Sri Lanka to boost lesser known tourist attractions in off-season
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is using off-season promotional packages from September to November 2018, when arrivals from traditional markets fall, to boost awareness of lesser known tourist attractions, an official said.
"We are working with bloggers, writers and influencers to promote lesser known attractions," Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramaniam said.
He said the state will attempt to steer tourists away from famous but overcrowded attractions such as Yala, an overcrowded national park and Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress.
The promotional package ‘Island Escapes’, was launched in September 15, in China which was launched on September 15 in China, Middle East and India.
"We need to double (arrivals) and we need to do it now," Balasubramaniam said.
"It may not be the only strategy but it’s a strategy we need to change perceptions. We need to show that Sri Lanka is a year round destination".
The advertising agency in charge of the promotion said that the message will reach 10 million individuals.
In many immature tourism markets, the off-season period allows communities and nature in destinations and around attractions to recover from the stress placed on them during the peak season, analysts say. But in many mature markets, countermeasures have evolved over time.
Some hoteliers and travel agencies did not join the promotion. The packages on offer are heavily discounted.
"This may not suite the palate of all," Balasubramaniam said. "We are not trying to make the destination a cheap one."
"I hope this initiative will create some encouragement and I also invite those who were not a part of this particular bandwagon this year to join next year."
When prices are cut, in slack periods eventually arrivals will go up and prices are eventually expected to move up.
In the 1980s some mature markets like Costa Rica had moved out of boosting numbers to pushing up value.
However Sri Lanka’s arrivals at 2.1 million is still very low compared to East Asian destinations like Malaysia which had 25.9 million arrivals last year. (Colombo/Sept18/2018)