GLIMMER OF HOPE ON THE HORIZON
Q: How critical is the ongoing vaccination programme to your company’s prospects this year?
A: From tourism’s point of view, the vaccination drive is a positive influence; we could even call it the saviour of the industry.
Our prominent markets are Europe, China and India. The possibility of having more adults vaccinated implies greater prospects for the tourism industry, which is why we anticipate a favourable summer this year.
Q: And how do you expect the tourism industry to perform in 2021/22?
A: The past 24 months have been chaotic for tourism. As the industry was on the verge of getting back on its feet last year following the Easter Sunday bombings in 2019, we were confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictive business practices.
However, a glimmer of hope appears on the horizon. We expect more tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka by July. This presents a promising outlook for the hospitality sector and paints an optimistic picture for Jetwing Hotels to look forward to.
Year 2020/21 has impaired the financial standing of businesses tremendously and expecting a miracle immediately would be too unrealistic. However, we believe that with the appropriate business strategy in place, we can break even this year at the very least. For this to happen, it’s crucial to bring all products and services together again, and ensure that our high standards are maintained.
Q: What are the main challenges that corporates face at this time?
A: Fear is ruling people in the present times – be it on a personal or professional front. Gone are the times when we could greet our loved ones with a hug and kiss or conduct face-to-face meetings.
These days, we are limited to expressing our warmth and hospitality with a mere ‘Ayubowan,’ and that too from a safe distance from each other. People are scared to travel and stay in the company of others.
Therefore, the challenge for corporates is rebuilding confidence among people. This will hasten our return to normal life. The success of the vaccination programme can help reduce this fear among the general public.
Another challenge lies in the financial aspect of buying decisions. Since most economies have been severely affected by the pandemic, disposable incomes are lower. This acts as a hindrance to the tourism industry.