Sri Lanka Tourism finalises long-term marketing plan | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka Tourism finalises long-term marketing plan

26 January, 2020

Sri Lanka Tourism which plans to kick-off a global promotional campaign soon hopes to rake in US $ 10 billion in foreign exchange.

“A new long-term marketing plan to boost Sri Lanka Tourism has been finalised for the consideration of the industry and the Government. The new strategy will be reviewed by the Board of Directors of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), and if approved, it will be sent to the Cabinet for approval,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said.

She was speaking at a press briefing in Colombo last week organised by Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts and Spas, in collaboration with Salaun Holidays, a leading tour operator in France to record the arrival of the biggest French/Belgium Press group to Sri Lanka.

The marketing plan focuses on two tiers and at the initial phase, marketing will be focused on eight Tier 1 destinations, which includes UK, Germany, France, China, India, and the United Arab Emirates, followed by a further set of destinations categorised under Tier 2, she said.

The appointment of a local PR agency is one of the initial steps, followed by calling for expression of interests to carry out destination marketing globally.

“Over the years, we haven’t had a structured and organized long-term global marketing strategy that is long-term. This time around, we will endeavour for such a course, and we are confident of realizing this goal, despite challenges revolving around government procurement procedure and differences of opinion among stakeholders,” Fernando said.With tourism identified as a thrust sector by the Government, the objective is to work closely with the private sector as well as different Ministries and Government agencies to achieve the common goal of boosting earnings from tourism to $ 10 billion by 2025, she said.

“Tourism is gearing for exciting times. I know there is a lot to do but we are looking forward to realise our goals together as an industry despite challenges,” said Fernando, who heads all four key state agencies engaged in tourism development in the country. This is a welcome change after several years, whilst tourism and aviation too are now under a single Ministry.

The SLTPB has finalised a five-year global promotional campaign targeting eight tier one (primary) source markets and six tier two (emerging) markets to reach the government’s objective of generating US$ 10 billion revenue from tourism by 2025.

As per the finalised plan, SLTPB has proposed to appoint a creative agency initially to develop promotional material. Consequently, SLTPB plans to appoint destination representation companies for key source markets, which include UK, Germany, France, India, China, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Australia and Russia within the year.

Next year, it is proposed to appoint PR companies for six emerging tourism source markets—Spain, Italy, Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden), Japan, South Korea and USA.

“All the promotional activities will happen through these agencies based on the needs in each market,” a senior Tourism Ministry official said.The newly appointed SLTPB board chaired by Fernando met for the first time last Thursday and the board studied the proposed plan for the global promotional campaign.

After securing SLTPB board approval, Fernando noted that the proposal would be put forward for the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.

“The Cabinet can decide whether to implement the promotional campaign on a staggered basis or not,” she added.

However, she acknowledged that the procurement process would be “painful” noting that four past SLTPB chairpersons struggled with the process during the past 4-5 years and ultimately failed to implement the campaign.

However, Fernando was confident that the SLTPB would be able to move ahead with the proposed five-year campaign with the full support of the Government. SLTPB currently has a budget of around Rs. 4 billion collected through the cess fund, which is growing with the increase in the number of tourist arrivals.

SLTPB officials stressed the main target of the global campaign was to achieve US$ 10 billion in tourism earnings by 2025. Sri Lanka ended 2019 with 1,913,702 tourists, achieving the revised arrival target set for the year, displaying considerable recovery from the Easter Sunday attacks in April.