Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with The Travel Concierge Sri Lanka’s Laahiru Jayamanne

This week, The Travel Concierge Sri Lanka’s managing director gives some great advice to travel industry folk on how to best cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

What are you reading?

I’m reading facts on Sri Lankan traditional cooking and medicines and have discovered how our natural ingredients are rich in oxidants which enhance our immune system.

What are you watching?

Plenty of cartoons through to action/comedy. Lots of Hobbs & Shaw – everything the kids enjoy (I must admit I am entertained as well) – and a lot of news.

What are you listening to?

Sri Lankan music, especially the oldies. We have made it a point to sing as a family for at least an hour each evening. My three boys weren’t fond of the oldies, but now they are taking a real interest. We may have a new boy band on our hands!

What are you cooking?

We’re cooking a lot, but we’re keeping it to simple local food. We are currently putting together a Sri Lankan cookbook with the proceeds to going to a local charity.

Today’s dishes for lunch were Fish Ambul Thiyal (a dry blackfish curry – our ANZ rep’s favourite) with manyok (a local yam from my garden), and homemade chilli paste with coconut sambal.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

Looking after three boys aged three, eight and 13 occupied is keeping my wife and I very active. Please let me go back to the office! 

We have started gardening, which I think is more of a mental exercise than a physical one. We are also taking online lessons on Buddhist meditation. I have yet to start some cardio exercises during the lockdown!

What’s the one thing keeping you sane?

Work, would you believe? We’re using the time to update sample itineraries and flyers, upgrade our website, progress two of our responsible tourism initiatives, and prepare destination information, so we’ll have a lot more to support Aussie agents with when they’re ready!

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

That we are always at the mercy of mother nature. That the rich, the poor, the most powerful, and the weakest are treated equally by mother nature. 

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

Patience! Patience to wait for business. Patience to wait for better times. Patience to go out and meet friends. Patience to be with the family 24/7 without a break. Patience to keep our hopes and dreams alive.

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the crisis?

We were already out of business for 10 months since last year’s Easter Sunday attack. We have done our best to retain our colleagues by taking the biggest hit ourselves as the shareholders.

Learning from our earlier experiences (airport bombing, tsunami and civil war), we made it a point to keep a reserve of funds for rainy days. We have always made it a point to keep our expenses self-scrutinised, yet in every crisis we have discovered more cost efficiencies. 

We will spend the locked-down time with the families and also work on some new products and ideas.

Keeping our faith and hope are of utmost importance. We surely can bounce back as new and improved service providers. When we do, let’s not forget to engage more in responsible tourism which focuses on environment, community and wildlife.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Travel Agents

Savenio restructures commission model

There’s been plenty of tszujing happening over at Savenio lately. However, that’s not to suggest the “Fab Five” paid the agency network a visit.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas still committed to October restart for international flights, says Joyce

Qantas’ CEO doesn’t plan on letting a few vaccine “speedbumps” get in the way of the flying kangaroo going international in October.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Florida Governor sues CDC and Biden administration, demanding resumption of cruising

The lawsuit claims the US government is “singling out” the cruise industry and costing the state billions.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Man blows almost $20,000 after refusing temperature check at Disney World

Today, in what NOT to do at Disney World, we bring you reports of a man who blew almost $20,000 after getting kicked out for refusing a temperature check.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Rail Europe launches fresh e-learning program for agents

Are you looking to get your rail bookings back on track? Go full steam ahead with this new online training tool.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination NSW appoints PwC’s Kathryn Illy as new GM of consumer marketing

Katherine Illy is joining Destination NSW as its new consumer marketing boss. However, Travel Weekly understands she is of no relation to Aussie rapper Illy.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

New aircraft, more jobs and a bigger network: Virgin Australia fast-tracks growth plans

Virgin boss Jayne Hrdlicka trekked to a cabin crew training school in Brisbane this morn to deliver this very important update.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

“Truly changes the game”: Travelport unveils next-gen platform

The global travel retail player has new-look platform. However, we have no idea how the guying spinning on his head has anything to do with it.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

“There was a knife in the pool”: Melbourne’s worst motel hits the market

Melbourne’s most notorious motel is up for sale, and its owners are hoping to get a few million for it.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Will Aussies actually be able travel to other countries via New Zealand?

Reports have been circulating about a loophole in the trans-Tasman bubble that could see Aussies travelling beyond the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Share

CommentComments

Events

NCL, Club Med and Globus team up for blockbuster roadshows

ATTN AGENTS: It’s time to get out of your track pants and into your business attire, because one of the first in-person trade events of 2021 is about to land.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Upgrades, revitalisation key focuses for Kakadu Tourism in 2021

Kakadu Tourism is upgrading and revitalising its attractions. Sources say the region’s saltwater crocodiles will be equipped with laser beams.

Share

CommentComments