- Tourism Minister to seek Cabinet approval next week
- SLTPB will float tender for marketing agency following Cabinet nod
- Marketing agency to be tasked with identifying suitable products to promote SL in each of eight markets
By Nishel Fernando
Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga is to seek Cabinet approval for the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the three-year global tourism promotional campaign next week, to begin the tendering process to select a marketing agency for the campaign.
The long-delayed global promotional campaign is now expected to be launched in June targeting eight key source markets.
“Based on the work we have done, we believe we should be able to have the marketing agency working with us by June, to launch the campaign,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Kishu Gomes said recently.
He was addressing a press conference in Colombo organised by Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) to announce the 9th edition of ‘Sancharaka Udawa’, the premier tourism and travel exhibition.
Gomes told Mirror Business that SLTPB will float the tender as soon as the Cabinet approval is received.
The Rs.3 billion campaign will target UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Russia, China, India and Australia to promote ‘So Sri Lanka’ brand and sub-brands or themes of Sri Lanka Tourism over the 2019-2021 period.
Gomes noted that the marketing agency will be tasked with identifying suitable products to promote in each of eight markets in line with changing trends.
“The marketing agency will carry out research to assert where we are competitive, promoting the relevant products in the most relevant manner using the medium to reach out identified target groups,” he stressed.
After setting out the groundwork for the campaign, SLTPB will decide whether to implement the campaign by itself or with a partner.
“We can go directly to buy media time or work with the marketing company itself,” he said.
Meanwhile, SLTPB is also preparing to appoint country heads to promote Sri Lanka tourism in selected markets after securing Cabinet approval for a proposal presented by Amaratunga recently.
Gomes noted that such a programme was earlier operational at SLTPB but it got discontinued abruptly.
According to him, SLTPB will appoint one person based in respective countries to promote Sri Lanka tourism on a voluntary basis.
“We will get people who are based there to carry out this task. We will have one person as face of Sri Lanka in those countries. They will also be working with the Sri Lankan mission in respective countries,” he said.
The programme is expected to cover all key source markets.
Gomes also noted that apart from Sri Lankan expatriates residing in those countries, foreigners could also be potential appointees to carry out this task.
“It could be foreigners who understand Sri Lanka, loyal to Sri Lanka, passionate about Sri Lanka and who don’t mind promoting Sri Lanka,” he said.
Gomes, who took over the Chairmanship of SLTPB and SLTDA recently, has promised to deliver three million tourist arrivals this year, capitalising on his over three decade experience at multinational corporations.
Sri Lanka achieved 2.3 million tourist arrivals in 2018.