The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) is planning to finally ink agreements with J. Walter Thompson (JWT) this week to award almost Rs.1 billion worth PR and advertising campaigns after facing delays due to bureaucratic red tape.
“The government process has been a bit of a deterrent; the system and processes were the reasons for the delay. Having said that, we yesterday finished the draft agreement and sent it to JWT. Over the next couple of days, JWT will return to us and we will sign the agreements,” SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes told Mirror Business on the sidelines of a media briefing to announce the 46th Asian Region Training and Development Organisation’s (ARTDO) international conference, which is to be held in Colombo this September.
Gomes said that SLTPB plans to call global tenders for a mega tourism promotional campaign two months into the six-month marketing campaign to appoint an advertising agency for the next 2-3 years.
SLTPB has already carried out several marketing and promotional activities with its Rs.5 billion budget for this year.
Gomes said SLTPB has planned exhibitions, road shows, bloggers programmes and familiarisation tours for tour operators and media to support the recovery of the tourism industry after Easter Sunday attacks.
The tourism authorities also launched a tour operator programme through which tour operators receives US $10 per every tourist they bring into the country.
In terms of key international events, SLTPB is sponsoring an international surfing championship in Arugam Bay, a baseball tournament and the Celebrate Colombo festival.
Gomes revealed that the organisers of the international surfing championship recently conducted an independent security audit with the assistance of an expert.
“The conclusion of the audit was that Sri Lanka is safe, not just for individual tourists, but also to host any international event,” he said.
Further, he added that the Celebrate Colombo festival will be held in Colombo and Galle from August 3rd to 10th attracting a number of celebrities.
Gomes expressed confidence on a faster industry recovery with tourist arrivals already improving. (NF)