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Sudusinghe from Citrus Waskaduwa represents Sri Lanka at Special American Business Training Program

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Mr. Sudusinghe Chandrasena – Deputy General Manager of Citrus Waskaduwa, recently participated in a Special American Business Training Program at the invitation of the U. S. Department of Commerce. The programme, held in Washington D.C., Pensacola-Florida, New Orleans and New York, was designed to offer Sri Lankan hospitality professionals first-hand insights into Destination Tourism.

The programme was part of US support to improve the tourism industry in Sri Lanka by sharing best practices, the latest industry trends and marketing concepts. Participants gained an appreciation of how public private partnerships can fuel tourism growth and engaged with private companies, industry associations, government agencies and educational institutions on potential business partnerships.

Mr. Sudusinghe gained insights on how business models were fine tuned to highlight the unique offering of a particular destination and how each caters to a different audience. Of particular interest to the Sri Lankan context was how the tourism industry could preserve and conserve the local socio-cultural environment while running vibrant businesses.

Each destination visited, showcased the underlying operational strength of the tourism industry – for example, New Orleans was a case study in how people of different ethnicities, work together as one in order to develop tourism in a region that has over thousands of restaurants and employees while Pensacola in Florida, the most frequented tourist destination in the country due to its breathtakingly beautiful beaches, was a strong example of environmental conservation. Similarly, his time in Louisiana’s streets full of live musicians was a glimpse into unobtrusive entertainment. During his tour of the US, Mr. Sudusinghe also had the opportunity of visiting several hospitality universities, where he observed several practices which he believes that could be adopted into hotel schools in Sri Lanka. He also visited the New York Guides association, the Conde Nast Traveller Magazine and several of the top hotels in the area.

Commenting on the remarkable success of this programme, Mr. Sudusinghe said, “It was indeed an honour to represent Citrus Leisure at this programme. The true potential of Tourism in Sri Lanka can only be harnessed by increasing our capacity and capability to cater to the right mix of clientele. Fundamentally, our strategies for industry growth will only be as sounds as our understanding of the market environment and global industry trends. As witnessed in the United States too, managing a tourism product involves a gamut of functions from establishing a solid value proposition to marketing and promoting this value; in that process, as tourism professional we must also be deft at learning what customers want, how to break borders, and ensure good value for money while operating with no discrimination and minimal disruptions to the communities around us.”

Mr. Sudusinghe will now share his learnings with the Citrus Teams while studying the possibility of applying the principles and best practices in a local context. As a member of the Chef’s Guild and the Sous Chef’s Guild, he will also be instrumental in sharing the lessons learnt with his colleagues on how Sri Lanka can propel itself to offer better value and higher standards.