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SL to unveil short-term tourism promotion blitz next week

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): With increasing tourist arrivals and innovative strategies in place, Sri Lanka Tourism will unveil the first phase of the highly anticipated check-in promotion next week under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Sri Lanka has welcomed over 51,500 tourists during the first 10 days of the month, propelling the impetus to reach the monthly target of 149,075 arrivals.

The country received 51,594 tourists during the first 10 days of the month, comprising 35,775 during the first week, and 15,819 in the balance three days.

The first 10-day arrivals have also pushed the cumulative figure to date to 819,507, driving the impetus to continue in the year 2023.

India continues to grow reflecting 18% or 9,146, followed by the UK with 13% or 6,939, China with 7% or 3,707, France with 6% or 3,249 and Germany with 6% or 3,155.

As per the latest Central Bank data released yesterday, in the first seven months of 2023, tourism earnings were at US $ 1.09 billion, reflecting a 43% increase from the corresponding period of last year, whilst July earnings stood at $ 219 million, showcasing the highest monthly increase thus far.

“President Wickremesinghe will inaugurate the short-term campaign ‘Rejuvenating Sri Lanka’ coinciding with the inauguration of the Hilton Yala Resort on 19 August,” Tourism Minister Harin Fernando told journalists on Thursday.

He affirmed that Sri Lanka Tourism is poised to embark on its comprehensive two-phased marketing blitz with the highly anticipated check-in promotion next week and the long-term campaign targeting 14 markets in October.

“The first wave of the thematic campaign is set to debut in four key markets — India, China, Russia, and Australia. This strategic approach aims to maximise impact while ensuring a gradual and well-structured expansion of the campaign’s reach,” he disclosed

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Chalaka Gajabahu explained that the initial phase of the campaign will focus on ‘Rejuvenating Sri Lanka’ commencing at the end of this month which will span two to three months, followed by the launch of a more extensive thematic long-term campaign focused on 14 key markets scheduled for a grand launch in October.

“For the past 16 years, Sri Lanka Tourism has not undertaken such an extensive campaign. Our approach involves a strategic roll-out, with the thematic campaign being tailored to the booking patterns of our key markets, in a phased manner and not all in one go,” he added.

Gajabahu also addressed the efficient execution of the campaign, noting that the Ministry is spearheading a fast-tracked process with the objective of completing the tender procedure within 21 days — a swift approach necessitated by previous delays caused by issues with tender documents.

Noting that SLTPB has appointed a strategic and creative agency already, he said Sri Lanka Tourism will spend Rs. 1.4 billion over the next 12 months from the end of this month to mark a fresh approach to destination marketing including two domestic campaigns.

He also said plans are underway to conduct two domestic campaigns to remind 22 million Sri Lankans that the warm-friendly people are ready to welcome visitors from around the world.

One campaign is to remind the importance of tourism to locals and the other campaign is aimed at the Sri Lankan diaspora towards luring visitors and investments.

 ”No matter what global campaigns we do, if the local community is not welcoming towards them the efforts put into drawing tourists will not reach its full potential. Thus, a domestic tourism campaign will be launched towards the end of the year,” he said.

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