The Kingsbury Hotel Colombo & Amaya resorts and spas recently conducted a well-attended 4-city roadshow in India. The focus was on tier-1 cities, among them Chandigarh. This foray comes at the back of a stellar growth in the Indian outbound numbers to the Sri Lankan shores. According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), India continued to be Sri Lanka’s top source market with 384,628 arrivals (up 7.8 per cent) in 2017 and that it will breach 4,50,000 mark in 2018 is a serious possibility. In an exclusive interaction with BITB, Amanda Weeraratne – General Manager, Sales & Marketing, The Kingsbury Columbo, Sri Lanka & Amaya Resorts & Spas shared an overview of trends in the Indian market and hotel group’s USP for Indian guests.

Amanda Weeraratne
General Manager – Sales Marketing
The Kingsbury, Colombo – Sri Lanka

What has been the learning curve from the four-city roadshow? What were some insights from the travel agent fraternity?

The roadshow was extremely successful. The Kingsbury and Amaya Resorts received excellent feedback and mileage from 4 city roadshows.

Although the flagship brand Kingsbury was known in all 4 cities Amaya Resorts & Spas require extended brand awareness to penetrate the Indian market. Amaya has to create a big impact and needs make its mark with the travel agent fraternity.

With Sri Lanka looked at as one of the top places for destination weddings, Amaya has three main resorts (namely Amaya Beach Pasikudah, Amaya Lake Dambulla and Amaya Hills Kandy), that can host and accommodate big Indian wedding parties.

The road show has focused on cities like Chandigarh – which seems interesting. In terms of specifics, which areas/cities drive the maximum traffic for your hotel group?

As for our city property, the Kingsbury Colombo, the majority of traffic comes from tier-1 cities such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai, since most people are travelling for business, gaming and leisure. For our resort brand Amaya, the traffic is mostly leisure-centric and generated through all tier-1 cities.

We know that India is the number one source country for tourists into Sri Lanka. While the focus may be multi-pronged, we understand that the leisure segment forms a vast majority of the Indian footfalls. How has the trend been in 2018?

Sri Lanka has seen a steady increase of 3% Y-O-Y from the Indian market out of which the Kingsbury Colombo and Amaya Resorts & Spas has seen a growth of 8% and 5% respectively.

Indian weddings are increasingly becoming an important segment. How integral is the segment to your India outreach?

Although all our hotels and resorts have the capacity to accommodate large Indian wedding ceremonies, preferred locations would be Amaya Resorts & Spas properties, due to its scenic locations.

The resorts plan everything according to the client’s need. From special food requirements (where if you need to bring your own chef down and get them to cook those special meals, we can accommodate that too), to decorating the place (be it an aisle according to your culture) to providing traditional attire (if you want to mix and match traditions), and so much more.

What is the Hotel group’s USP and what differentiates you from the rest?

We are known for our excellent service, unique locations, culinary experiences, and creating unforgettable holiday memories for guests.

Each of our resort is located in the most scenic and iconic location and has a story to tell. Be it by the soft sandy beaches, the cool climes, or even getting lost in the rich culture, our resorts take the time to make sure that guests experience all of it when they are there with us.