Sri Lanka to kick-off US$45 million marketing campaign to reverse problems of low demand

Sri Lanka will finally embark on their three-year, US$45 million promotional campaign, targeting higher growth form its top five source markets China, India, the UK, Germany and France as well as the growing markets such as Middle East, Australia and Japan. It is planned to reverse the downward pressure on room rates caused by lack of demand.

Sutheash Balasubramaniam, managing director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), confirmed that a US$650,000 campaign will roll out on CNN platforms by end of April, while a larger, six-month digital marketing campaign targeting the five prime source markets worth US$3.5 million, would be ready to roll by end of May.

There will be a focus on the MICE market. Achini Dandunnage, senior manager of Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB), said: “When calling for proposals to appoint special representatives, they will be asked to include one day specifically for MICE buyers in a two to three-day overseas roadshow.” SLCB is targeting incentive houses and conference organisers while special familiarisation tours are also being organised under these campaigns.

Shiromal Cooray, managing director of Jetwing Travels, said: “This campaign is long overdue and the quicker it starts the better. Our potential visitors need to be constantly reminded about Sri Lanka and its attractions. While other countries have been very high in ‘top of the mind’ marketing, Sri Lanka has been inadequate in this area.”

According to trade leaders, this campaign is expected to create a buzz about the destination in key markets such as India and China. Due to lack of visibility and promotion in international markets, five-star hotels in Sri Lanka have been forced to undersell their room inventory at three-star prices thus far.