Tourism sector Transportation needs facelift says top hotelier | Sunday Observer

Tourism sector Transportation needs facelift says top hotelier


Branding it as ‘You name it, the island has it’ General Manager Movenpick Hotel Colombo, George Koumendakos said Sri Lanka has a wonderful offering from cold climates to sandy beaches with amazing food.

In an interview with the Sunday Observer, George said the tourism industry in Sri Lanka is picking up fairly well each year and that the stakeholders are doing their best to promote the destination. However, he also notes that providing a facelift to transportation will be a fillip to the tourism industry in the country.

Excerpts of the interview

Q: How do you see the potential for growth in the tourism industry in Sri Lanka?

A: I feel that tourism has been picking up fairly well every year in Sri Lanka. I have been in Sri Lanka for a few months now and during this time I have noticed that this country has a wonderful offering.

From cold climates to the sandy beaches to some amazing food, it suits tourists who are interested in anything George Koumendakos and everything.

From luxury travel, business, shopping, backpacking, adventure - you name it, the island has it. I think the Ministry of Tourism is working well by promoting the “destination” and moving further with the digital age like bloggers and Instagrammers who showcase the country worldwide.

Q: What are your observations to improve the industry?

A: It’s a fast paced industry - both tourism and hospitality that go hand in hand. I feel that the transportation system can be further improved especially to encourage tourists to experience the locality.

With new infrastructure and road development, in the years to come, perhaps getting to cities like Jaffna or the East Coast can be faster and this will directly influence the industry we are in. As a hotelierI also feel that the offerings we bring need to continuously change and further improve. Hotels need to cater to all segments from business to leisure to even families to encourage more visitors.

Q: What makes Movenpick stand out from the rest of the city hotels in the country?

A: When Mövenpick Hotel Colombo entered the city, we were the first five star property to launch in 25 years which made us stand out. In addition, during the first year in operation, we were awarded as Sri Lanka’s Leading Business Hotel by the South Asian Travel Awards 2017 (SATA) as well as Sri Lanka’s Leading Hotel by the World Travel Awards.

We believe in making moments. Even though we are a business hotel, we have so much more to offer. Take our food and beverage offerings for example. It’s a theatrical experience with action stations, flaring bartenders and unique food promotions like the Swiss Week, Bistronomie and a lot more. We cater to families with a great Mövenpick Family Program offering special menus for kids, our brunch even has a dedicated kids corner.

We also believe that a lot of travellers are quite enthusiastic about fitness.

Our go healthy menu is available in all outlets and special gestures like healthy shots go a long way. So in the food and beverage sector I believe we have made a vast difference.

Q: What are your plans to develop the property?

A: Well, there’s a lot going this year and it’s very exciting. We have a fully equipped fitness center on the 23rd floor which we will be opening out to the public shortly. Our panoramic rooftop bar Vistas will be changing as well with some new exciting interior where we will give it a whole new look and feel and which will create a whole new and exciting experience, we are introducing a new meeting space along with brain stations to make it a lot more interactive and you will see more changes in our F&B outlets as we are keen to offer interesting and innovative concepts to our valued guests!

The Mansion which used to be an exclusive members only lounge is now open to the public as well with a great response so far so we have a lot of changes happening this year. It’s all about making sure we are ahead of the game in this fast paced competitive industry!

Q: What would be the investment and the time lines for completion of the program?

A: Well, our owning company Softlogic has been supportive with all of our ideas and I must say we are absolutely thankful.

Some of them are not really major changes and are already ongoing. Some require some more work to be done and we hope to have these projects done in the coming months.