A humble listener, an observant personality, and a guy of numerous accomplishments guided by genuine grit and core, Chamin Wickramasinghe, the current Director/ Chief Executive Officer of Theme Resorts & Spas. Chamin had his share of expert opinions and perspectives to share with us after spending decades adjusting, researching, and finally taking over the tourist business, which is now widely seen as one in distress in the new normal.
Theme Resorts & Spas, which include many luxurious and popular hotels, bungalows, and Ayurvedha properties such as Maalu Maalu in Passekudah, Aliya Resort in Sigiriya, Tea & Experience Factory in Kabaragala, Ayurvie Weligama, Ayurvie Sigiriya, and Wild Glamping Knuckles & Galoya, have not only managed to spread their effect of luxurious hospitality throughout the local boundaries, but are effortlessly catering to a variety of crowds. According to Chamin, tourists ranging from hikers to those searching for a peaceful break at an ayurvedic retreat, business travellers, or those simply looking forward to some quality family time are well taken care of by Theme Resorts’ wonderful etiquette. In response to the topic of how Theme Resorts managed to thrive and not survive in the years leading up to the pandemic, Chamin revealed that there was always a strategy in place that would be put into effect in such a case. “We always had a strategy in place for how and what we would do if we found ourselves in such a terrible situation. We had no idea what was going to happen, and I can’t claim we didn’t feel the strain. Nonetheless, we understood what to focus on since we had our priorities straight. We were able to sail through without any harm thanks to that strategy. ” He considers every choice made during this period to be part of the plan, and that it was made with the best interests of his associates and the organization in mind.
Tourism, according to Chamin, should not be at such a dangerous level, given its impact on the majority of Sri Lankan inhabitants, the local economy, and the deep impression it leaves on everyone around the world. “Consider a hotel and the area around it. No visitor ever spends his or her whole vacation inside the hotel. They walk around, stopping at the nearest coffee shop, looking in a few other shops, buying handmade items from small vendors, getting first-hand experience of the local way of life in and around the hotel, they visit archaeological sites, museums, national parks, etc. spending on entrance tickets, food and drinks, and even small souvenirs from sellers at these sites. Many individuals from the surrounding region work in hotels. When it comes to opening a new hotel, we always prioritize the nearest range, offering a significant number of jobs to the locals. The majority of our food is procured from local markets and sellers. Fruits and vegetables are generally purchased from vendors who deliver them to the hotel from all across the neighbourhood. When you think about it, one hotel is so linked, providing so many options, that as an industry, we can have a significant influence on the sustainable development of the economy as well as the community “,he said, delving deep into the point. However, the reputation associated with the tourism industry’s plight has made it incredibly difficult to find people ready to enter the sector. When it comes to government interference, he feels that the unreliability of policies is a larger problem than the policies themselves. The fact that each government makes it a point to roll over decisions made by the previous administration negates the entire point of a policy that prevents any principle from taking root in the economy’s soil.
Chamin takes great delight in being a people person, capable of coordinating and working with his team and, when required, stepping into their shoes. He and the team he nurtures and leads follow a few key concepts that help them manage team spirit, such as running ideas past them before releasing them to the public and giving them opportunities to take risks. Chamin claims that his employees understand and trust that their board of directors and senior managers to have their back in the event of a problem, which encourages them to make choices and take new risks in order to extend their knowledge and the company’s profitability. People may not only stay with the company, but they may also leave for better prospects, which Chamin views as a credit to their teaching abilities, as it allows him to assist an employee to find his way into the industry. “I’ve always believed that if I hadn’t been given the chance to join the industry as a trainee, I wouldn’t be here. I want to give those who trust me the same opportunity, “ the protagonist added humbly and gladly.
Chamin’s position, of course, does not confine him to a single component, requiring him to take on a variety of responsibilities including marketing, finance, operations, eCommerce, and whatever else the business requires. In all of these circumstances, he feels he has been a leader, not just a person who issues instructions. He makes it a point to keep in constant contact with his team. It is essential that he be knowledgeable and well-versed in his finances, personnel, and other external elements such as government actions, to effectively manage and develop the group. He correctly points out that this is a highly sensitive sector, centered on the likes and dislikes of individuals seeking leisure and pleasure.
The protagonist is proud of Theme Resorts’ most recent additions, as well as how far they’ve progressed despite the challenges. He expects the next 3 to 5 years to be more challenging. Hoteliers, as well as all stakeholders in the tourism sector, will have to be more resilient to meet the challenges of the new normal. “Treat people the way you like to be treated,” Chamin said as a final note to his narrative, “Create equal opportunities for all stakeholders. In return, they will feel empowered to do their best & achieve personal as well as organizational goals.”