Sri Lanka Tourism unveils its broad strategic plan for 2016

first_imgThe tourism industry of Sri Lanka is poised for growth to achieve sustainable development phase within the next few years, based on the strategic direction determined by the new government. Sri Lanka Tourism has formulated a broad Strategic Marketing Plan for year 2016, with the participation of private and public sector stakeholders addressing long standing needs of the industry and the future expectations of the country as a tourism destination.In 2015, up to the month of November, Sri Lanka Tourism recorded 18.1% growth on arrivals with 1.5 million arrivals. The total tourism revenue generated was $2.2 billion. At this backdrop, the tourism promotional plan of year 2016 has been formulated based on five key strategic objectives. Attracting a target number of 2.2 million visitors with 26% annual growth, increasing average daily expenditure of a tourist up to $200 and average stay, contributing to generate total tourism revenue up to $2.75 billion will be the key performance measures. Uplifting Sri Lanka’s brand value up to $80 million through tactical marketing campaigns focusing on main product offerings of the county will serve as the overall goal of the promotional strategy devised for 2016.The core destination promotional tools will be enhanced such as advertising and PR to implement a global advertising campaign and global PR initiative to stay ahead of the major competitors to Sri Lanka. The advertising campaign will be implemented in line with the Nation Branding Campaign initiated by the government of Sri Lanka thus by choosing leading service providers following the government procurement guidelines.Most of the traditional marketing tools have been outdated with the introduction of web based booking engines, tour planning, e-marketing and other real time services available to frequent travellers online. Considering these developments, Sri Lanka Tourism has opted to implement a fully-fledged online and digital marketing campaign for year 2016. The campaign will create language specific web sites for all main markets and will promote the destination on focused online and social media platforms identified in each country.  Special prominence has been given to attract travel bloggers with high reputation who will act as brand ambassadors generating credibility providing first-hand publicity for Sri Lanka based on experience gathered by visiting the country.The trade familiarisation tours and media familiarisation tours would continue to be a major component of year 2016 marketing plan. Overall 300 travel agents and 200 travel media would be facilitated from the countries around the world under the familiarisation tours hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism. Familiarisation tours would attract prominent print and electronic media to Sri Lanka to produce and generate articles on the destination and its tourism products.The traditional promotional activities such as participating for travel fairs, conducting roadshows and outdoor promotions will also be carried out in each country. However this will be focused and implemented based on the need analysis. In 2016, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) will participate at 46 travel fairs and road shows in 20 key countries.Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to enter into strategic partnerships with Sri Lankan Airlines and new Airlines connecting the regions, capitalising on the ‘Open Sky’ policy of the government of Sri Lanka. It is planned to develop strategic partnerships with all existing key airlines and work with new airlines like Austrian Air and Malindo Air and Air China who will have new operations to Sri Lanka. The tourism strategy has allocated budgets for working with airlines and strategic partnerships along with attracting charter flights.Positioning Sri Lanka as a venue for international and domestic events would be a key component of the 2016 marketing strategy. Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to stage internationally acclaimed tourism related events in Sri Lanka during next year such as Arugam Bay Pro- Surf, Kiteathelon, Adventure Tourism events etc.Steps will be taken to improve the quality of tourism products by investing on the infrastructure developments. Tourism information centres will be strengthened for better serving the travellers. Local media campaigns, new product developments, niche segments development, working with provincial councils for domestic tourism development are part of the strategy formulated for 2016.During 2016, Sri Lanka will host the largest ever French travel agent’s congress SNAV, by attracting 600 travel agents from France to the country.  The congress will provide huge exposure for the destination in Europe, especially in French speaking countries. Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to promote the country as a destination for MICE travel and leisure travellers by proving its capacity to host events of this capacity. Sri Lanka has also won the host country status for PATA 2017 which provide similar exposure to the destination. The bidding process will continue to attract more congresses, incentive travellers and events with the objective of making Sri Lanka the MICE hub of Asia. The government of Sri Lanka has provided special concessions to MICE travel development which is an encouraging factor to invest in this sector.The new tourism strategic marketing plan of 2016 will focus on the long term result oriented approach to develop tourism industry in Sri Lanka than serving short term goals. Supported by the strong presence of the newly appointed Tourism Advisory Committee, Prime Minister, Board of Directors ,Chairman, Tourism Minister & Deputy Minister and the Ministry Secretary, it is aimed at laying the foundation for a far sighted tourism development strategy based on the industry inputs garnered from decades of experience, analysing research findings and country’s competitive position while being attuned to constant challenges faced by soci-political and cultural environment in the world tourism landscape.last_img

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