Global tourism campaign only in second half of year

– Original launch in Berlin replaced by video unveiling recently

Sri Lanka’s much hyped global tourism promotional campaign will only be launched in June or July due to delays stemming from the political crisis in late 2018, The Sunday Morning Business learnt.

The campaign was originally scheduled to be launched at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair, which took place from 6 to 10 March in Germany, but was postponed for the same reasons. However, the So Sri Lanka video depicting Sri Lankan wildlife was launched at the event, which has been well received for its creativity.

Once it was decided that the campaign launch would not take place in Berlin, attempts were made to launch it at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) to be held from 28 April to 1 May in Dubai, as ATM is the leading global event for the travel industry in the Middle East.

However, this plan too has been abandoned due to insufficient time to prepare for a global campaign of that magnitude, and at the moment, June or July appears to be the most realistic targets.

ITB annually welcomes 160,000 visitors from over 180 countries, while ATM sees over 28,000 visitors from 153 countries.

Board approval has been obtained for the launch of the campaign and the relevant cabinet proposal is set to be submitted within the next couple of weeks after which Request for Proposals (RFPs) will be issued.

The $ 2 million contract to develop a new brand identity and strategy for Sri Lanka Tourism was awarded to J. Walter Thompson Sri Lanka (JWT), the local office of one of the world’s oldest advertising agencies, in October 2018. Sri Lanka’s new tourism tagline, “So Sri Lanka”, was developed by the agency and was launched at the World Travel Market 2018 in November.
A total of 2.3 million arrivals were recorded in 2018, compared to 2.1 million arrivals in 2017. Furthermore, tourist arrivals from all major regions, except East Asia and the Middle East, increased last year. India remained the leading source country for tourist arrivals in 2018, while China remained the second largest market, though with a marginal decline, followed by the UK, Germany, and Australia. Tourism sector earnings rose to $ 4.38 billion in 2018, in comparison to $ 3.92 billion in 2017, Central Bank of Sri Lanka data showed.