SL Tourism to launch US$ 20 mn digital marketing program in May | Daily News

SL Tourism to launch US$ 20 mn digital marketing program in May

SL Tourism will go into a different era of promotional activities, asserted Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara, addressing the 11th AGM of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism (ASMET) on Friday in Colombo.

He said SL Tourism will position the country in a much enhanced manner. “In the last three months our normal promotional initiatives have been enhanced and we are going into a different era of promotional activities. All this started at a different level in January,” Nanayakkara said.

He said from January next year they would launch the much awaited digital marketing program. This was originally planned for the three main European markets UK, Germany and France. A decision has now been made to include India and China into the program. This, a six months crash program budgeted at Rs 600 million will be the stepping to the global program which will come into play from around May next year for a period of 24 months. The global program is valued at US$ 20 million and will consist of various different components. Towards this initiative an enhanced presence will be appointed in eight countries, which are India, China, UK, France, Germany and Dubai which would cover the GCC countries.

“Furthermore, we are going to have our own representatives employed in these countries based in our embassies. We have missions in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai covering India. Whereas in Chin, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou we will have one each in those missions too.”

The whole effort will be driven by a project office based in Colombo and the project office would be outsourced to a reputable company in Sri Lanka after calling for offers in a transparent manner. On to this will come the enhanced PR operation which is called destination marketing units, he said.

With all this the intention is to move Sri Lanka towards a higher level of per day income from visiting tourists.

Sri Lanka Tourisms’ next year target is very ambitious 3 million tourist arrivals. Sri Lanka has been positioned as a winter destination and during the European winter time is Lanka’s peak, Nanayakkara said.

He said they were also looking at converting Sri Lanka into a 365 day destination by looking at various markets that the traffic could be brought in. Towards this initiative there are various activities and Colombo has to be converted as a Centre in South Asia for events. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s the Production for South Asia will be in Colombo from next month and some Sri Lankan cast will also be trained and the theater will start from January 15.

Similarly there are so many adventure and sports events that Sri Lanka is going to host, Nanayakkara disclosed.

“Our offerings have to go beyond sun, sea and heritage. We are looking at various other models. Round the sea with the 1,600 km stretch of beach lays very warm water of the Indian Ocean. During the FWW and SWW Sri Lanka was the main naval base of the British. Round our island there are very iconic shipwrecks in the coastline. We intend introducing submarine visitations for normal tourist who are non divers to view these iconic shipwrecks. Furthermore, he said in July next year they intend hosting the world amateur surfing competition in Arugam Bay and several veteran golf tournaments will be hosted in Sri Lanka. Nanayakkara said there were other events under negotiation which will bring tremendous publicity to Sri Lanka and also visitations from regional tourists.

He said within the next three years another 3,000 five star rooms would be constructed.


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