Sri Lanka’s new destination brand ‘So Sri Lanka’ debuts at WTM

Tuesday, 6 November 2018 00:06 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka’s new destination brand, ‘So Sri Lanka’, debuted yesterday at the opening day of the World Travel Mart (WTM) 2018 in London.

Encapsulating the essence of Sri Lanka, its authenticity, diversity and all of its richness is an expression that sums up the travels and tales of a Sri Lankan experience, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau said. 

At the launch of the new strategy and slogan, newly appointed Tourism Minister Vasantha Senanayake said that the ‘So Sri Lanka’ brand is not only exhilarating, it’s the beginning of a new era. “We envisage that tourism will flourish to be the most significant sector contributing to our economy – that’s the goal we aspire to reach in the next few years,” he added.

“It is also important mentioning that this is the first time in history that Sri Lanka Tourism has worked towards building a strategic digital-first perspective. ‘So Sri Lanka’ is an amplifier brand that supports and engages typical millennial travel exploration. This is important in view of the statistic that in 2020, 50% of travel revenue will be spent by millennials, and Asia is a millennial favourite. So, we are committed to making Sri Lanka future-savvy and a vibrantly relevant destination going forward.”

The Minister unveiled the new slogan along with Guest of Honour Lord Naseby.

Lord Naseby in his speech said: “I think Sri Lanka in its very composition – geographically compact, naturally diverse, culturally dynamic and contemporary in its outlook – is very clever and enticing for any type of British traveller. ‘So Sri Lanka’ is intriguing and impactful, and for a country competing with the best destinations across the globe – this interpretation of the magic of the island I’ve visited countless times and loved more with each experience – is fresh, memorable and universal in its sentiment. There truly is nothing quite like Sri Lanka.” 

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in the United Kingdom Manisha Gunesekere said: “The launch of ‘So Sri Lanka’ at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London is a testament to the importance of the UK tourism market to our island. As the third-largest contributor to Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, with significant year-on-year growth, I am particularly pleased that the beginning of this momentous journey starts here.”

In the last 10 years, Sri Lanka has seen a steady growth in arrivals and investments. Based on qualitative research findings on inbound tourists for the last three years, the most endearing feature of Sri Lanka as a destination brand is its authenticity. This authenticity is an attribute that is alive in the country’s heritage, cuisine, landscape, architecture, culture and mostly, in its people. Recently, Lonely Planet ranked Sri Lanka as the top destination to travel in 2019 based on its diverse and authentic offerings. 

The resulting brand, ‘So Sri Lanka’ is laser-focused on elevating Sri Lanka’s destination brand to include all its diverse offerings and unique attributes. 

‘So Sri Lanka’ goes beyond being a place descriptor and embodies the vibrant qualities that inspire us about Sri Lanka. It is an expression that is easy to use for locals and travellers of diverse origins, be it a traveller from China or a French millennial.

The creators behind the concept and strategy of the new slogan are J. Walter Thompson (JWT). JWT was chosen through a competitive bidding process by the Bureau. 

 “The objective of the brand ‘So Sri Lanka’ is to inspire us to proudly own our finer qualities while at the same time be open enough to continuously work on improvements. We have moved away from investing in a passive identity and we are seeking a dialogue with our socially active millennial travellers,” explained JWT Sri Lanka CEO Alyna Haji Omar.

The logo is easily recognisable with its artisanal circular representation. It is a logo that comes alive in marketing material effortlessly. In the coming months, a new marketing campaign will be launched based on the new identity, which will provide a taste of the depth and versatility of the new brand platform. 

The new destination brand also saw the culmination of many ideas from several key industry stakeholders in the private sector who infused their thinking and recommendations to create a new brand identity. 

Endorsed by the latest feat as being adjudged the number one destination for 2019 by Lonely Planet, the country’s destination promotion gained international recognition by participating at the World Travel Mart 2018. 

This event was held at the Excel Exhibition Hall, London, on 5 November. On offer were exclusive opportunities for travel companies and industry stakeholders to strengthen their network, connect, share and exchange ideas and concepts and create productive partnerships. 

Sri Lanka Tourism has been an active member of WTM for many years, joined by the local travel industry. A delegation consisting of 60 industry partners joined Sri Lanka Tourism to highlight Sri Lanka as a world-class tourism hotspot, with a variety of travel and hospitality products, including the world-famous Ceylon tea.