Thursday, July 27, 2006

Access Sri Lanka thorugh World Hotel Link

IFC-SEDF to Help Small Hotels in Sri Lanka Access Markets Through Portal, will build four travel booking portals in Sri Lanka, working with the IFC affiliate, SEDF. The portals will be owned and operated by locals and will bring online a range of small accommodation providers who do not have a web presence till now.

Colombo, Sri Lanka (PRWEB) July 26, 2006 -- The International Finance Corporation’s South Asia Enterprise Development Facility and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to set up four online accommodation booking portals in Sri Lanka as part of an initiative to develop sustainable tourism in the region that benefits local communities.

Gilles Galludec, IFC’s Country Manager and Program Manager for SEDF in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, signed the document on behalf of SEDF. He said, “The partnership between IFC’s South Asia Enterprise Development Facility and will provide hotels in Sri Lanka’s SME sector with unparalleled market access. They will have the opportunity to showcase their services in a growing market of independent travelers. places enormous emphasis on sustainable tourism and this project fits perfectly with the IFC model of developing environmental and socially sustainable projects.”

The SME sector hotels in Sri Lanka have not had the benefits that typically accrue in a tourism-dominated economy. They are poorly served by both the traditional wholesale tour industry and the online sites targeting independent travelers. As part of the new agreement, SEDF and will work together to develop portals that provide local SME sector hotels and other operators of accommodation facilities with significantly better market access.

“SEDF will assist us in building capacity and a resource network that will enable us to run our Sri Lankan operations smoothly,” explained Leonard Cordiner, CEO of “In addition to assisting the local SME hotel industry, the portal will give independent travelers access to book lesser-known guesthouses and hostels through one e-marketplace network – so it’s a win on both fronts,” he added.

High costs and a lack of skills typically keep smaller providers of accommodation from being able to leverage the Internet to market their properties. By creating a local e-marketplace that shares the costs, centralizes the necessary skills and, most importantly, provides an interface between the accommodation provider and travelers, these constraints can be minimized.’s local e-marketplaces collect and maintain member information on the Web and take bookings via e-mail (working in English with travelers and in the local language with members). This model is helping develop the local industry. was pioneered by IFC’s Mekong Private Sector Development Facility and was spun off as a separate company by IFC in March 2006. Its Web application is unique: while it is a global network service, the individual e-marketplace operations are locally owned and operated. For more information about WHL, visit

SEDF Sri Lanka-Maldives is a multidonor funded facility managed and operated by the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. It is funded by IFC and the governments of Norway and the Netherlands with the objective of promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. SEDF increases SMEs’ access to financing and quality business development services. It is also involved in value addition to firms and the creation of an enabling business environment.

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank group and is headquartered in Washington DC. IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent. Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in international finance markets and helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications. For more information, visit IFC.


Press Contact: Leonard Cordiner
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Phone: 61298161774