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An Elephant Orphanage and a Buddhist Temple - All in a Day's Work

1st November 2017

Categories: Our News

Managing Director of New Mind | tellUs UK, Richard Veal has just returned from a fascinating visit to Sri Lanka where he was guest of honour at the 5th International Conference on Hospitality and Tourism Management in Colombo.

In keeping with the spirit of knowledge exchange, the event is a showcase for tourism industry best practice, bringing together industry leaders, educators, researchers and scholars from around the world and providing the ideal opportunity for New Mind | tellUs to spread the word about their e-tourism expertise. 

Richard was asked to open the conference by lighting a ceremonial lamp, a ritual which has a significant social, cultural and religious role in the lives of Sri Lankans.

Richard's keynote presentation covered the dramatic changes that have occurred over the last few years in the way travellers plan and book their holidays, the rise of the Millennials sector and the shift in demand from possessions to experiences and the need for DMOs to adopt smarter strategies in order to achieve success.  

Some interesting research findings were unveiled on the impact of tourism in poor rural areas and the need for destinations to adopt sustainable solutions.  The use of imagery by destinations in their marketing media was explored and the need for DMOs to use honest, representative imagery to create a positive impact on consumers' perceptions.  

A study tour followed, commencing with a visit to Kandy, a large city in Central Sri Lanka, set on a plateau surrounded by mountains.  The city is famed for its many sacred Buddhist sites including the Temple of the Tooth where Sri Lanka's most important Buddhist relic, said to have belonged to the Lord Buddha himself, is housed in a heavily guarded room.

Richard then went on to visit a tea plantation where he had the opportunity to see how the world-renowned Ceylon tea, one of Sri Lanka's primary exports, is made and dried using traditional methods.  A visit to an Elephant Orphanage gave Richard the chance to get close to the animals and find out how the organisation works to protect abandoned, injured or orphaned elephants.

Reflecting on the trip, Richard commented, "In an era of globalisation which has more often than not resulted in a largely homogenised visitor experience, it is refreshing to chance upon a destination that has a genuinely unique tourism offer. Every day in Sri Lanka gave rise to something surprising that you wanted to photograph or share and I have found myself talking animatedly about the trip ever since I returned.

Although Sri Lanka is still a developing country and it is barely 10 years since the end of the civil war, it has made great strides in positioning itself as a bucket list destination for the adventurous traveller. Hosting a forward thinking Tourism Conference such as ICOHT is a sign of its ambition and I predict that both the conference and the destination will go from strength to strength.

In particular I would like to thank The International Institute of Knowledge Management (www.tiikm.com) for their excellent organisational skills and making sure that both speakers and delegates achieved the maximum benefit from the conference."

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