Sri Lanka Tourism promotional strategy acclaimed by China

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Wins prestigious award for being friendliest Government institute to work with China in 2013
The Embassy of The People’s Republic of China has declared Sri Lanka Tourism as the winner of the prestigious award for being the friendliest Government institute that worked with China in 2013. The award was received by Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Bashwara Gunarathna from Ambassador of China Wu Jianghao, at a grand ceremony recently held at the BMICH parallel to Chinese New Year celebrations. The ‘Happy Chinese New Year Art Performance’ held at BMICH was graced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Minister Maithreepala Sirisena and President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga. ‘Top 10 Sri Lankan Partners,’ ‘Excellent Construction Projects in Sri Lanka’ and ‘Excellent Sri Lankan Staff’ were awarded to the contributors for China-Sri Lanka cooperation at the celebration. Colourful and diverse performances were staged by staff from both Chinese and Sri Lankan companies, local Chinese entities and the Chinese Embassy at this occasion. Sri Lanka Tourism won the award for excellence in formulating a novel tourism strategy for China during year 2013 and partnering and collaborating with Chinese authorities to gain their maximum contribution to successfully implementing the strategy in the Chinese market. Sri Lanka Tourism carried out several major promotional campaigns in China by identifying it as a major emerging market. The strategic promotional campaigns of Sri Lanka Tourism were designed on the instruction and direct guidance of the  Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Development Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, using innovative tools and methods which were far away with traditional promotional methods executed previously. Accordingly, Sri Lanka Tourism carried out aggressive mega promotional campaigns in many emerging markets including China in year 2013 in order to increase awareness, product knowledge on the destination. During the mega tourism promotional campaign in China, Sri Lanka Tourism launched a billboard advertising campaign in the city of Beijing, going parallel to a series of other promotional activities such as promoting Sri Lanka through light box advertising, print media advertisements, radio jingles, websites and PR campaigns to create awareness. The billboard campaign was the first-ever promotion of its kind ever to be executed in the Chinese market at this scale. The LED backlit hoarding screens displayed in over 21 strategic locations in Beijing showcase major tourism attractions in Sri Lanka including history and culture, beaches, wildlife, festivals, Ayurveda and spa, and gem and jewellery that are of interest to the Chinese travellers. Meanwhile prominent places in 18 subway railway stations in Beijing have been identified to promote high spots of tourism attractions in Sri Lanka through this campaign. A major bus branding campaign has also been launched parallel to the advertising promotions for a six-month period which is active in China at present. The bus advertising campaign was conducted with the branding of 300 buses among the Chinese public living and visiting cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chendu and Guangzhou. Sri Lanka Tourism also launched a major advertising campaign in Shanghai city covering outdoor hoardings, radio, print media, websites which is on going in the Shanghai city currently, multiplying the effect generated by Beijing campaign. Some of the policy decisions made with the support of Chinese Government such as removing existing permits, agreement to promote 100,000 tourists to Sri Lanka, etc., have contributed to increase the travellers from China. Further the two Governments signed agreements to promote Sri Lanka through major Chinese travel media; as a result some of the leading Chinese TV channels such as China Travel Channel, Outlook Traveller China, CCTV 6 and print media visited Sri Lanka  totalling 56 media personalities during 2013. Sri Lanka Tourism also brought down many Chinese travel agents and tour operators from various cities to create awareness on the destination aimed at attracting prospective travellers. Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka are on a steady rise at the moment and recorded a significant 224% growth in January 2014, reflecting the effectiveness of the promotional campaigns executed from 2013 onwards. The latest jump shows encouraging signs as the Government of Sri Lanka is campaigning vigorously to capture a slice of the growing Chinese outbound tourism market, which during 2012 stood at 83 million tourists.