Jetwing chief hails ‘So Sri Lanka’ tourism campaign
ECONOMYNEXT – The new ‘So Sri Lanka’ tourism promotions theme and campaign is the best that has ever been, one of the country’s leading hospitality and travel groups said, two days before its launch.
"This is the best campaign I have seen in my professional life," Jetwing Group Chairman Hiran Cooray said yesterday.
Jetwing, a family owned hotels and travel company, is among the three largest industry firms in the country.
"They have included all aspects of Sri Lanka, from beaches to wildlife to culture," Cooray said.
"The material is great," he said.
The campaign with the tagline ‘So Sri Lanka’ will debut at the WTM London travel show tomorrow (November 05).
J. Walter Thompson created the campaign, which will cost the state two million dollars, funded through levies collected from formal tourism businesses and one third of the airport tax.
Tourism stakeholders would be hoping for consistency, as in the past, within a period of 10 years, Sri Lanka’s tag line changed multiple times, ranging from ‘Refreshingly Sri Lanka’, ‘Small Miracle’, ‘Wonder of Asia’ to ‘A Land Like No Other’.
In a combination of factors including a lack of promotions, competition from the informal sector and poor management of hotels has seen the formal industry suffer, and is now going through a phase of mergers and acquisitions.
John Amaratunga the official tourism minister until last week, had said that Sri Lanka had been marketed as a tourism destination mainly through word of mouth, instead of state promotions efforts over the past few years.
A new Tourism Minister, Vasantha Senanayake, was appointed after a controversial change in Prime Minister last week.
Usually, new ministers roll back all policies and programmes of their predecessors, especially if the political party in power changes.
However, Senanayake, speaking to employees at the ministry, had pledged to support the promotion campaign to be launched.
"He was very supportive of letting us carry on with the campaign," an official source said.
"He said he wasn’t going to change anything as long as it’s beneficial for the country and he won’t look through the lens of a political party."
An off-season promotion, television advertising and a digital marketing campaign are ongoing.
Industry sources said there have been changes at Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau, with Chairman Dehan Seneviratne leaving following recent political turmoil.
Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramaniam left as well after his contract expired yesterday. Renewing a contract requires cabinet approval, sources said. (Colombo/Nov04/2018)