Sri Lanka's government is now looking specifically at promoting Sri Lanka Tourism in a joint effort with related industries in India, Russia and China. Discussions commenced two weeks back with Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa meeting with state institutions and the private sector as part of a preliminary round to plan the promotional campaign in these identified emerging markets.
Funding for this campaign is set to also be provided from investors of these countries in Sri Lanka, the minister is learnt to have said. The long-awaited joint promotional campaign would involve the industries of tourism, tea, gem and jewellery, and the Export Development Board (EDB).
Road shows, trade fairs, food festivals and separate gem and jewellery exhibitions are being planned to be held simultaneously for a 3-day period in each of the five cities of each country. In this regard, the Sri Lankan missions in these respective countries would be linked up to ascertain the budget required and the possibility of conducting these promotional campaigns in several cities. The minister intends on kick-starting the campaign by November this year in Huanzhou to coincide with the annual China International Travel Mart (CITM).
Japan was not selected for this campaign since tourism promotions were conducted under a Japanese grant for about two years now. Further, promotions would be targeted to these specific countries in a bid to attract more visitors from these destinations compared to the European countries that were faced with an economic downturn.
The tourism industry has been without an adequate promotional drive to attract sufficient tourists to the country although the figures have been climbing since the war ended in 2009. So far, the industry has been engaged in trade fairs and other similar annual programmes without any targeted campaigns.