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Sunday, 3 January 2016

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Sri Lanka Tourism launches marketing plan

Sri Lanka Tourism has formulated a broad strategic marketing plan for this year, with private and public sector stakeholders addressing long standing needs of the industry and the future expectations of the country as a tourism destination.

Sri Lanka Tourism recorded 18.1% growth with 1.5 million arrivals up to November 2015. The total tourism revenue generated was US$ 2.2 billion. In this backdrop, the tourism promotional plan has been formulated based on five strategic objectives.

Attracting 2.2 million visitors, increasing the average daily spend of a tourist up to US$ 200 and also the average stay, generating a tourism revenue of US$ 2.75 billion will be the key performance measures.

Increasing Sri Lanka's brand value up to US$ 80 million through tactical marketing campaigns focusing on main product offerings will serve as the overall goal of the promotional strategy.

The core destination promotional tools will be enhanced such as advertising and PR to implement a global advertising campaign and global PR initiative to stay ahead of the major competitors.

The advertising campaign will be implemented in line with the Nation Branding Campaign initiated by the government.

The strategic choice for country promotions has been constantly challenged by the global trend towards internet and online based destination marketing in recent years.

Most of the traditional marketing tools are outdated with the introduction of web-based booking engines, tour planning, e-marketing and other real time services available to frequent travellers online. Considering these developments, Sri Lanka Tourism has opted to implement a full-fledged online and digital marketing campaign this year.

The campaign will create language specific web sites for all main markets and will promote the destination on focused online and social media platforms identified in each country. There will be a focus on attracting travel bloggers with a high reputation to act as brand ambassadors generating credibility by providing first-hand publicity for Sri Lanka based on experience gathered by visiting the country.

The trade familiarization tours and media familiarization tours will continue to be a major component of the marketing plan.

About 300 travel agents and 200 travel media will be invited from around the world under the familiarization tours hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism. Familiarization tours will attract prominent print and electronic media to Sri Lanka to produce and generate articles on the destination and its tourism products.

The traditional promotional activities such as participating in travel fairs, conducting roadshows and outdoor promotions will also be carried out in each country. However, this will be implemented based on need. This year, the SLTPB will participate in 46 travel fairs and road shows in 20 countries to develop the brand and generate sales by B2B agent interactions.

While there is an uncertainty of Sri Lankan Airlines continuing to operate in Europe and several other destinations, Sri Lanka Tourism hope to enter into strategic partnerships with airlines connecting the regions capitalising on the 'Open Sky' policy of the government

Strategic partnerships will be developed with key airlines and work with new airlines such as Austrian Air and Malindu Air and Air China.

The tourism strategy has allocated budgets for working with airlines and strategic partnerships along with attracting charter flights.

Positioning Sri Lanka as a venue for international and domestic events will be a key component of the marketing strategy. Sri Lanka Tourism hope to stage internationally acclaimed tourism related events in Sri Lanka such as Arugam Bay Pro-Surf, Kiteathelon, and Adventure Tourism events.

Over 25 cultural and religious events and arts and entertainment events that has a direct impact on tourism development will be conducted by Sri Lanka Tourism .

The activities will be strengthened by increased monetary contributions.

Steps will be taken to improve the quality of tourism products by investing in infrustructre development. Tourism information centres will be strengthened to better serve travellers . Local media campaigns, new product development, niche segment development, working with Provincial Councils for domestic tourism development are part of the strategy.

Sri Lanka will host the largest ever French travel agent's congress SNAV, by attracting 600 travel agents from France.

The congress will provide huge exposure in Europe, especially in French-speaking countries.

Sri Lanka Tourism hope to promote the country as a destination for MICE travel and leisure travellers by proving its capacity to host events of this type.

Sri Lanka has also won the host country status for PATA 2017 which will provide similar exposure to the destination.

The tourism strategic marketing plan will focus on a long-term results-oriented approach to develop the tourism industry than serving short term goals.

To improve efficiency and to facilitate investment a new organisation 'Agency for Development' will be formed.

Sri Lanka will adopt a concerted and coordinated approach linking the private and public sectors and all stakeholders, to assess policies that govern sustainable travel and tourism. - Sri Lanka Tourism media release.

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