Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT) will be launching a global communication campaign this month for ‘Visit Sri Lanka 2011’, focusing on TV as primary medium to communicate with potential tourists and lure them to Sri Lanka in 2011 in line with the President’s target to bring 2.5 million tourists by 2016.
According to a press release, the channels that will air the campaign include CCB, Al Jazeera, CNN and Discovery Travel & Living. Slated to be launched on 20 November 2009, the campaign will span a period of 20 weeks. The campaign will kick-start with a 60 second TV commercial for 5 weeks after which time 30 second spots will air for the remaining period.
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Bernard Goonetilleke was quoted as saying that the campaign couldn’t have been launched at a better time with inbound tourist arrivals showing a marked month on month growth when compared to the corresponding period in 2008. The overall inbound tourism figures have seen a marked improvement during the second half of this year with increasing trends recorded month on month. The arrivals for September alone jumped a resounding 28.6 % when compared to the same period in 2008.
The press release stated that Al Jazeera had been acclaimed the Most Popular International News Channel on YouTube and was voted Best 24 Hour News Programme at the 48th Monte Carlo Television Festival. In October 2004, The Washington Post surveyed 120 international TV channels received in the Middle East and found that Al Jazeera Channel was the most popular with 51.7% of viewers deeming it the news source of choice. The Sri Lanka Tourism campaign will reach over 137 million homes worldwide and will broadcast on the English and Arabic feed. This makes it an ideal platform for Sri Lanka Tourism to gain a firm stronghold in the Middle East market.
The campaign will reach 362,032,723 television sets through the Discovery network. This includes a reach of 10,574,018 in the UK alone. On a weekly basis the campaign will be viewed by 7.2 million upscale consumers. Meanwhile the campaign will also reach more than 18.6 million homes in Asia through BBC, the press release stated.
According to SLT, CNN which is synonymous with America has a very strong reach in Europe, a traditional strong market for tourism in the island as well. The campaign will reach 80% of households in France, 97% and 56% in Germany and the UK respectively. In addition, for the first time a 360 degree social networking campaign will be launched on CNN through Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Flicker and a contest whereby the winners get their dream itinerary will be launched on a CNN microsite.
Minister of Tourism Promotion Faizer Mustapha said SLT would like to move with the times and not remain stuck in traditional methods of promoting Sri Lanka as a destination. “It is an experiment for us in two-fold, we are using marketing tools that are new to us and marketing Sri Lanka for the first time in 30 years as a peaceful destination.”