Starting as a small agency catering to adventure tourists, Heritage Expediciones has grown into a full-fledged travel service provider offering customised and personalised tours to visitors, as they celebrate their tenth year anniversary.
By Mamduh Waheed
With the sudden increase of travellers to Sri Lanka post 2009, many are attempting their hand at the business of travel and tours. To meet the forecasted target of 2.5 million visitors to the country in the next few years, it would not only be the roads and the additional hotel rooms that will need to be completed. The entire chain that contributes to a successful tourism sector, including the various personnel who will be directly dealing with the visitors, has to be completed – from the airport representative, the driver to the guide who will accompany tourists through their trip, collectively need to have a sense of contribution across the board that will enhance the visitor experience.
Heritage Expediciones is a travel agency that started operating ten years ago. Initially handling about ten clients a month, now they attend to over 200 guests a month. They undertake arranging and coordinating all aspects including airport pick-up, transporting tourists to their venue of accommodation and taking them on site-seeing tours as well as arranging and overseeing demanding itineraries in remote and undiscovered locations for the more adventurous in spirit. George David, Founder and Managing Director – Heritage Expediciones, has 35 years of experience in the industry and is well aware of the challenges the country is facing due to the accelerated growth of the tourism sector. Beginning his career with Hemtours he retired as an executive director and started Heritage Expediciones with only two other employees. Over the years he has added ten more to his team who now offer a personalised and customised itinerary to tourists visiting Sri Lanka.
Commenting on how he perceives the current developments in the travel sector George David said, “this is a very exciting time in the growth of the tourism sector in the country. With increased arrivals we also have the opportunity to diversify the experiences we are able to package and offer the tourists who visit Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lanka already receives a broad range of visitors. Some travel to the Island for a quiet vacation while others look for adventure. For that reason, David stresssess that it is imperrative to learn how to attend to the small details in offering services.
Attention to detail is a critical aspect. Giving equal amounts of attentiveness to minute factors as well as the bigger picture contribute to the lasting impression that is conveyed to a traveller. “We often think we can leave the little things out. But it is these things that make the difference whether the tourist is going to visit the country again or whether the guest complaints will lead to you losing your valued partners,” affirmed David.
A sector with much room for innovation, it poses advantages as well as challenges for start-ups. “You must study well what the travel agency business entails. For instance, there are many agencies who only operate through an online presence. My advice to start-ups is to look at the long term view and to concentrate on offering the best service to their customers,” concluded David.
As they embark on their tenth year, David stresses that “Our Journey Has Just Begun” and he believes that every single journey should be unique and a memorable experience to the client.