Archive for July, 2017

Do vs. Done Lists: Jot Down Your Small Wins to Amplify Success

To-Do lists are great tools for productivity, but only looking at what you have to do  can increase stress or anxiety and cloud creative thought.

The solution? Keep a done list to log what you’ve accomplished!

 

It’s interesting to note that according to research, having a sense of making progress with work that matters to us is the most influential factor in maximizing long-term creative output, positive emotions, and motivation. The problem is, for some of us, focusing on what’s next (for example: our to-do lists) means we skate right past our wins, no matter how big or small they are. How do we train ourselves, over time, to notice progress? We already keep a to-do list. Why not add a done list?

A done list is a log of the tasks you’ve completed. Keeping a done list has the power to fortify your motivation, and heighten positive emotions like joy and pride. When we reflect on progress, we practically metabolize it. Jot down completed tasks, and view them as “wins,” or progress towards your final goal(s), and you can externalize and recognize them.”

Keeping a done list in addition to your to-do list is a quick and simple way to increase success and well-being. How do you create these lists in a way that fits your needs? Here are some approaches to try:

  • Every Friday, set aside 10 minutes to jot down your wins for the week.
  • Keep a done list for each project you work on.
  • Encourage any teams you manage or work with to periodically discuss progress.

The done list means that we can create motivation no matter where we find ourselves or what’s happening around us.

 

We got this from the Evernote Blog, check them out for more!

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Why Deep Work Matters in a Distracted World

From the moment we wake in the morning, we’re tempted. Reach for the phone. Check texts. Read email.

So, how do we get anything important done? Enter “Deep Work”.

 

The idea of ‘deep work’ is nothing new. The term was recently coined by Cal Newport, a professor, scientist, and author of “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.” According to Newport, deep work is classified as ‘professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limits.’

“We have a growing amount of research which tells us that if you spend large portions of your day in a state of fragmented attention—where your regular workflow is constantly broken up by taking frequent breaks to just check in with social media—that this can permanently reduce your capacity for concentration,” said Newport. Much of social media is specifically built to fragment your time.

Even a quick glance at Twitter or reviewing an email has a negative impact on your ability to focus on tasks. In fact, that one quick glance costs you about 15 to 20 minutes of attention loss. Our brains are simply not wired for that level of distraction. In addition to impacting our cognitive ability to get work done, it also concerns medical professionals, who are seeing increased rates of anxiety [and] other psychological issues among college students.

Here are some tactics to integrate the principles of deep work into your schedule:

  • Work deeply.  Newport created an equation to explain the intensity required of deep work. Work accomplished = (time spent) x (intensity)

  • Protect your time. Maintain a set of rituals and routines to ease deep work into your day more easily. Try implementing scheduling tactics into your workflow.
  • Train your brain to do nothing.
  • Quit swimming upstream. Decide for yourself what restrictions you can place on email and social media.
  •  Cut the shallow work. Endless meeting requests and instant email responses are turning knowledge workers into ‘human routers’.

 

By understanding how to distance ourselves from distractions and improve time management, we have a better chance to dive deeper into our thinking and reach new heights of productivity.

For more like this, visit the Evernote Blog.

Catch up on your favorite Friday Focus in our Archives page!

Tourism Insights – Experiential tourisms – Part 2: Is it something worth worrying about?

In this second part of our review of the potential for experiential tourism in Sri Lanka, we investigate the tourism earnings from experiential tourism and ask the question as to whether promoting experiential tourism should be a focus for the tourism strategy of Sri Lanka.

What the Data has to say

Again, turning to the data provided by the SLTDA’s in its latest annual report, here are a couple of interesting insights we discovered from the data:

Earnings growth from Experiential Tourism negligible

The earnings growth from experiential tourism related activities has historically shown a tendency to lag the overall earnings from tourism. As a result, the contribution of experiential tourism to overall earnings has been on a declining trend and by 2015, its contribution was less than 1% of total earnings. However, in 2016 there was a significant jump in tourist arrivals for such activities which contributed towards a 78% growth in earnings from such activities. This led to an increase in its contribution to 1.2% of total tourist earnings.

 

Sigiriya outpaces other attractions in terms of its earning potential

As we observed earlier with tourist arrivals, where the lion share of arrivals was accounted for by a few sites (Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa in the case of Cultural sites and Yala, Horton Plains and Udawalawa in the case of wildlife parks), a similar trend can be observed with regard to foreign tourist earnings at these sites.

Hence, Sigiriya which accounts for the highest number of foreign tourist arrivals also brought in LKR 2.2 bn in earnings from the foreign tourists, outpacing most other attractions.

 

But Earnings per tourist is highest for Anurahapura historical sites

Considering the tourist earnings from a per visitor point of view also reveals some interesting insights in terms of the earnings trends of varied attractions.  With regard to attractions in the cultural triangle, it is Interesting to note that while Sigiriya attracts more visitors than Anuradhapura (in 2016 Sigiriya attracted 562 k visitors vs. 77k visitors to Anuradhapura) the per tourist earnings is higher for the latter and in 2015 & 2016 it was the highest when compared with all other attractions.

With regard to nature based attractions, the earnings per tourist at Pinnawala has been fairly unchanged while some of the Wildlife parks have witnessed a moderate improvement. The Colombo Museum too has witnessed some improved earnings though it remains at a much lower level compared to other attractions.

 

 

The role of pricing in earnings

This also brings up the question as to whether some of these attractions are priced optimally. A comparison of the significant attractions in Sri Lanka reveal that Sigiriya which is the most recognized and distinct site in Sri Lanka commands a premium which may partly account for it recording the highest tourist earnings. In contrast, the Colombo National Museum is amongst he most affordable attraction.

Source: Leisure Tours

 

Source: Leisure Tours, attraction websites

Key Question: Should we focus on promoting experiential tourism given the low returns?

Hotel Operators claim that for the vast majority of tourists to Sri Lanka, the main appeal is the Sandy Beaches and tropical climate. Some veterans in the hotel industry have therefore claimed that given this factor, tourism in Sri Lanka should be promoted in accordance with this and be geared towards attracting “Sun, Sand and Beach” tourists. Hence they raise the question of the return on investment in promoting attractions such as heritage, wildlife, nature reserves etc. that fall under the purview of experiential tourism, particularly given the low returns in terms of tourism earnings arising from such activities.

However, we would argue that while the pristine beaches of Sri Lanka maybe the main draw for visitors to the country, if the government is to achieve its objective of increasing the foreign guest nights and the daily tourism expenditure, there needs to be a greater focus on experiential tourism in order to encourage repeat visitors. A recent panel discussion organized by the Hotel association of Sri Lanka highlighted the fact that increasing the number of guest nights in Colombo by even a single day through the promotion of more activities/ points of interest in Colombo can have a significant impact on the earnings from tourism.

In addition, given that most of these sites such as Sigiriya, Yala, Pinnawala that draw many tourists are not contemporary attractions but rather ancient ruins or nature based resources, there is a much greater need to invest in the conservation of these resources. Hence part of the motive for enhancing the earnings potential of such sites should be to better conserve the sites thus ensuring its sustainability for future generations.

Looking at it from a global perspective, we have compared the entry fees of some of the Sri Lankan attractions which are classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites with other similar attractions found abroad and we have observed that the earning potential of these sites are far greater than the current earnings of the attractions in Sri Lanka which indicates that there is greater potential to increase the earnings from these experiences.

Source: Travel & Leisure website

The Bottom line: So what can be done about it?

Taking into account the data that was highlighted with respect to the tourist arrivals and earnings of experiential tourism in Sri Lanka, the key challenge therefore would be to increase the attractiveness and earnings potential of these attractions while avoiding the problems of overcrowding.

Promote more sites to reduce overcrowding at popular sites

It is clear that part of the reason for the overcrowding is that tourists tend to congregate in few locations leading to overcrowding. While from the tourist’s point of view it would be rational for them to focus on the “main attractions” given the limited time, overcrowding at these locations could result in diminishing the experience and attractiveness of a location.  Hence, there is a need to broad base the appeal of attractions that tend to get overlooked in order to reduce overcrowding and facilitate the development of other sites.

Limit number of visitors to enhance earnings

At the same time, in the case of attractions such as the Wildlife parks, Sigiriya rock where there would be stricter limits on the optimal carrying capacity of a location, tighter measures may have to be followed in order to ensure the long term sustainability of such locations. By the use of systems such as timed entry tickets, day/night time entry as well as having a cap on the maximum number of tourists that can visit the site during a day, you can better ensure that the resources of the site are not overtaxed while providing a more pleasant experience for the tourists that visit the site. This would also enable popular sites to possible charge higher entry rates and thus improve the earnings potential.

Improve the accessibility of attractions to limit overcrowding

Incremental investments can be made at selected attractions in order to improve the accessibility of certain sites to accommodate a larger volume and variety of tourists. For example, installing more ticket counters and restroom facilities can reduce the waiting times at attractions which is a key challenge at many locations. In addition, in the case of historical sites such as Anuradhapura and Pollonaruwa, low cost strategies such as having a designated route for tourists to take can greatly improve the flow of visitors and minimize overcrowding.

Create more activities at a given attraction

Incremental developments can be made at certain attractions in order to increase the variety of activities that can be found at the location in order to reduce overcrowding. For example, a lot of the overcrowding in Sigiriya happens at the Lion’s paws where everyone makes a beeline to climb the rock. Instead of restricting the experience of Sigiriya to simply climbing a rock, it can be broadened to include tours of the water gardens and the ancient town, an interactive museum. Walks through the nature reserves surrounding the rock which are filled with wildlife and birds and has the potential for bird watching activities. This would also help improve earnings of a given site as most comparable attractions abroad charge combined ticket prices which gives full access to varied sites in a given location.

 

Written by :Travis Gomez
For any queries and comments contact travis@frontiergroup.info
Disclaimer:
This information has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable but Frontier Research Private Limited does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. Opinions and estimates constitute our judgment as of the date of the material and are subject to change without notice.

Tourism Insights – Experiential Tourism – Part 1: too little or too much of a good thing?

The changing face of tourism in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has been experiencing double digit growth in tourist arrivals with over 2 mn tourists visiting the country in 2016. With a target of 2.5 mn arrivals for this year, and a target of over 4.5 mn arrivals by 2020 set by the government, the direction of the government as well as the private sector is that, more is better. At the same time, there has been growing concern with regard to the problem of overcrowding at certain popular tourist attractions in the Island. There have been reports of overcrowding in Sigiriya as well as traffic jams in Yala Wildlife park leading to even animals getting run over (Read More: Daily Mirror). While this has sparked a debate within the industry on what is the optimal balance of tourist arrivals, the overcrowding at some of these cultural and natural attractions indicates a growing interest in what can be termed as “Experiential tourism”

The rise of Experiential tourism

Since independence, the traditional markets of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka were from Europe (including countries such as Germany, France and UK) where the main attraction of Sri Lanka; as veteran’s in the hospitality Industry would put it; is “Sun, Sand and Beach”. More recently, a shift in consumer preferences is noted with the change in economic circumstances which has led to a growth in arrivals from non-traditional markets led by tourists from India and China, along with growing awareness amongst visitors of the environmental impacts of tourism and the need for sustainability and conservation.  While “sun, sand and Beach” remains a core component of Sri Lanka’s offerings, the above reasons have led to a widening of Sri Lanka’s offerings to include more experiential and culturally rewarding tourist attractions. This could range from taking curated walks in a city’s historic centre, camping outdoors in a bird sanctuary, visiting museums, art galleries etc. to get a sense of the culture of the destination. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority’s (SLTDA) annual report, classifies a number of tourism activities in Sri Lanka as Museums, Wildlife Parks, Zoological & Botanical gardens and the cultural triangle. For the purpose of this analysis, we have treated all of these activities as being part of “Experiential Tourism”.

What the data has to say

Based on the data provided by the SLTDA, here are a couple of interesting insights we noted:

Faster growth in experiential tourists in 2016

The experiential tourist arrivals grew at a rate of 48% YoY in 2016, outpacing overall tourist arrivals growth which increased at a rate 14% over the same period. Visitors to the cultural triangle alone saw a 2.5x growth from 355 k tourists in 2015 to 905k in 2016.

 

But less than 50% of foreign tourists choose to go for experiential tourism.

While 2016 saw a strong growth in experiential tourism, in the context of total tourist arrivals which stood at 2.05 mn in 2016, the attractiveness of even popular locations is comparatively low. Sigiriya was the most popular attractions with a little over 1/4th of total tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka visiting the site while Yala was the most popular wildlife park attracting 13% of tourists.

 

Wildlife parks gaining popularity

The proportion of experiential tourists visiting popular wildlife parks such Yala, Horton Plains which are in a natural setting has increased while the number visiting places with “Built-in environments” such as the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, the Dehiwela Zoo and the Peradeniya and Hakgala Botanical gardens have witnessed a slower pace of growth and hence a decline in their relative share.

 

Few sites/activities account for the lion share of the tourist arrivals

In 2016, the two sites; Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa had accounted for nearly 90% of all visitors to the cultural triangle . With respect to Wildlife Parks, nearly 70% of arrivals were distributed among 3 parks while there are 23 locations throughout the island that have been identified by the SLTDA as Wildlife parks. This trend highlights the fact that tourism in Sri Lanka is not sufficiently broad based and to a certain extent explains the issue of overcrowding which takes place at certain popular locations.

Key Question: Is there already too many tourists?

It is clear from the above data that while experiential tourism is has not been as significant in the past, the trend is clearly that it is growing in importance and is expected to continue to do so in the future. Hence a question that can be raised is if given the overcrowding that is taking place at some of these attractions, should attempts be made to restrict tourist arrivals.

To provide some context to this question, we did a global comparison of the tourist arrivals numbers of some of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO world Heritage Sites with some other similar attractions found abroad and we observe that these sites are able to accommodate much larger volumes of annual tourist arrivals.

 

Source: Travel & Leisure website

 

Hence, we believe that with proper planning and by increasing accessibility it is possible to increase the popularity of experiential tourism attractions in Sri Lanka while limiting the negative impacts of overcrowding.

 

In part 2 we will explore the earnings contribution of experiential tourism and give our recommendations on what can be done to enhance experiential tourism in Sri Lanka

Click here to continue to Tourism-insights – experiential tourism Part 2    

 

Disclaimer:
This information has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable but Frontier Research Private Limited does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. Opinions and estimates constitute our judgment as of the date of the material and are subject to change without notice.

What is Frontier Research?

Frontier Research is built around its founder, Amal Sanderatne’s, belief that time is our most valuable resource and his views on how to make better use of it. He believes it is essential that individuals maximise their time, in the ways that are important to them.

In another installment from our blog, we answer the question “What is Frontier Research” and explore the philosophy that drives us:

 

Before setting up Frontier, Amal had experienced different work environments: some very rigid, some more flexible.

There were some where the work was very exciting and he was very passionate about what he did, but it was very demanding and simply precluded the possibility of having too much of a life outside of work. There were others where he had very little actual work to do, with little motivation, clocking in a set eight hour day but with much of that time spent idle. Then there were others which were very well paid, but with very little underlying purpose to it.

The kind of work Amal  wanted was hard to find and this search for a better way to work was the core reason for setting off on his own. He aimed to craft the kind of career he wanted for himself and then later to the team that he hired.

In a nutshell, the core idea behind Frontier Research is to enable our team to engage in fulfilling work at times that are best suited for them, in a life-first work environment

“Life first” is easy to explain, and for Amal that means putting Health, Family and Friends before work. As Richard Branson said, “Great businesses are places where problems are solved and lives are improved”.

Right now with all our work, we find fulfillment by helping our clients create time in their lives by providing them the information that matters to them in less time.

Putting all of this together, we’ve come up with these belief statements to help us shape our corporate culture:

“We believe time is our most precious resource.

We believe in work that enables people to live better by using their time better.

For our team, this means enabling them to engage in fulfilling work at times that are best suited for them, in a life-first work environment.

For our clients, this means getting them the information that matters most to them in less time, through time efficient research and information services”

 

For more on the ‘Frontier Way’, check out our blog!

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The Global Economy in June

The major highlights of the month of June were the events that unfolded around the isolation of Qatar by its Gulf neighbors, developments in the oil market and signs that major central banks were beginning to end monetary easing. Despite these developments, global markets continued the upward trend even as analysts continued to raise questions about its sustainability.

The US Federal Reserve hiked interest rates, as expected, on June 14th for the second time this year and signaled that it will start to unwind its massive balance sheet. However, doubts have been raised whether the Fed will go for a third rate hike this year amidst US economic data falling below expectations in the second quarter. Taking cues from the Fed, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England have also signaled that they will begin to end the era of easy money. Emerging Market investors are watching this development closely to see how it affects risk appetite.

Emerging markets continued to see positive investor sentiment, as reflected by a seventh consecutive month of foreign portfolio inflows, up to June. According to the Institute of International Finance (IIF), June saw US$17.8 billion in inflows to EM debt and equities, the majority of which went to the Asian region. Volatility in commodity prices, especially oil, did not appear to trouble EM equities. Analysts have pointed to increasing weight of technology shares relative to commodities-based shares in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index as making this possible. However, some have pointed to robust demand for debt from Russia, Argentina and Ivory Coast as evidence of an investment bubble in high yielding EM assets.

China’s A-shares were finally able to gain entry to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, from next year. China also opened up its US$9 trillion debt market to foreign fund managers through its new ‘Bond Connect’ service through Hong Kong. Meanwhile, India finally put into force its new Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the 30th of June, promising to simplify the country’s tax regime.

In Europe, Brexit negotiations got underway, while Prime Minister May managed to come to an official agreement with the coalition partner from Northern Ireland. The coalition gives her government a slim majority in parliament. Despite some stability in the parliament, the British economy showed signs of trouble as consumer spending dipped considerably for the first time since Brexit. The Sterling pound also continued to remain weak.

Brent oil prices were rather volatile in June, seeing a drop to the mid-US$40s on fears of a rising supply glut amidst increased OPEC output in May. Despite an OPEC agreement to limit production, the countries excused from it – mainly Nigeria and Libya – have continued to increase output. However, as of the first week of July, prices saw seven consecutive days of gains, rising to near US$50 due to a slowdown in the growth of the US shale oil sector, reduction in US crude oil reserves.  But analysts do not see any support from fundamentals for a sustained rise, reflected in the sharp drop seen on July 5th to US$47.79 a barrel.

The situation over Qatar’s isolation by its Arab neighbors did not have a major impact on oil prices. While the risks of the escalation seem to have reduced, analysts say the crisis is likely to be protracted in its current form. The Saudi-led coalition sent a list of 13-demands, which included ending relations with Iran and shutting down Al Jazeera. Despite Qatar’s rejection of these demands, the Saudi-led coalition have not yet taken any retaliatory measures, raising hopes of the tensions gradually easing out.

The One Easy Daily Habit That Makes Life More Awesome

Last week, we shared a video on one man’s equation of happiness.

This week, we’ll look at one of the easiest things you can do to live a happier life in this piece by Laura Vanderkam:

 

In the late spring of 2012, I created a file on my laptop called “Best Summer Ever.” Each day, I’d write down at least one quirky, memorable, or fun thing that happened. Some research backs up the idea that writing down good things can improve your life; Fast Company recently included keeping a gratitude journal in its roundup of 10 Simple Science-Backed Ways to be Happier Today.

The idea behind my Best Summer Ever list is that I wanted specific evidence–evidence that would conjure up detailed memories–that I had an awesome life.

Sure enough, as I started gathering data every day on why I was having my best summer ever, 2012 did indeed shape up to be the best summer of my life (so far!). So I kept a similar list this summer. The highs have not been as high, but still, looking at a random day and remembering that I went for a bike ride, a trail run, and a swim (a “tri” day!) makes me pretty happy.

And this is the more important takeaway: If I’m having a kind of blah day, I am forced to sit there and think, What would I want to write down on my list? I need to think of something, and so I conjure up a way to create a happy memory. Even something as simple as concocting the world’s best milk shake from the lemon gelato a party guest left in our freezer and some fresh strawberries and blueberries can be enough to rescue a day.

Life happens whether we are mindful of it or not, and being mindful of the quirky, the fun, and the meaningful makes these things stand out more in the mosaic of one’s time. We see what we’re looking for and, as I’m reminded every day, writing things down can help us see.

 

We are more or less trained to focus on bad experiences, while taking the good for granted. So write down a few good things to remind yourself that life is pretty great!

For more like this and beyond, visit Fast Company.

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