Mannar Market Connectivity Attempt

Unwrapping the Real North Islands for tourism & The Real North Tourism Market Connectivity Attempt Mannar District

Witha heritage that centres around Hinduism and the Tamil community, Mannar is the perfect balance between colonial heritage and the Old World’s legendary iconic places. The city boasts the possession of the Thiruketheeswaran kovil, one of the ancient Shiva temples, and Madhu Church the most sacred Roman Catholic church, in the country. The people of Mannar have always been proud of their heritage and they fought to protect their culture during hard times. Due to their persistence, we have so many ancient monuments still standing for us to witness today. They are also very talented in making genuine hand-made palmyra products that are mesmerizing and functional. The people of Mannar have become masters of using the palmyra leaf to create masterpieces that are mesmerizing and put an end to the need for plastic and polythene.

Being one of the largest tourism destinations in the Northern Province, EFECS Tourism pilot project identified Mannar as one of its key focussed districts. The three sectors namely the private, public as well as cooperative sectors were connected through the Tourism Value Chain identified through Six Clusters (6As). Among the sample segments, Palmyra Handicraft Sector being as one of the iconic industries for Northern Province were identified from Mannar District. Even a number of tourism trails such as Nature Trails, Ramayana Trail, Film Tourism Trails, Pesca Tourism Trails were introduced by the project.

Being located in the most strategic position in the map, Mannar Islands Chain were given a higher prominence in the Northern Islands Cluster. This was highlighted in the Sustainable Community Based Tourism Strategy centralising Delft Island created by Northern Province Tourism Bureau in order to promote the Northern Islands.

To unwrap the Real North Islands including Mannar as well as the newest palmyra handicrafts collection produced by Mannar Community, Northern Province Tourism Bureau organised a stakeholder meeting on 12, October 2021 at 2.30 pm at the Auditorium of District Secretariat of Mannar. Hoteliers, Society Members as well as the senior officials of the district and Palmyra Development Board attended this event.

The meeting was Chaired by Mrs. Stanley De Mel, District Secretary of Mannar and moderated by Mr. Stanley Mascarenhas, Chairman, Northern Province Tourism Bureau.

“Despite the pandemic constraints, we are able to present you the Northern Island Strategy with an attractive island tour map because of the immense contributions received by the provisional, district as well as divisional authorities. Mannar is a strategic location in the Sri Lanka Map and also unarguably an immense treasure owned by the Northern Province” said Mr. Mascarenhas, Chairman, Northern Province Tourism Bureau making the welcome address of the event.

The initial copy of the Real North Islands Investor Guide and Map were presented to Mrs. Stanley De Mel, District Secretary / Government Agent, Mannar District from Chairman, Northern Province Tourism Bureau.

The Additional Government Agent of Mannar, Mr. Gunapalan and also the Mannar Divisional Secretary was presented with a copy of the Real North Islands and the Map by Chainman of the Northern Province Tourism Bureau, Mr. Stanley Mascarenhas.

“The Tourism Value Chain is a system which describes how private sector firms in collaboration with government and civil society receive or access resources as inputs, add value through various processes for Tourism Sector. Although the Tourism is a highly organised sector, Tourism is not considered from a holistic viewpoint in Sri Lanka. Still few sectors namely hotels, travel agents, airlines are given priority and this Value Chain Model provided a key lesson how to look at the sector as a whole” said Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Former Tourism Value Chain Officer of EFECS presenting the systematic process of developing a Tourism Value Chain Approach for a destination with the engagement of the Private, Public and Community.

She explained that the EFECS is a 02-year Pilot Project to introduce A Sustainable Community based Tourism Model based on 6As Value Chain Approach. North was selected to conduct the Pilot Province by a Value Chain Research. Further she mentioned that the project was funded by the Global Affairs of Canada jointly implemented by Développement International Desjardins (DID) and SANASA International Pvt (Ltd) under the guidance of Northern Province Tourism Bureau.

“Since the project initiated in a time where Covid-19 were not in the general terminology of people, it was extremely challenging to implement the pilot project activities in a farer province from Colombo, yet because of the support given by the Government and Community entities, the project was successful. I must be thankful for the District Secretaries and the staff, as well as for the Assistant Cooperative Commissioners and officials for giving their cooperation and guidance throughout these two years. Further I’m grateful for all the communities in the Mullaitivu District for assisting myself as well as for our team Mr. Viswanathan Sinthujan and Mr. Kulendran Hershanth as well as Ms.S.Karthika, Mr. Promoth, Ms. T. Saageny and Ms. Vibeeshana from EFECS project” said Ms.Abeynayake.

After an extensive training programme conducted in collaboration with Palmyra Development Board, SANASA Campus and Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing, the Project were able to introduce the two societies to the market through an attractive set of marketing materials.

The initial copies of the brochures were presented to the government stakeholders by the Former Value Chain Officer (EFECS Project), Ms. Harshi Abeynayake.

Mrs. Stanley De Mel, District Secretary / Government Agent, Mannar
Mr. Gunapalan, Secretary, Additional District Secretary, Mannar
Divisional Secretary of Mannar
Mrs. F. Sameeyu, Assistant Cooperative Commissioner of Mannar

Project was mostly given the key priority for the cooperative sector as well as for the women. Naruvilikulam Handicrafts Society known as Valarmathi is a cooperative based entity established in Naruvilikulam village of Vankalai. Project was able to design an attractive logo and a tag line “Glow like the moon!” to position this community society among the potential market after providing them an extensive capacity building programme.

“A number of talented women work in the society located in a village name Naruvilikulam. These women are highly adept at making beautiful and vibrant creations that are a harmonious combination of intricate styles, colours and patterns that pay homage to their heritage and culture. These beautiful, 100% authentic and hand-made palmyra products eliminates the need for single use plastics and other plastic products in general. You can choose from a variety of beautiful products based on your need. Choose from a plethora of products such as tissue boxes, fruit and vegetable boxes, summer hats, dust bins, table-wear and more!”

The promotional materials and labels were handed over to the President, Ms. S. Asunda, Naruvilikulam Handicrafts Society, by the Assistant Cooperative Commissioner of Mannar at the event.

Palmyra Development Board conducted a 10days technical programme for all selected community societies in collaboration with Northern Province Tourism Bureau, Department of Cooperatives and EFECS Project. A copy of the marketing brochures was presented to the General Manager of NanatanMusali Palm Co-Op Society from Mr.Loganathan, General Manager of Palmyra Development Board.

With a caption “Beauty in sustainability” Natura Palmyra Handicraft Society also taken into the pilot programme to build their capacities to be connected with the tourism industry in future.

The society consists of a number of incredibly talented women who engage in making palmyra handicrafts. These women are highly adept at making beautiful and vibrant creations that are a harmonious combination of intricate styles, colours and patterns that pay homage to their heritage and culture.

These beautiful, 100% authentic and hand-made palmyra products eliminates the need for single use plastics and other plastic products in general. You can choose from a variety of beautiful products based on your need. Choose from a plethora of products such as tissue boxes, fruit and vegetable boxes, summer hats, dust bins, table-wear and more!

The promotional materials and labels were handed over to the President, Ms. S. Asunda, Naruvilikulam Handicrafts Society, by the Assistant Cooperative Commissioner of Mannar at the event.

Apart from the MSME Trainings, EFECS conducted Digital Marketing Training programme for the government stakeholders in the Northern Province specially for the officers from the District Secretariats, Cooperative Department as well as selected Divisional Secretariat. Ms. Abeynayake presented the certificates of the officials trained from the Mannar District to the District Secretary, Mannar during the programme.

“Most of the events organised in collaboration with the rural community were represented by the private sector and their participation for the entire pilot was extremely good in Mannar. Accordingly, we were able to establish Real North Community Displays in five hotels those who were interested in promoting the community products in Mannar” said Ms. Abeynayake, Former Value Chain Officer (EFECS Project) in a post comment.

Private sector accommodation entities were presented with a copy of the market connectivity brochures from the Additional Secretary, Mannar, Divisional Secretary Mannar and Manager, Palmyra Development Board.

Mrs. Dolfina, Managing Partner, Hotel Agape
Representative from Vayu and Palmyra Garden Hotel
Mr. Regan, Managing Director, Hotel Coccos Garden

“Mannar is the largest Island destination in Sri Lanka which is strategically located in the Indian Ocean. It is indeed a great pleasure of being connected with the newest Island Promotion Initiative as well as this market connectivity attempt. Mannar has lots of authentic handicrafts and products such as palmyra and traditional clothing…. etc.” said Mrs. Stanley De Mel, District Secretary, Mannar addressing the gathering. She was thankful for the EFECS Project as well as to the Northern Province Tourism Bureau for implementing this kind of sustainable strategies for the benefit of the community.