By Nishel Fernando
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) is planning to launch the long awaited multi-billion five-year global tourism promotion campaign next January, amid fears over possible shortage of funds, if tourism doesn’t bounce back to the pre-COVID level in two years.
SLTPB finalised a 5-year global promotional campaign targeting eight tier one (primary) source markets and six tier two (emerging) markets and consequently, the Cabinet approval for the campaign was granted in April.
Currently, the final terms of references (TOR) of the campaign is being reviewed by the appointed Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC), which is likely to be completed within this month.
Upon completion of the TEC evaluation process, their evaluation and recommendations will be reviewed by the standing Cabinet appointed procurement committee from next month onwards, before approving to float the tenders.
“Our aim is to finish the procurement process by December and to kick off the campaign by January,” a top SLTPB official told Mirror Business.
Initially, SLTPB plans to float 11 tenders, including three local tenders to select a creative agency, a social media agency and a campaign-monitoring unit for the five years.
The eight international tenders would be for selecting agencies for destination representation.
However, the SLTPB official noted that they would wait for the correct time to float tenders to attract high quality bids, as currently many of these destination management agencies are not operating at their usual capacities.
Meanwhile, concerns remain over possible fund shortages that could emerge in the middle of the campaign.
SLTPB funds are only sufficient to fund the proposed campaign for around one year and a half. If the industry doesn’t recover to pre-COVID-19 levels within the next two-year period, difficulties may arise as to how to fund the campaign for the proposed 5-year period.
Meanwhile, SLTPB on Monday closed the bidding process for an interim campaign to select a PR agency to carry out promotional activities targeting the re-opening of Sri Lanka for foreign tourists from mid-July or from August.
The campaign, which is expected to kick off from August, would create awareness among tourists while enhancing confidence to travel to Sri Lanka.
Despite the COVID-19-induced crisis, Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities are maintaining their midterm target to achieve US$10 billion revenue from tourism by 2025.