Sri Lanka Tourism partners National Craft Council in global promotions strategy

Sri Lanka Tourism and the National Craft Council announced a new partnership and global promotional strategy.
The partnership will see traditional crafts being promoted through Sri Lankan stalls during international tourism and travel fairs including live demonstrations of Sri Lankan handicrafts. “With this tie-up, the best handicraft artisans will have the opportunity to show case their skill set to the world by way of being present at the 47 top global tourism and travel exhibitions that Sri Lanka Tourism will be attending in 2015,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala stated.
Largely made up of small and medium enterprises, the best of artisans in Sri Lanka’s handicraft industry are selected for more rigorous training of which approximately 15% are reported to source products to craft retail outlets such as the State-run store, Laksala. “This is a historic occasion given that almost all handicraft artisans are SMEs and micro industrial entrepreneurs and with this partnership all of them will have access to the global economy,” National Handicraft Council Chairman Buddi Keerthisena stated. He added that such access to international markets through the partnership would also help to further develop local industry.

Commenting on wider strategy, Athukorala cited Nation Brand Finance (UK) estimates of Sri Lanka’s brand value as a country at approximately $61 billion, up 30% Year-on-Year (YoY), and stated that he had targeted a brand value of $ 80 billion in 2015 by way of attracting better quality tourists, top-dollar investments and higher value on export merchandise. “With this partnership, in a typical Sri Lankan Pavilion apart from the travel and tourism trade participants, now we have a Ceylon Tea Boutique through a Rs. 1 billion working partnership between Sri Lanka Tourism and the Tea Board that was inked last month and now extended to showcase live handicraft artisan at work which gives an opportunity for a global consumer experience all facets of Sri Lanka as per the Nation Brand building model of Simon Anholt,” Athukorala stated.

He added that this new “three-pronged attack” would be tested during the upcoming Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) in Dubai in May and simultaneously at the Sri Lankan Pavilion at World expo 2015 in Milan while noting that feedback from this approach at the Moscow and Gothenburg fairs last week were very positive. “Now we must formalise the partnership and make it systemic so that it becomes promotional policy in the future,” Athukorala stated.

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