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SL continues to struggle with brand image, says tourism industry veteran

22 November 2021 12:07 am - 11     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Says country being identified as both ‘Sri Lanka’ and ‘Ceylon’ makes marketing difficult
  • Stresses need for global promotion campaign for tourism to kick off without delay
  • Cautions delay in campaign rollout will lead to SL continuing to lure in low spending tourists

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Although several plans have been conceptualised and rolled out for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry to move towards recovery, branding and positioning of the island nation is yet to be effectively executed, a tourism industry veteran highlighted.


Sri Lanka Tourism Advisory Committee President Hiran Cooray pointed out that despite several efforts directed towards branding, the country is continued to be identified as both ‘Sri Lanka’ and ‘Ceylon,’ making it difficult to position and market the country. 


“This is a country that has never been positioned.  

This is a country that’s struggling with brand image. We have two names Ceylon and Sri Lanka,” said Cooray addressing a marketing forum held in Colombo recently.


“Now they have started Ceylon coffee, also, you know, and Ceylon salons and Ceylon everything. So are we going back and renaming ourselves?”


Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga recently announced that a five-year plan would be implemented to help revive the COVID-19-struck sector.


The global advertising campaign has been in the works for over five years, but due to changes in government and the tender processes the project had been delayed. The outcome of the delays was the rolling out of a small-scale, adhoc marketing campaign.


Earlier this November, a tender was called once again for the execution of the Sri Lanka Tourism global promotion campaign and it is expected by the first quarter of 2022. While stressing on the pressing need to kick off the global campaign for tourism, Cooray asserted that failing to implement the exercise would be detrimental to the industry going forward.


“I hope and pray every day that the marketing campaign, the communication campaign will be launched soon. If that does not happen we will continue to get low spending tourists into the country,” said Cooray.


As reiterated by the industry many instances before, he also pointed out that it is imperative to focus on attracting high spending tourists and move away from counting the number of heads entering the country.

 

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  Comments - 11

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  • D R WILLIAM Monday, 22 November 2021 09:13 AM

    Very correct. It is no use of counting heads visiting Sri Lanka especially less spending or no spending Indian tourists. We must attract high spending tourists. Tourism Industry should be free of political interference and professionals should be engaged to promote tourism in Sri Lanka

    BuffaloaCitizen Monday, 22 November 2021 09:19 AM

    Well we have good brand image by marketing a country of Citizens who destroyed a nation from incept of independence due to continuous racism. Come visit this unique race called Sinhalese.

    SM Perera Monday, 22 November 2021 10:24 AM

    Unfortunate but 100% true. That is the reality. The last 13 years has just demonstrated this crystal clearly all over again It is time for self reflection. Even countries like Bangladesh, burdened by a tremendous population, few natural resources and enormous climate challenges, are pulling ahead while Sri Lanka is going backwards. The Easter Bombing conspiracy only shows jealousy and hunger for power is lowering the depths to which people will go.

    Richard Vonhagt Monday, 22 November 2021 10:30 AM

    It's important to go stay with "Ceylon" since it's refined, dignified, and classy. It is evocative of a glorious past, whereas "Sri Lanka" is both distasteful and Indianesque. Stick with Ceylon and tourism will boom, at least to a certain degree.

    Tom Kirkman Monday, 22 November 2021 10:51 AM

    How many five year plans have we had every time the government changed? Take Maldives for an example. They had just 4 five year plans in the last 20 years.

    Sandy Monday, 22 November 2021 11:06 AM

    What image can a country have when tourists who come to the country have to clean up the plastic on beach, spend their own money to treat street dogs.

    joshua Monday, 22 November 2021 12:16 PM

    The TDL collected from SLTDA is being spent for worthless exercises due to improper practices and political interferences. It is good as throwing the money in the drains.

    Kanday Monday, 22 November 2021 12:22 PM

    Time to switch back to Ceylon. A beautiful name from a marketing point of view. Nothing but trouble since changing the name to Sri "auspicious" Lanka

    A Monday, 22 November 2021 02:59 PM

    Deffntly Ceylon Is the best Name

    Ceylon_Citizen Tuesday, 23 November 2021 12:43 AM

    @ Richard Vonhagt I have been pondering on this over a couple of decades. Ever since the name was changed to Sri Lanka in 70s the descent turned into a nose dive for the country.

    BARN OWL Tuesday, 23 November 2021 05:16 AM

    Check numerology for Ceylon and Sri Lanka. You might as well add a letter and call it Shri Lanka. Either it was numerology or a mental sickness. Might as well call it cheelanka now.


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