From left: SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes presenting a souvenir to the German Travel Association (DRV) President Norbert Fiebig
Pic by Nisal Baduge
By Nishel Fernando
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) yesterday announced plans to launch a Rs.100 million promotional campaign on a selected German TV channel within the next two months in an attempt to lure more German tourists to the country.
SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes revealed that tenders will be floated locally within the next few days to select an advertising firm to carry out the campaign on a selected national TV channel in Germany.
He made these remarks in the presence of a high-ranking delegation from Germany’s tourism industry led by German Travel Association (DRV) President Norbert Fiebig in Colombo, yesterday.
“We had a great development in terms of German tourists coming to Sri Lanka up to last April,” Fiebig said.
Germany is the fourth largest source market of Sri Lanka tourism. However, the tourist arrivals from Germany declined by 15.9 percent up to September this year due to security concerns raised following the Easter Sunday attacks.
While noting that Germans undertake 50 million foreign trips per annum and German tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka were at a little over 158,000 last year, Fiebig urged the Sri Lankan tourism sector stakeholders to focus on the massive potential in Germany’s outbound tourism market with aggressive marketing and promotional efforts.
In particular, he pointed out that Ayurveda-based tourism is one of the unique selling points for German tourists to visit Sri Lanka and hence advised the tourism industry stakeholders to take measures to popularise such tourism products in Germany’s outbound tourism market.
“There’s enough potential for Sri Lanka in Germany’s outbound tourism market,” he stressed.
Gomes emphasised that German tourists stand out as their average daily spending far exceeds the average spending of a typical tourist who visits the country.
Fiebig also revealed that DRV was close to reaching an agreement with Sri Lanka Tourism to hold their Destination Forum in Sri Lanka next year in an effort to boost booking numbers from Germany.
The DRV Forum is expected to bring approximately 60 travel agents along with a top German tourism trade magazine.
The visiting German tour operators also noted that current discounted hotel room prices had made Sri Lanka competitive in the region.
Germany was the number-one tourist market for Sri Lanka from 1986 onwards until 1995, according to SLTPB Managing Director Charmarie Maelge.
Germany remained as Sri Lanka’s largest tourism source market until China took over the mantle in 2014 and pushed Germany to the third place.
However, the tourist arrivals from Germany steadily grew from 29,654 in 2009 to 156,888 arrivals last year, except in 2017, which was due to loss of direct flights to Germany.
As SriLankan Airlines stopped flying to Frankfurt from late 2016, German tourist arrivals saw a decline of 2.3 percent in 2017 over the previous year.
SriLankan Airlines now plans to re-launch flights to Frankfurt from 2021.
Cabinet approval sought for tour operator programme; to appoint PR agencies
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) plans to seek Cabinet approval to allocate Rs.425 million for a tour operator programme to enhance destination marketing and promotional activities through them.
Under the programme, SLTPB expects to offer US$10 for each tourist tour operators bring into the country for a limited time period.
SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes revealed that about 90 tour operators, who bring a minimum of 250 tourists per year, have submitted their applications for the scheme with their individual arrival targets.
Considering the targets submitted by tour operators, he noted that SLTPB plans to seek access to Rs.425 million for the programme.
“We expect these funds to be invested into promotional and marketing activities by tour operators,” he added.
Further, SLTPB also plans to seek Cabinet approval to allocate Rs.550 million to appoint PR agencies for 13 key source markets of Sri Lanka for the next two years in order to maintain the consistency of marketing activities throughout the year.
“They will carry out daily coordination in these markets to ensure that all the activities we run in these countries are being well-managed,” he said.
Accordingly, PR agencies will be appointed in the UK, Germany, France, China, India, Japan, Russia, Australia, Benelux, Poland, Ukraine and several Middle Eastern countries.
The SLTPB plans to call Expression of Interests (EOIs) to select PR agencies after securing Cabinet approval.
The SLTPB is also scheduled to hold lengthy discussions to finalise marketing and promotional activities for the next year.
Gomes noted that a budget exceeding Rs.4 billion will be available for marketing and promotional activities including for the proposed global promotional campaign.