Contracts awarded for China, India after appeals’ review in Sri Lanka Tourism digital campaign

The delayed second phase of Sri Lanka’s global digital advertising campaign to promote tourism has commenced with the awarding of contracts to two agencies to conduct the campaign in the island’s two biggest source markets, India and China.

The cabinet of Ministers yesterday approved the proposal presented by Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Cultural Affairs John Amarathunga to award the contracts for India and China to Havas Media India Private Ltd. and Ionic Media Institution respectively.

According to the original selections, the tender for the Indian market was to be awarded to Havas Media India at a cost of $697,333, and the tender for the Chinese market to Hylink Digital Solution Co. Ltd. at a price of $684,100.

However, these selections were met with appeals by two agencies that were overlooked. Crayons Communications objected to the pick for the Indian market and Iconic Media Institution appealed the pick for the Chinese market.

The appeals were evaluated by the cabinet appointed standing procurement committee and procurement appeal board, which decided that the Chinese contract should be awarded to Iconic, while the Indian contract would remain with Havas Media.

Havas Media India is the Indian arm of Havas Media, a global media network operating in over 140 countries worldwide and Ionic Media, headquartered in Beijing, has worked with Sri Lanka Tourism and SriLankan Airlines previously, in addition to handling tourism campaigns for India, Turkey and the Dominican Republic.

More than a year after it was first announced, Sri Lanka finally commenced the global digital campaign for tourism in mid August with the awarding of contracts to three foreign agencies to conduct the campaigns in UK, Germany and France.

The three campaigns have a combined budget of US$ 2 million, or Rs. 338 million, and are scheduled to run for 6 months during the period travelers in Western Europe traditionally research and book their end-of-year and spring holidays.

The US$ 703,480 UK campaign was awarded to Digital Spring (Ltd), the US$ 697,770 German campaign to Media Consulta and the US$ 706,460 campaign in France to Interface Tourism Institute.

A week after the awarding of the contracts for Western Europe, Minister Amaratunga announced that the new Country branding for Sri Lanka Tourism will be unveiled at the World Travel Mart (WTM) in London in November 2018, and the process of selecting a global branding agency for this purpose has commenced. He said that this would be followed by a global marketing campaign, for which the RFP process will be executed in the final quarter of 2018.

For the first seven months of 2018, Sri Lanka has attracted over 1.38 million tourists, up 13.7% year on year, with the government hoping to reach three million tourists by the year end.