Northern tourism community was empowered by the best practices of Marketing…

Marketing Workshops focussing on Palmyra handicrafts makers and Handloom weavers…

With  the  intention  of  connecting  the  rurally  based  entrepreneurs  with  the  tourism opportunities  as  well  as  a  key  initiative  of  Livelihood  Diversification  Strategy,  EFECS Project identified key industries located in rural areas of Northern Province. Accordingly, the  project  conducted  a  focused  capacity  building  programme  covering  the  areas  of Business Planning, Accounting, Bookkeeping with a comprehensive Technical Training Programme for elected Palmyra Handicrafts Societies and Handloom Clothing Societies in Northern Province.

Understanding  the  prevailing  barriers  in  Marketing  Skills  of  the  entrepreneurs  in  the mentioned  clusters,  EFECS  Project  which  is  a  cooperation  project  funded  by  Global Affairs of Canada, completed a successful Marketing Skill Development Programme last week in collaboration with Northern Province Tourism Bureau. The training programme was conducted by Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing which is the National Marketing Body of Sri Lanka.

New  tourism-based  product  line  manufactured  by  the  societies  with  the  assistance  of  EFECS Project to be launched in September 2021……….

SLIM utilized the skills of a reputed Marketing Professional in Sri Lanka, Mr. Thurairajah Prashanthan. He is a Corporate Certified Trainer as well as a Certified Business & Life Coach in Sri Lanka specially conducted number of programmes focusing the cooperative community in Northern and Eastern Province.

The  marketing  workshop  for  the  Natura  Palmyra  Handicraft  Development  Society, Puthukamam was successfully held on 9th  August 2021 with the active participation of the community society members.

Community participating for the workshop in Puthukamam, Mannar….

The training was initiated with an icebreaker on looking at the BIG PICTURE to make an attitude   transition  within  the   participants.   The   trainer  explained   the   Evolution   of Marketing & Marketing Environment highlighting the definition of marketing as well as the key Roles & Functions of Marketing.

The  influencing  factors  in  the  Marketing  Environment  was  duly  presented  using  the practical examples. The members were given a proper knowledge on the Marketing Mix elements as well as the STP, Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning. A special attention was  given  for  the  Pricing  &  Promotion  elements  whereas  the  knowledge  on  Pricing Strategies is important for these industries.

The  programme  was  conducted  for  the  members  of  Aatral  Arasi  Palmyra  Handicrafts Women  society  in  Vavuniya  on  13th   August  2021  with  the  active  participation  of  the community members.

Mr. Prashanthan, delivering the training for the community in Vavuniya….

Understanding the challenge of limited product range due to lack of innovation and new designs in the industry, EFECS in collaboration with Northern Province Tourism Bureau was  able  to introduce  a  new  product  range  with  the  technical  support  of  the  Palmyra Development Board. This programme helped to improve the product quality and designs. Finally,  answering  the  question  how  to  market  these  products?    was  taught  by  the programme conducted by Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing.

The  training  was  able  to  provide  proper  knowledge  on  finding  the  suitable  market opportunities from various industries such as tourism, fashion, and home decos. At the beginning, the audience did not have any idea about the supply potential in other parts of the  country  connected  with  the  tourism  industry.  But,  at  the  end  of  the  complete programme it was given a comprehensive knowledge on the different levels of middlemen and intermediary traders as well as the way how to develop a better cooperation with these members.

It was interpreted to the audience that the developed market linkages with retail shops in the main tourist locations will be a great opportunity to grow. The knowledge on winning the customers through proper marketing techniques were delivered by the trainer using practical as well as theoretical components in marketing.

Similarly, the largest cooperative network in Northern Province under the clothing cluster was given a comprehensive knowledge on each and every business element under this programme. Accordingly, Jaffna District Textile Weavers Cooperative Society Limited, Kondawil was given the training on marketing skill development on 11th  August 2021.

Members   of   Jaffna   District   Textile   Weavers   Cooperative   Society   Limited   attending   the programme….

While the challenges such as outdated traditional designs / colours as well as the absence of colour matching and colour testing were resolved through a comprehensive technical training provided by Singer Fashion Academy in past months. In order to complete the capacity  building  programme,  knowledge  on  market-oriented  designing  and  product development, importance of understanding the new markets and markets trends were delivered through this training.

The members were motivated and actively participated for this programme to learn the better opportunities available in the present market for loomed products.

Participatory approach in practice….

The training was supported to develop the capacities of the weavers to create a vibrant, globally  competitive  and  a  sustainable  Handloom  Industry  with  an  internationally renowned Northern Brand identity. The team was energised through stimulation activities during the training programme and proper Sales Tips were introduced by the trainer in order to achieve the expected revenue goals. Numerous brainstorming sessions, group discussion,  relevant  video  clips,  role  plays  &  Team  energizers  were  performed  in  this training.

As the next step, EFECS is planning to introduce these groomed SMEs to the Tourism Stakeholders via a market platform to be held in September 2020. At present, the project is in the process of developing proper brand logos, product catalogues for these groomed SMEs and Societies in order assist them to connect with the market. An attractive product display is designed to have the presence of these products at the receptions of tourist hotels in Northern Province.

“Ultimately, the EFECS pilot’s goal is to develop a sustainable growth-oriented SMEs and community societies under the specific tourism value chain” said Ms. Harshi Abeynayake addressing the audience in Kondawil.

Ms.  Harshi  Abeynayake,  Value  Chain  Officer  (Tourism)  &  Mr.  Kulendran  Hershanth,  Market

Development Officer (Northern Province) EFECS Project addressing the audience….

She  further  commended  the   untiring  efforts  of  Market  Development  Officer,  Mr. Kulendran  Hershanth  for  coordinating  these  programmes  with  the  community  more effectively during this difficult pandemic period.

“Although the EFECS Project is a very short pilot project conducted in North for less than two years, with various challenges of lockdowns and travel restrictions, the journey of EFECS  came  so  far  is  absolutely  admirable”  said  Mr.  Stanley  Mascarenhas,  Chairman Northern Province Tourism addressing the community in Atral Arasi Palmyra Society in Vavuniya. He further extended his gratefulness for Canadian Government for funding this pilot as well as for DID and SANASA for implementing this project in Sri Lanka.

Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Value Chain Officer (Tourism) EFECS Project presented a set of five tour guides prepared for Northern Tourism to the Marketing Trainer Mr. Thurairajah Prashanthan at the end of the programme series.

Community Members motivated after a fruitful programme posing for a group photo…