- Consists of US$3.5mn worth digital marketing and CNN advertising campaign
- SLTPB evaluation process in awarding contracts for digital marketing campaign in final phase
By Nishel Fernando
Sri Lanka is to finally kick off the long-delayed tourism promotion campaign with a US$3.5 million worth six-month digital marketing campaign and a CNN advertising campaign in two weeks, Tourism and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said.
Speaking to media personnel on the sidelines of the announcement of the Round Table International World Meeting (RTIWM) 2018, which will be held in Negombo from 5th to 9th September at Jetwing Hotels in Negombo, Amaratunga said that he will present both the digital marketing campaign and the CNN advertising campaign to the Cabinet next week, seeking approval to award the contracts to marketing agencies.
“In another two weeks, it will come on board,” he said. Amaratunga revealed that evaluation process in awarding contracts for the digital marketing campaign by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) is at the final phase.
In order to fast-track the process, the Minister had advised the SLTPB to send necessary documents to the ministry as soon as the SLTPB completes the evaluation and decides on the marketing agency to carry out the digital campaign in each single country to prepare the cabinet paper. The digital marketing campaign is targeted at 5 key tourism source markets of Sri Lanka which includes China, India, the UK, Germany and France.
Amaratunga noted that the his ministry will have to seek the Cabinet approval for US$650,000 million CNN advertising campaign again as the previous Cabinet approval was given prior to SLPTB board’s approval.
Hence, he said that the both campaigns are likely to be carried out at around the same time now. The government decided to carry out an interim advertising campaign on CNN due to the delay of the digital marketing campaign and global promotional campaign. However, the SLTPB board members representing The Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) had insisted the minister to fast-track the digital marketing campaign rather than implementing the CNN campaign which is considered to be less impactful. Due to the objections Amaratunga said the ministry decided to get the SLTPB board approval and re-present the proposal for Cabinet approval. According to sources, the government decided to carry out the CNN media campaign following a meeting between the Prime Minister and CNN officials who had pointed out the benefits of carrying out an advertising campaign while the main promotional campaign was delayed.
Citing the reasons for the delays in implementing the promotional campaigns, Amaratunga said that the official were afraid of following guidelines strictly as the officials who implemented the promotional campaigns during the previous administration were under investigation for not following proper procedures and for corrupt practices.
Meanwhile, the minister said that the Prime Minister has suggested to bring down the landing charges and fuel charges at Bandaranaike International Airport this month in order to allow more budget airlines to fly to the country bringing in more tourists. “However, the implementation is yet to come” he said.
The Minister also revealed that the government has scrapped the plans to build a MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) Convention Center worth Rs.1 billion, as there will be a large convention center built in the Colombo Port City. As a temporary measure to hold large MICE events, the minister noted that the Temple Trees and the BMICH will be utilized.