SL Tourism to pump in Rs. 3.5 b for global marketing

Tuesday, 8 March 2016 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • 2016 Budget reflects increase of 17% from 2015 

  • Country-specific marketing activities will cost Rs. 1.5 b, top 5 source market spend to top Rs. 880 m

  • First-ever digital marketing campaign to be launched

  • Promotional campaigns with national carrier and international airlines to be launched soon

  • Rs. 287 m for visiting journalist programs and trade fairs

In a mission to boost tourism earnings, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) confirmed that a total of Rs. 3.4 billion would be utilised for marketing activities in 2016.

SLTPB Marketing Director Madubhani Perera told the Daily FT that this year the Sri Lankan brand image was set to get a boost with its first-ever digital marketing campaign which would be unveiled in potential source markets.

“We are planning on spending Rs. 200 million on digital marketing and thinking of which platforms we should work on because in different countries their preferences are different. We are not planning to do TV advertising because it’s very expensive and we still have balance payments to be made for advertisements we did last time.”


From its annual marketing budget, SLTPB is slated to spend Rs. 1.5 billion on country specific marketing which includes up to 22 countries. The top five countries which will get the bulk of the exposure from proposed promotions include China, India, UK, France and the Middle Eastern countries. A projected total of Rs. 800 million has been allocated for these countries.  

Perera also noted that SLTPB has plans to obtain proposals for joint collaborative campaigns with a handful of international airlines as well as SriLankan Airlines and the budget allocated for this is Rs. 50 million.

“We are overlooking a SriLankan Airlines promotional campaign in the mode of outdoor and social media campaigns in UK, Germany, France and Japan. We will use their offices and their connections in those countries and we have put forward a cabinet paper and we are hoping to kick-start it by April.”


She pointed out that the commencement of direct flights to Sri Lanka by Austrian Air had provided an opportunity for promotions, adding that Air China and Air Korea were also on the cards for joint promotions.

“We currently in discussions with them and hoping to finalise agreements within three to four months,” she added.

SLTDA Chairman Paddy Withana stated that trade familiarisation tours and visiting journalist programs organised with the travel industry were key attributes on the event calendar.

According to him, 300 travel agents are set to be hosted while SLTPB has already hosted 17 travel agents from France during February.


“We are also planning to welcome over 200 print media journalists, including bloggers who are very influential these days. We hope they will write good things about the country and help us grow our numbers,” Withana stated.

He also mentioned that SLTPB was eagerly waiting to showcase Sri Lanka at the ITB Berlin Travel Fair in Germany this month. It’s the largest travel industry exhibition and reportedly attracts 185 countries, with 64 Sri Lankan companies expected to participate this time. On 10 March plans have been made to hold a press conference in Germany targeting 50 journalists.

An estimated Rs. 187 million has been set apart for visiting journalist programs while Rs. 100 million will be spent on trade fair related expenses.

Meanwhile, to facilitate tourists, a Tourism Information Centre (TIC) is proposed to be set up in the transit lounge at the Bandaranaike International Airport while the Kandy Cultural Centre is also being considered as a probable location for a TIC. Re-modernisation of the BIA and Walipanna TICs will happen parallel to the procedures.