanka’s position as Asia’s foremost tourism destination. The roadmap will pave the way for better understanding of the visitors who come to Sri Lanka and assist the public and private sectors in making evidence-based decisions and investments in tourism. This is the first time a thorough analysis has been undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of the data collection efforts by SLTDA and its usage.

SLTDA identified the need for better quality data and research to improve the strategic direction of Sri Lanka’s tourism sector, in line with the goals set in Sri Lanka’s Tourism Strategic Plan.

“SLTDA’s goal is to identify a diverse range of tourists, tourism services and products that would make Sri Lanka a top tourism destination globally” noted Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism. “As the primary agency for the collection, analysis and publishing of tourism related data, our goal is to use this roadmap to upgrade SLTDA’s research capacities and practices to identify opportunities for new investments, promotions and policy.”

Through support provided by MDF, the flagship private sector development program for the Australian government, an international consultancy will work closely with SLTDA to examine current research frameworks and practices and conduct a gap analysis. Based on this, a five-year roadmap focused on improving tourism data collection, analysis and usage will be developed. The roadmap identifies a series of steps to be implemented over the next five years which would bring the capability of Sri Lanka Tourism to the standards adopted by leading tourism destinations globally.

Australia’s engagement in this study is part of its broader support to the Sri Lankan tourism industry, through MDF, which is funded by the Australian Government and implemented by

Palladium, in partnership with Swisscontact. In the past, Australia has extended support to SLTDA in increasing its research capability through facilitating a study tour for SLTDA staff with Tourism Research Australia (TRA).

“By harnessing data and research, decisions on promotion and investments can be based on evidence and the returns on investments and marketing can be tracked and measured, thus offering greater value to the public and private sectors” stated MDF Sri Lanka Country Director, Momina Saqib.

With the implementation of the five year research road map Sri Lanka Tourism and the tourism industry fraternity will be strategically benefitted with data driven, informed decision making which will assist them with target marketing while enabling higher ROI for resources and investments. Further the initiative is expected to assist the national tourism organisation (NTO) and the industry stakeholders adapt effectively to the new normal of the global travel and tourism industry.