Marketing strategy to promote tourism
An artiste is a beacon light that illuminates the refreshing roadway
to reach ‘Wonder of Asia’ status – President Mahinda Rajapaksa
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s target of getting 2.5 million foreign
tourists by 2016 is not a difficult task at all provided the following
strategic plan is put in to act right way:
(1) Transforming the Colombo City as the foremost metropolis in Asia
to be completed within the next five years.
(2) Development of tourism related infrastructure in a fast paced
manner to complete them within the next five years.
(3) Turning the entire country to look like a very beautiful Park
(like the botanical gardens) with greenery developed on an aesthetically
(4) To set in motion an effective global marketing campaign to
promote and publicize Sri Lanka tourism destination as the most
captivating and as A “land like no other” anywhere in the whole world.
This writer is not a direct stakeholder of tourism related business
enterprises but as a movie maker who is dedicated to put the image of
Sri Lanka globally through the production of Motion Picture films for
worldwide exhibition is interested in tourism.
Therefore this writer has visualized several promotional and
marketing campaigns to encompass the entire world than the presently
limited campaigns that are targeted to some European countries only.
Proposals on tourism related infrastructure
(1) To establish a tourism oriented theme park under the title of
Discover Sri Lanka Center: where 25 centuries co-exist.
(2) To add a film oriented theme park Attached to the Mahinda
Rajapaksa Tele Cinema Park in Ranmihitenna in Tissamaharama
(3) To Develop the infrastructure facilities directly pertaining to
the Ramayana Trail (original concept of this idea was suggested by this
writer four years ago which the then Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Renton
de Alwis wholeheartedly implemented) and to expand the publicity
campaign in India to Lure at least one million tourists from India
annually out of the 250 million rich middle class buying power of
citizens in India.
In the long-term this will have enormous influence to mould opinion
within India that will bind Indo-Sri Lanka cultural relations in an
unprecedented way that will become a strong assets to our country.
(4) Build a cable car system across the entire Horton Plains in the
Knuckles Range to view the world’s end which is now a UNESCO World
(5) Turn Talangama wetland as a bird paradise.
(6) In order to eliminate the beggar population specially the street
children out of the sight of tourists a national plan to rehabilitate
them should be implemented immediately.
(7) Complete elimination of touts, pickpockets, thieves and petty
hawkers harassing tourists and removing stray dogs, all of which are a
menace to visiting tourists.
(8) To create and mould within the next five years the most cultured
and disciplined nation in the world out of our citizenry. It is
fundamentally and compulsorily important to activate the rules by the
enforcement of Rule of Law.
Films will propel Sri Lanka tourism globally
Although Network Television is the most potent medium for tourism
promotion, the exorbitant cash involved in advertising a commercial
adfilm is financially prohibitive to a developing country like Sri
Therefore most of the countries that promote Tourism, invest on
movies to be made on locations on their countries. This way they not
only earn profits by worldwide sale of films and also get publicity to
their travel destination.
Therefore this writer, being an experienced filmmaker, plans to
produce American movies in Sri Lanka for the worldwide market place.
The founding father of Sri Lanka Tourism late P A Ediriweera of
Ceylon Tours Ltd, knew the power and the impact of motion picture films
on publicizing our country’s tourism potential.
As far back as the fifties he went to Hollywood and invited leading
American film producers to shoot their films on locations in Sri Lanka.
Actually it was cinema that propelled Sri Lanka’s tourism
internationally specially because of Ediriweera’s pioneering
contribution. In the sixtees he co-produced the German Film Three Yellow
Cats in collaboration with the German film producer Theo Maria Werner.
This film was shot extensively in the Mount Lavinia Hotel, which
Ediriweera managed at that time.
This film was a super hit in Germany and became the catalyst for
promoting German tourists to Sri Lanka – and made the Mount Lavinia
Hotel a prime destination for German speaking tourists.
Now that peace is restored, Sri Lanka Tourism has tremendous
potential to make it a global phenomenon. It needs to be revived on a
more aggressive and effective manner by using the vast popularity and
the great impact that movies can help promote tourism. It was the
classic movies like Casablanca, Out of Africa that virtually propelled
Africa as a tourist destination.
It is my firm belief that my proposed American film project will lay
a strong foundation to publicize Sri Lanka Tourism globally to lure
international tourists to Sri Lanka.
Moreover it is my conviction that these films specifically targeted
America, the mightiest market in the world where the world’s richest
travellers live and work, will permanently build a vast conglomerate of
tourist arrivals from USA alone.
Following are some of the movies that are planned to be produced
under a film company named Amerilanka Entertainment
(1) “Awakening of a lotus” is an extraordinary motion picture film
project to be made entirely in Sri Lanka as an American movie with Sri
Lankan investment for sale in the worldwide market place.
The story of the film is woven around a suspenseful drama of a young
American woman who visits Sri Lanka to meet her boyfriend who had come
to Sri Lanka earlier. When she arrives at the address where her
boyfriend was staying, it was revealed that he had gone to practise
meditation without giving his whereabouts.
This leads the young woman to travel around the country passing all
the attractive tourist spots specially the major Buddhist shrines that
make this movie a unique kind of a travelogue, which will promote Sri
Lanka’s Buddhist Trails.
The hospitality trade is the real beneficiary of this movie. As this
movie will use several important tourist hotels in the country as
background setting due to its direct connection to the story where the
character of the Leading Opposite actor is portrayed as a hotelier.
These hotels where this film is to be shot will have a great exposure
internationally when the film becomes a shattering box office bonanza
all over the world.
Moreover the outdated thinking of seasonal tourism will disappear and
a year round tourism will emerge as in other countries of Asia.
This film will be sold at a top notch film market in the world and it
will have its first simultaneous theatrical exhibition all over the
world. Thereafter it will go into the ancillary sales in Network
Television, DVD Cable, Satellite TV, Airline exhibition.
Internet markets and their exposure all around the world will last
for more than five years.
(2) Revolt against terror – a major block buster spectacular movie
depicting the humanitarian operation.
(3) Hunters of the blue sapphire – an action adventure film that
promotes Sri Lanka Gem Trade
(4) Paradise of healing – a film that promotes the herbal and
Ayurvedic Therapy and Treatment.
(5) The yellow robe – Story of an American GI in Vietnam becoming a
Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka (screenplays of all these film projects are
registered and copyrighted in USA)
Restoration of the original brand
It is unfortunate that the government has not investigated and
pronounced a public statement so far that led to the disastrous blunder
of replacing a uniquely wonderful logo (which is the Brand) that was
removed without giving any valid reasons as to why it should be
Multi million rupees were squandered on this subject and this writer
vehemently objected and alerted to this replacement and a document was
circulated among all the executives in Sri Lanka Tourism including the
then Minister and they did not heed.
So finally this writer appealed to the President to intervene and he
not only stopped it the Tourism Minister was also removed averting a
tragic event that would have doomed Sri Lanka Tourism.
In the creatively original logo that was taken from the Sigiriya
Fresco, that depicts the fingers holding a flower is a symbol of welcome
in the Sinhala cultural tradition which in modern times evolved into
With regard to the theme word used an analytical explanation on the
rightful use of the brand name was delineated in an article published in
the Sunday Observer dated April 26, 2009 by an erudite scholar who
writes mostly on Sri Lanka’s cultural traditions. For the glory of Sri
Lanka Tourism the government must restore this great Logo and the Brand
that truly represent our motherland and its cultural glory.
Essential marketing materials
Among the many documentary short films that should be made, this
writer suggested to the Sri Lanka, Tourism authorities to bring out a
special brochure by reproducing the article written by Sir Arthur C
Clarke under the name of Sri Lanka: The Resplendent Island: which is so
far the most comprehensive and the greatest essay ever written on Sri
Lanka to promote Sri Lanka Tourism.
This writer also suggested to use the following slogan in the cover
page and also gave some ideas about its understructure for designing
many months ago but nothing has so far come out of the SLTDA or its
This writer gave the following slogan as the best suited to Lure the
Tourists to Sri Lanka Tourism Destination.
“Sri Lanka is the best tonic for anyone to get rejuvenated. (body,
mind and spirit). A visit to Sri Lanka, the enchanting island provides a
travelogue type experience on beautiful destinations and the most
hospitable and smiling people in the world” visit enticingly green Sri
Implementation of these proposals will not only fulfil the main
objective but also bring with it economic benefits to make Sri Lanka a
prosperous country, within the next five years and transform it as the
wonder of Asia.