- Following completion of the program, biggest transformation witnessed was 35% increase in overall digital capabilities
- From 10 participant brands who completed the program, highest increase in capabilities recorded since start of program was 54%
- Service providers and operators now have higher potential to attract ‘post pandemic’ travelers and contribute to industry growth with opening of borders
Good Life X (GLX) announced the successful completion of the 12+ week ‘GLX Digital Evolver’ program which began in May 2021. The program was aimed at empowering businesses in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism sector to evolve digitally.
The three month-long initiative, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Sri Lanka, announced the closure of the program via an online event involving the 10 participant brands and 10 digital and travel and tourism experts.
The final event welcomed guest speaker, RETRACE Hospitality Founder Chalana Perera, who specialises in positive-impact advisory and regenerative hotel development to share his expert insights with the participants and viewers and recapped programme highlights and features from the host of experts and participants, including key insights for the industry.
The Good Life X Founder/CEO Randhula de Silva noted: “The program was built to support sustainably focused entrepreneurs in the travel and tourism sector in Sri Lanka; not only to assist them to build back their businesses but to make them future proof, by making them more digitally equipped and savvy. Coming out of the pandemic, future travellers will be more digitally attuned to their user behaviour. It is apparent that in order to forge forward and grow as the country reopens, technology for this sector is a must. We’re pleased that the outcome of the programme has resulted in sustainable business objectives, digital marketing strategies and tools, system optimization and channel management strategies to assist these businesses to not just survive, but to thrive in the coming months and years as our nation continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented times we are facing, as a result of this.”
The results of the program saw brands such as Rediscover becoming one of the first companies in Sri Lanka to integrate TrekkSoft, an online booking software system. In addition, participants such as Infinity Vacations created ‘That’s a Holiday’ brand, which caters to the millennial and Gen-Z traveller and offers a 24/7 online itinerary building service; and following a rapid re-branding campaign, Gileemale was able to elevate the online presence for their centuries-old property to adapt to the needs of the modern traveller.
Concluding, de Silva stated: “The outcomes of a 12-week effort is extraordinary, thanks to the resilient and adaptable nature of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs. Our work is aimed to build bridges not only between technology and traditional sectors but also to establish strong connections to our untapped abundance and inherent wisdom where the economy can grow through restoration and regeneration as opposed to short term ill-planned extractive and destructive approaches.”
The GLX Digital Evolver program concluded having changed the trajectory of the 10 finalist brands – Gileemalee Retreat, Summer Explorers Ltd., Eco Grip, The Travel Concierge, Rediscover Sri Lanka, Destroves Travel, Nandana Tea factory, Eco Team – Sri Lanka Ltd., Infinity Vacations and Jungle Beach Camp – Ahungalla.
The brands received an invaluable opportunity to develop their collateral, sustainability practices, business efficiencies, operations and services, in spite of the pandemic, adapting to the evolving nature of the international travel market by using digital spaces and contemporary tools to expand their businesses.