The Ministry of Tourism has launched a ‘Travel Card’ in an initiative to further promote Sri Lanka’s tourism industry as a prelude to the much-awaited tourism promotion campaign focusing on nine key markets in May this year.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed yesterday (21 Feb.) between the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and the National Development Bank (NDB).
Accordingly, those registered as various service providers to the tourism industry under the SLTDA are eligible to obtain the ‘Travel Card’, granting them access to special benefits when dealing with tourists, Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said.
He further noted that the card will be made available not only to service providers in the tourism industry, but also to those tourists visiting Sri Lanka.
The initiative is expected to enable the provision of several qualitative services within the industry, such as clear, updated statistics on the number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka, the exchanging of foreign currencies brought by tourists and ensuring that tourists are able to obtain all required goods and services in a safe manner.
As Sri Lanka is looking to bring about a renewed brand identity that will help it capture a bigger share of the global tourism market, plans are afoot to do away with the ‘So Sri Lanka’ tagline.
With the preparations underway to launch the much-awaited tourism promotion campaign focusing on nine key markets in May this year, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) y said it is exploring the possibility of adopting a new brand identity, replacing the ‘So Sri Lanka’ tagline.
The SLTPB recently floated the tender to appoint a creative agency to develop strategies and creatives for the proposed 360-degree communication campaign.
According to the amended terms of the TOR of the tender, the creative agency is not required to retain the ‘So Sri Lanka’ tagline in the proposed campaign.
SLTPB Chairman Chalaka Gajabahu noted that the effectiveness of the ‘So Sri Lanka’ brand is rather unclear, as the country did not have an integrated communication campaign during the past decade to build the brand focus.
Until 2000, the brand focus for Sri Lanka was on its sun, sea and sand, with a beach focus. However, gradually this was shifted to other offerings such as ‘nature, culture and adventure’
The destination’s advertising theme was initially ‘a land like no other’, which was changed to ‘Sri Lanka – Wonder of Asia’ in 2012. The pillars of Variety (in seeing and being), Compactness and Authenticity served as the foundation for this phrase.
The new branding ‘So Sri Lanka’ was presented by Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities in 2018, with a focus on the adaptability and diversity of Sri Lanka’s product range (especially digital adaptability).
Under the proposed campaign, Gajabahu noted that Sri Lanka would promote the destination in nine key markets, which include the UK, Germany, France, India, China, Australia, Russia Middle East and Scandinavia, by desalinating the message that “Sri Lanka is ready to receive tourists” over a one-year period.
Commenting on the Chinese market, he said that several road shows and influence programmes are already planned for the market.
In addition, the SLTPB together with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) is spearheading efforts to come up with a 10-year blueprint for the tourism sector.For 2023, the government targets to attract 1.55 million tourists to earn a US $ 2.8 billion income.