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‘We are looking at growing the businesses in India substantially’

Despite the current economic situation in Sri Lanka, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts is upbeat about ensuing stability. Christian Pertl, Chief Commercial Officer, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts in an interaction with TravelBiz Monitor spoke about the importance of the Indian market for the hotel group, and their marque project, Cinnamon Life Integrated Resort.

Q. Given the current situation in Sri Lanka, how does Cinnamon view the opportunity in present and future?
Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts is the largest hotel group in Sri Lanka; we currently have 15 hotels amongst our various hotel brands. 11 of those hotels are in Sri Lanka and 4 are in Maldives. We have a strong footprint in the Indian Ocean area, and therefore the Indian market is important to us. Over the years, the outbound from India has grown and we are according a larger focus on the Indian market, especially with the upcoming developments.

Unfortunately, the current situation in Sri Lanka is not conducive to tourism. However, we are confident that things will get back to normal soon. A lot of countries pre and post Covid have gone through their troubles, and Sri Lanka is no exception. Prior to pandemic we have dealt with wars, and now the economic crisis. We are optimistic that we will tide over this crisis in due course. As far as Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts is concerned, we are absolutely ready once the market opens.

Q. What is your strategy for the Indian market?
Currently, our focus is very much on the Indian market. After a long time, we are establishing presence in the Indian market. We are opening sales offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. It will be a full-fledged Cinnamon Sales team servicing the Indian market from the trade and consumer perspective. Our Indian office will be headed by Ms Shaista Khan, an experienced hospitality professional, especially in Sales and Marketing. We are looking at growing the businesses in India substantially along with trade connect, and are considering doing roadshows in India later this year when the Sri Lankan market opens. We are looking at strategic partnerships with existing as well as new Indian carriers, while we enjoy a robust partnership with SriLankan Airlines.

Q. Which segments in India are your key focus areas?
At Cinnamon we focus on all kinds of travellers. However, our focus has grown on family vacationers, MICE travellers and more recently weddings. Just before the pandemic, we hosted a Cinnamon Weddings Showcase where we hosted wedding planners and event managers from the Indian market. While vacationers are important, MICE has been our major focus.

Q. WHow do see your marque project Cinnamon Life being a game changer?
Cinnamon Life will be a mixed used development project in Colombo with residential homes, F&B outlets and a large hotel of 800 rooms. This would be the largest hotel inventory in Sri Lanka. This project is very exciting for us, and the hotel is scheduled to open in Q2 2023. Its launch will be a game changer for Sri Lanka and India both. We are excited about bringing this new proposition to Indian travellers.

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