Sri Lanka Tourism to seek Cabinet approval for 5-year Global Communication Campaign
Daily FT: The long-awaited integrated five-year Global Communication Campaign (GCC) is at the final stages and it will soon seek Cabinet approval to be able to launch at the appropriate time, a top official confirmed.
“We have reached the final stages of the integrated global promotions campaign. The hard work of over one and a half years through COVID and lockdowns is finally done. However, the launch of the campaign will be done at the appropriate time, after discussing with all parties concerned,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando told the Daily FT.
Given the pandemic-related challenges and time-consuming procurement processes delayed the launch of the $ 190 million GCC, which was originally to be initiated from mid-2020.
The last integrated campaign of Sri Lanka Tourism was carried out during 2008/2009, and no such communication campaigns were carried out since then except a few stand-alone campaigns.
She said the industry has been calling for the GCC for over a decade and after a lot of dedicated work by the team despite the very complex procurement process, 20 global tenders were placed.
“Given the limited foreign exchange availability, initially Cabinet approval will be sought for the Creative Agency, Digital Agency and Campaign Management Unit for which payment is mainly in rupees. This will be a very significant achievement for Sri Lanka Tourism,” Fernando said.
The objective of the GCC is to achieve a consistent and holistic branding for Sri Lanka’s rich tourism offering. The implementation strategy revolves around a 20-agency framework to create and deliver the campaign globally. The four agencies; Creative, Digital, Campaign Management and Research will be managed by the GCC Secretariat established under Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB).
Last year, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the appointment of Destination Representative Companies (DRCs) and eight Public Relational Companies (PRCs) in key tourism source markets, as part of the GCC. The SLTPB began its search for each, to handle a planned five-year global promotion in 16 countries covering 25 source markets.
The DRCs will be in the UK, Germany, France, India, China, Australia, Russia, Middle East; whilst the PRCs are for the US, Japan, Korea, Italy, Spain, Benelux, Scandinavia, and Poland.
Each DRC will have a maximum total contract value of $ 5.25 million over the commissioned five-year period, while each PRC will be given $ 750,000 for the same period. The required funds will be allocated through SLTPB.
Sri Lanka Tourism followed the Government procurement process, while evaluations have been ongoing for the last few months. Technical Proposals of the DRCs and PRCs have been evaluated and shortlisted to open the financial proposals.
However, the delay in the rollout of GCC, as the appointment of the firms via competitive bidding process was time-consuming, in November 2021, the Cabinet of Ministers gave its nod to rollout a short-term strategic program with an investment of over Rs. 200 million ($ 1.3 million) focused on key source markets targeting a surge in tourist arrivals ahead of the winter holiday season.
In line with the integrated five-year GCC, the Government aims for six million tourists and $ 10 billion in earnings by 2025, despite challenges.
At a time when the economy needs the tourism sector more than ever to re-start, Sri Lanka Tourism Chief said the visibility of the GCC will be launched at the appropriate time, to achieve the much-needed tourist arrivals.
“We understand the fact that a brand is not built overnight, it is a meticulous, regular, and integrated process with consistent communications. We are confident that the campaign will boost tourism demand for Sri Lanka,” Fernando said.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was one of the key revenue generators in the country when the global Covid 19 pandemic impacted the industry. However, the tourism industry is once again on the path to recovery and the expanding business activities in the country have helped expand business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s leisure and hospitality sectors. Sri Lanka has received much exposure in the international media as a must visit destination and the country’s tourism authorities carrying out promotional campaigns in key foreign source markets. Tourism authorities are also looking at new tourism concepts to be adopted by the country. However, with Sri Lanka’s tourism industry returning to normalcy, foreign businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities, especially in the leisure and hospitality sectors.
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