Sri Lanka intends to abandon its tourism tagline So Sri Lanka, as it calls for fresh proposals to market the country on the global stage.
The state-owned Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has called for tenders to appoint a creative agency to develop strategies and creatives for a new global tourism promotion and marketing campaign.
According to the terms of the tender, the creative agency is not required to retain the current tagline in the proposed campaign.
SLTPB chairman Chalaka Gajabahu said that the effectiveness of the So Sri Lanka brand is rather unclear, as the country lacked an integrated communication campaign during the past decade to build the brand focus.
The So Sri Lanka tagline was launched in 2018 but was not backed by any proper promotion.
However, industry players said it was more important to get a global promotion campaign off the ground quickly.
“It’s not about changing or keeping the tagline. What is more important and a priority is to get the promotion campaign started quickly as this has not happened (for nearly a decade),” noted Hiran Cooray, chairman of Jetwing Symphony Hotels and past chairman of the Hotels Association of Sri Lanka.
With many hurdles to overcome, such as the negative repercussions of the 2019 Easter Sunday terrorist attack, airport closure during the pandemic, and protests in 2022 over the country’s economic crisis, the industry needs a proper campaign to raise the positive profile of the country among tourists.
Until 2000, Sri Lanka’s brand focus was on its sun, sea and sand but this has gradually extended to other offerings such as nature, culture and adventure.
The tagline has undergone a few changes: from A land like no other to Sri Lanka – Wonder of Asia in 2012. This was followed by So Sri Lanka in 2018, which focused on Sri Lanka’s diverse product range.
Under the proposed campaign, Sri Lanka would promote the destination in nine key market – the UK, Germany, France, India, China, Australia, Russia, the Middle East and Scandinavia, said Gajabahu during a media conference.
The industry is also relaunching its annual tourism trade fair, not held for a couple of years owing to the pandemic and the economic crisis. Set for May in Colombo, the event expects to see the participation of some global tour operators.
State-owned Sri Lanka Convention Bureau will also host its inaugural MICE – EXPO 2023 trade show in Colombo from March 13-15, 2023.