- Campaign involves 12 key source markets and includes whole gamut of activities from press advertising to digital marketing
- Says no need of Cabinet approval as tenders for each market will be called separately without exceeding fund thresholds
- New campaign comes in the wake of Rs.1bn promo campaign abandoned due to procedural and legal issues
By Nishel Fernando
The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) plans to call tenders for a fresh Rs.1.3 billion multi-country marketing campaign next week targeting 12 key source markets of Sri Lanka tourism.
“We will be investing Rs. 1.3 billion for marketing activities in the 12 markets. It will include TV advertising, subway advertising, shopping malls, tram car advertising in certain countries, press advertising, radio advertising, hoarding and digital marketing in some countries,” SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes told reporters in Colombo yesterday.
Depending on the targeted audiences, SLTPB plans to deploy a mixture of different platforms to promote Sri Lanka tourism in these markets. While noting that SLTPB has already finalised the Terms of References (TOR) for tenders internally, Gomes said they plan to complete the TOR with industry inputs before floating the tenders next week.
He further said that Cabinet approval is not required for the campaign as SLTPB will call for tenders for each market separately without exceeding the fund thresholds that require approval from Cabinet of Ministers.
The SLTPB has selected traditional markets such as United Kingdom (UK), Germany, China, India as well as non-traditional markets including Australia and Poland as targeted markets for this campaign.
“The duration of campaign in each will depend on the nature of the proposal. As we finalise tenders, we will kick them off,” Gomes stressed.
The SLTPB abandoned the earlier Rs.1 billion PR and marketing campaign due to procedural and legal issues, which was aimed at expediting the recovery of the tourism sector in the aftermath of Easter Sunday attacks.
However, Gomes was confident that SLTPB will be in a position to launch the new marketing campaign in a short period of time as the tenders will be floated only locally cutting the tender duration by half.
As several international marketing agencies have made their presence through local agencies, SLTPB expects that the quality of execution of the proposed campaign will be maintained to international standards.
Meanwhile, Gomes said SLTPB was able to secure approval from the Cabinet of Ministers recently to run a TV campaign on CNN.
He said the campaign will be finalised in two weeks after evaluating the CNN proposal.
The CNN campaign is likely to run for a three-month period at a cost of Rs.100-150 million.
Gomes also announced that SLTPB will appoint PR agencies for 13 key source markets of Sri Lanka shortly in order to maintain the consistency of marketing activities throughout the year. He said there have been issues regarding the consistency of marketing activities in some markets.
“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 UK, Germany, France, China, India, Japan, Russia, Australia, Benelux, Poland, Ukraine and several Middle Eastern countries.
The SLTPB plans to call Expression of Interests (EOI) shortly to select PR agencies.
“We are calling for Expression of Interest (EOI), and it only then we will know how much money we will need to spend,” Gomes added.
Following the launch of the proposed multi-country marketing campaign, the SLTPB plans to call tenders for the much delayed multi-billion rupee global marketing campaign, which is likely to take place early next year.
SL to surpass 150,000 tourist arrivals mark this month
Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities expect tourist arrivals to surpass the 150,000 mark this month, recording a year-on-year (YoY) growth for the first time following Easter Sunday attacks.
“We are at least expecting 150,000 tourist arrivals for this month. The daily average is 4, 400 tourist arrivals up to September 8,” SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes said.
Sri Lanka welcomed 149,087 tourists in September last year. Following the Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals declined by 70.8 percent YoY in May, 57 percent YoY in June and 46.9 percent YoY in July.
During last month, Sri Lanka attracted 143,587 tourists, narrowing the YoY decline to 28.3 driven by a surge in arrivals from India along with increased arrivals for the Borah Convention in Colombo, which started early this month.
Although, the organisers of Borah Convention informed that 25,000 participants would visit Sri Lanka, little over 16,000 had in Sri Lanka for the event.
Tourist arrivals in the first eight months declined by 19.9 percent YoY to 1.26 million.
Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga noted that over 1.3 million tourists had visited Sri Lanka as of September 8.
Both Gomes and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Johanne Jayaratne remain confident of achieving 2 million tourist arrivals at the end of this year, after reversing original 3 million arrival target following the Easter Sunday attack.
“September and October are considered to be lean months, and then the arrivals will pick up in November and December. If we can go up to 2 million, we all can be happy,” Gomes said.