Organizing Northern Palmyra Handicraft Makers towards New Business Opportunities in Future Tourism

Business Planning sessions conducted for SME Handicraft makers at Mannar & Vavuniya from 8th  March – 6th  April 2021

Tourism industry has become one of the main and effective industries in Sri Lankan economy with the increase of global travelling. It was recognized as a main foreign exchange earner for the national economy. Yet, the foreign exchange that is generated by tourism industry could be distributed among the stakeholders for a sustainable development of the country while alleviating poverty.

There are many potentialities still which have not explored to link with the tourism sector by focusing value added process among these potentialities, handicrafts sector represents to showcase the Sri Lankan identity and provides the

self-employment opportunities especially for rural women in Sri Lanka.

Palmyra is being unique to Northern Province of Sri Lanka depicts an immense potential to be developed as a tourist friendly industry under the amenities cluster. Tourism amenities or  the  things  where  a  tourist  needs  to  consume,  experience,  and  feel  from  another destination could make a bigger impact for their journey. Understanding this requirement, Northern  Tourism  launches  a  pilot  programme  with  four  palmyra  handicrafts  making societies in Mannar and Vavuniya to professionalise them under tourism value chain.

Preliminary programme on Business Planning was conducted by training professionals of

SANASA Campus in March and April 2021 as two days session for each society.

Accordingly,   27   women   handicraft   makers   from   Vavuniya   district   attended   from Nedunkeni Palm Resource Development Coop Society on 8th  & 9th  March 2021 and Aatral Arasi Palmyra Handicrafts Women society on 5th  & 6th  April 2021.

Members from Aatral Arasi Palmyra Handicrafts Women society attending the programme….

Members from Nedunkeni Palm Resource Development Coop Society attending the programme….

Similarly, 27 women palmyra handicraft makers from Mannar district also attended from Nannatan-Musali Palm Coconut Resource Development Co-Op Society on 15th & 16th March 2021  and  Natura  Palmyra  Handicraft  Development  Society  Puthukamam  on  18th   &  19th March 2021.

Palmyra Handicraft makers from Nannatan-Musali Palm Coconut Resource Development Co-Op Society attending the programme…

Members from Natura Palmyra Handicraft Development Society Puthukamam concentrating on the session….

Qualified trainers from SANASA Campus delivered the training in order to develop their own business plan for the society.

Mr.S.Ajenthan   &   Mr.A.Sudershan   conducting   the   sessions   at   Nedunkeni   Palm   Resource Development Coop Society

Mr. Ajanthan, Certified Trainer for Business Planning delivering the knowledge to Aatral Arasi Palmyra Handicrafts Women society, Vavuniya. Trainer Mr. A Sudarshan also was a part of the training pool for this programme.

Trainer Ms. A. Vasuki & Mr. Ragavan conducting the session for Nannatan-Musali Palm Coconut Resource Development Co-Op Society in Mannar.

At Puthukamam, Mr. Raghawan explaining the strategic planning process in simple format….

Certified Trainer, Mr. T. Balasubramaniyam explaining the gaps of production using examples at the session held in Natura Palmyra Handicraft Development Society Puthukamam.

“We have identified the dimensional form of tourism value chain using the 6A’s approach whereas the amenities are concerned as one of the components among them. Handicrafts represents  a  large  segment  under  the  amenities  where  tourists  used  to  value”  said  Ms. Harshi   Abeynayake,   Tourism   Value   Chain   Officer   explaining   the   objective   of   the programme at Natura Palmyra Handicraft Development Society Puthukamam Programme.

She  explained  that  there  are  many  opportunities  available  in  Hotels  for  palmyra  based amenities  and  the  future  sessions  will  be  important  to  know  them.  Ms.  Raghavi  from Northern  Province  Tourism  Bureau  assisted  the  Value  Chain  Officer  throughout  the programme connecting with the community members.

Among the identified issues, low quality of the production, high cost of the production poor designs,  poor  packaging  poor  marketing  approaches,  lack  of  knowledge  of  ICT  were highlighted. “We will be able to connect you with the Tourist Hotels who are waiting to convert  their  hotels  into  nature  friendly  resorts  after  the  pandemic.  Therefore,  it  is  very important to understand the designs and specially the colour combinations that are required to decorate hotels. I’m thankful for EFECS Project to lead this pilot programme to enhance the capacities of SMEs in handicraft sector and looking forward to connect with the Palmyra Development  Board  to  further  streamline  this  process”  said  Mr.  Stanley  Mascarenhas, Chairman  of  Northern  Province  Tourism  Bureau  addressing  the  participants  of  Natura Palmyra Handicraft Development Society Puthukamam on 18th  March 2021.

A  women  entrepreneur  presenting  at  the  Natura  Palmyra  Handicraft  Development  Society Puthukamam Programme.

Participants  were  given  an  opportunity to present  their  individual business  plans  at  the session.

Four  Comprehensive  business  plans  prepared  at  the  end  of  this  programme  which  would  be benefitted for the future growth of these societies.