Sri Lanka Tourism seeks top global ad agency for Rs. 200 m push

Sri Lanka Tourism, after winning several awards this year at global travel fairs and seeing the number of tourist arrivals crossing 830,051 up by 14.1% in the first half of 2015, is on the lookout for professional advertising agency for the first time in five years.

The Expression of Interests (EOIs) have been called by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau for what is billed to be a Rs. 200 million contract with a media spend of Rs. 1 billion in the first year. Deadline for submission of EOI is 17 July.
“Given the strengthened Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau marketing team, with 31 midcareer professionals selected purely on merit as per government regulations, it is now ready to launch an aggressive multimedia campaign,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala said.

Nine high-powered professionals will constitute the TEC Committee, appointed by the Ministry and approved by the Board, which will be powered with strong governance and independence of decision-making said Athukorala. The Chairperson of the committee is the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

He said Sri Lanka Tourism’s marketing plan has been essentially driven by a push strategy with multipronged initiatives in key markets such as business to business road shows with the private sector, visiting journalist programs, travel trade fairs and high-profile media interviews.

Whilst the private sector has been pushing for an above-the-line campaign, the Chairman accepted that the push strategy was not sufficient to build a strong tourism destination brand but “given the reality of where we were, being dogged by financial irregularity and human resource constraints, we had to first get our house in order before going global,” said Athukorala said.
“We are yet to pay almost $ 3 million for previous media advertising,” he added.

“I must thank the Ministry, Board of Directors and private sector stakeholders for the base level marketing plan that has been agreed upon after many consultations during the last three months. I am pleased to launch the EOI to begin the search for a global communication partner after a lapse of almost five years. Yes, we took time but we are doing it as per government procurement regulations,” said Athukorala.

One of the key objectives of the strategic communication partner will be how the unique Sri Lankan culture and people can be communicated through the country’s diversified product portfolio, said Athukorala. “The logic of this is that the driver of tourism in a country is its heritage and culture and we were just communicating ‘8 wonderful experiences in 8 wonderful days’ forgetting the DNA of the brand,” he explained. “A traveller wants to experience the culture and its people through a country’s product when they travel abroad. Not the latter in isolation. This is the challenge for a potential communication partner. Single-mindedly, whilst accepting the fact that the USP of the country are diversity, uniqueness and authenticity. This will never change technically,” he said.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/442229/Sri-Lanka-Tourism-seeks-top-global-ad-agency-for-Rs–200-m-push

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