Compiled by Dona Senara


Dinesh Kumara explains how Industry 4.0 can attract visitors to Sri Lanka

Q: As a travel sector entrepreneur, what do you envision for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry over the next 12 months?

A: I believe it has immense potential for growth and success. With 4.9 billion internet users representing around 63 percent of the global population, there is great opportunity to reach a huge pool of potential tourists who are eager to explore new destinations through the internet .

Our travel sector continues to grow with an estimated 1.5 million international tourist arrivals expected annually going forward and projections for further growth. Sri Lanka offers a unique and diverse range of tourism experiences that can captivate and entice even the most well travelled tourists.

Moreover, the island boasts a rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes and breathtaking natural beauty, which makes it a prime holiday destination for visitors of all ages with varied interests.

From ancient ruins and temples, to pristine beaches and wildlife, Sri Lanka has so much to offer everyone. Travellers who are interested in history and culture can visit Sigiriya’s rock fortress or the Sri Dalada Maligawa; and adventure seekers can explore the lush hills and tea plantations or enjoy a wildlife safari in the Yala National Park.

And for those looking to relax, the sandy beaches and clear waters of Unawatuna and Mirissa are perfect for soaking up the sun, and cooling off in the sea.

To maximise its potential, Sri Lanka must have a content marketing strategy that is well executed. By doing so, the country has the potential to convert 1.5 million prospective travellers into corresponding bookings and help promote tourism within its borders.

With the right approach, the island can become a popular and much sought-after holiday destination for tourists from around the world.

Q: Is enough being done in terms of leveraging technology to enable Sri Lanka to realise its projections for tourist arrivals?

A: There’s great potential for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry to thrive in the digital age. As the world continues to embrace new technology however, the industry is at the crossroads.

Industry 4.0 is rapidly changing the way we travel and experience new destinations. Therefore, Sri Lanka should keep pace with and utilise the latest technology to showcase its diverse range of tourism experiences.

Though it is a prime holiday destination, the island has yet to effectively communicate its unique selling points to the world. The lack of a well executed content strategy is hindering the country’s ability to attract tourists and achieve its full potential.

Imagine being able to explore the lush jungles of Sri Lanka through virtual reality (VR) or experience the vibrant colours of a traditional dance performance using augmented reality (AR). The potential for using technology to enhance the tourism experience in Sri Lanka is enormous; but without the right content strategy, these experiences will remain nothing more than a dream.

By implementing a content strategy that leverages the latest technology, the nation can attract more tourists and establish itself as a leading holiday destination.

Q: In your view, what needs to be done to improve our tourism industry – especially with regard to harnessing technology?

A: Sri Lanka needs to attract more tourists by showcasing what it has to offer the world.

The island has plenty of rich and diverse destinations with an abundance of local experiences that are waiting to be discovered. Therefore, all we need to do is highlight the country’s distinctive offering, which is where a comprehensive digital strategy comes into play.

High quality 4K videos, AR and VR content, photography, blogs, vlogs and travel influencer marketing are some of the tools that Sri Lanka can use to highlight its popular tourist attractions, cultural events and local experiences.

By using a variety of different media, the country can reach a broader audience and effectively communicate its message to potential tourists.

A well planned digital strategy that utilises multiple platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and TikTok can reach a wider audience. These platforms provide an excellent opportunity to showcase Sri Lanka’s offering in a creative and engaging way, and inspire prospective tourists to spend their next holiday in this beautiful country.

But that’s not all…

To truly stand out in a competitive market, Sri Lanka must also focus on creating an immersive and interactive experience for potential tourists by using Industry 4.0 technology. This can be achieved by incorporating VR and AR in our digital strategy, and enabling potential tourists to experience the country’s offerings before they book their holidays.

A comprehensive digital strategy that leverages the latest technology and utilises multiple platforms is essential for promoting Sri Lanka as a top holiday destination.

By highlighting its popular tourist attractions, cultural events and local experiences, the country can attract and inspire more tourists to book their next vacation here – and help it reach its full potential as a leading tourist destination.

The interviewee is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Niwadu Deals, Travelverse and InspireX.