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Marketing and selling in tough economic conditions :

Post-conflict marketing opportunities

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ARTICLE 13

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Series by : Prasanna Perera, Marketing and

Management Consultant, Chartered Marketer, CIM UK

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After 30 years of conflict, Sri Lanka looks forward to a bright and prosperous future. This undoubtedly opens opportunities and marketers would do well to identify and capitalize on them. It is important to remember that the early bird catches the worm. Hence, timing is of essence as well. What are the opportunities opening up? Let me endeavour to highlight some of them.

* Tourism - Tourist arrivals have been hovering around 0.5 million for the last few years. With the war over, there will be an influx of visitors towards the end of the year. Hence, the hospitality and related industries will have great opportunities. The question is whether the industry is ready to deal with an influx of visitors, having been in a negative mindset for so long.

* Precious Gemstones - Related to the tourism industry is gemstones. This industry has been through torrid times recently. Now, is the opportunity to turn-around this industry, which brings in valuable foreign exchange to the country.

* Inland Aviation - In order to accelerate growth, quick transportation will be required. This is an opportunity for domestic airlines and helicopters. Further, with the anticipated increase in tourist arrivals, an additional need surfaces.

* Building Materials - In order to create a sense of normalcy in the Northern Province, construction of houses, retail establishments, banks will be needed. This provides opportunities for marketers of building materials such as cement, roofing materials, PVC pipes, nuts and bolts, For the building materials industry the time is now.

* Marine - The sea extent is eight times larger than the land extent in Sri Lanka! Hence, the fisheries sector is likely to boom with the gradual relaxation of fishing restrictions in the Northern seas. Marketing opportunities arise for boats, boat engines (outboard motors), batteries and for fisheries products. (Both for domestic consumption and exports).

* Agricultural and Related Industries - Sri Lanka’s main crops such as paddy, tea, rubber and coconut will have better times in the near future. Paddy cultivation will increase in the Northern theatre and marketers of rice can look forward to larger supply volumes. Brand Marketing of rice should be carried out to add value to consumers. Paddy cultivation also creates opportunities for agricultural implements such as tractors, threshers and agro chemicals.

It is important to note that the largest contribution of rice volumes comes from the Eastern Province and the Northern Province.

* Tea - With the improvement of the domestic tourism industry, the market for value added teas will increase. Hence, marketers of tea will do well to develop value added teas and also iced tea. Brand Marketing of tea is the way forward, for exports and the domestic market.

* Supermarkets / Retailing -

Tremendous opportunities in the North and East for food retailers initially, followed by clothing, footwear and numerous others. Retail players need to move in and grab the opportunities.

The time is NOW! GET MOVING!

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