Despite being considerably affected by the recent COVID -19 outbreak, Sri Lanka Tourism is currently taking several measures to revive the Tourism sector by collaborating with key international organizations, and platforms, through destination promotional marketing among new markets via social and digital media
Despite being considerably affected by the recent COVID -19 outbreak, Sri Lanka Tourism is currently taking several measures to revive the Tourism sector by collaborating with key international organizations, and platforms, through destination promotional marketing among new markets via social and digital media.
It is well known that the travel and tourism industry worldwide has faced a major drawback regarding the ongoing COVID -19 crisis, and Sri Lanka faces a tough challenge in encouraging tourist arrivals with the new health precautions and safety guidelines in place.
Sri Lanka has been highly successful in its efforts to control the spread of COVID -19 and has proven that the country is not just the world’s number one travel destination, but also a destination with an excellent health care system.
As one of the leading media giants in the world, BBC extended its valuable support to Sri Lanka Tourism during this challenging time, by entering into a no –cost partnership with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) through a comprehensive advertising campaign.
As a result, the campaign was launched in June 2020 with a coverage of 375 spots on 30-second commercials for a period of one month and were aired in South Asia, Asia Pacific, Middle East, North America and Europe news feeds of the BBC Network, (both Digital and TV).The high visibility destination marketing campaign was a result of the long-standing partnership with the media platform and a testament to Sri Lanka’s proactive guidelines and protocols that have been put in place to provide travelers from across the world a ‘safe and secure’ experience in a post COVID 19 environment.
In the current context, a large number of travelers from around the world are eagerly awaiting the re-commencement of their tours or have had to put on hold their travel plans until the situation is controlled. Considering that the destination marketing space will be highly competitive in this ‘new normal ‘, continuous visibility of the Sri Lanka Tourism brand is essential.
SLTPB is currently working on several advertising campaigns to keep Sri Lanka at the forefront among the selected target markets is geared up to promote our paradise island once more as a top travel and tourism destination with a diverse range of attractions from pristine beaches to lush green mountains and an island that offers ‘unmissable experiences’ while ensuring the safety of all travelers.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Tourism said it has been in discussion with the European Union Office in Colombo regarding the most effective use of a Euro 3.5 million government to government grant offered to help recover from the crisis.
The total grant to the Sri Lankan government was Euro 22 million, allocated primarily to support agriculture and farmers, with Euro 3.5 million allocated to support the tourism sector.
“We are pleased to announce that the EU is considering increasing the grant to EUR 4 million and are awaiting final clearance from head office. A key focus is supporting the SME segment to increase overall yield and grow tourism revenue that would benefit wider segments of society,” stated Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairperson, Kimarli Fernando.
“The fact that 100 percent of the funding is invested in Sri Lanka to support Sri Lankans and to develop long-term competencies, as opposed to the conventional practice of donor funding being diverted back to donor countries, is a matter of pride for Sri Lanka Tourism. Especially when the resumption of long-haul travel and consumer sentiment is very uncertain, investing within Sri Lanka is sensible.”
The grant utilization criteria communicated to the government by the EU included support to SME’s and Wellness Tourism, including Ayurveda and Hela Wedakama. The EU has had an ongoing development program for the Wellness sector in Sri Lanka for several years.
Accordingly, Sri Lanka Tourism has agreed with the donor to include 1) one-time cash handouts to small & medium hotels 2) upskilling employees in soft skills, sanitary standards, business management 3) programs with SME/homestays to develop nature and community-based products through a small grant program 4) wellness sector – product development, branding, marketing, certification of wellness resorts focusing on Ayurveda & Hela Wedakama.
Dhammika Wijayasinghe, Director-General SLTDA stated “Product development will be led by the private sector who is already in this segment. Wellness could make a significant contribution to Sri Lanka Tourism sustainable development goals.”
With Sri Lanka’s success in battling COVID-19 due in part to indigenous medicine as well as the fact that Wellness tourism is the fastest-growing sector globally, with indigenous cures highly prized by Western travellers, focusing on this area will yield dividends.