The launch of the website www.visitsrilanka-2011.com for the CNN global tourism promotion campaign of Sri Lanka was held recently in Colombo (November 2009). The website is an interactive affair and is designed in such a manner that the users are invited to be a part of the campaign.
‘The website was launched to complement the Visit Sri Lanka Year 2011 and will serve as an impetus to kickstart the campaign. It is a tremendous achievement for Sri Lanka Tourism to be partnering with an international media powerhouse such as CNN. “We will ensure that we gain the maximum exposure and potential from the synergies that will be created from this association” said Tourism Minister, Achala Jagoda.
This is the first time a 360 degree social networking campaign will be launched on CNN through Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Flickr and a contest whereby the winners get their dream itinerary which includes 9 friends. This contest, carried out in collaboration with Sri Lankan Airlines and their industry partners, will be launched on a CNN micro-site.
Speaking on this special collaboration, Junji Sumitani, Sales Director, S.E. Asia, CNN International said, “CNN is proud to collaborate with Sri Lanka tourism on their unique travel campaign to showcase the best the country has to offer. CNN’s multi-platform campaign brings together on-air and interactive online elements through a dedicated site and social networks to engage users to experience Sri Lanka like never before. This campaign leverages CNN’s extensive reach amongst travellers around the world.”
Sri Lanka Tourism recognizes the role of social marketing in today’s business climate, which will be an important tool in this marketing campaign. High profile Sri Lankans, including entrepreneurs, fashion icons and leading business people are coming onboard to blog for Sri Lanka on Twitter. Sri Lanka Tourism also encourages the general public to blog on Sri Lanka. Interested bloggers are invited to write in to Sri Lanka Tourism if they are keen to be a part of this venture where by they are able to interact via Facebook and send e-cards. Post conflict all eyes are on Sri Lanka, and it’s never been a better time to showcase the island’s scenic imagery via e-cards available on http://local.visitsrilanka-2011.com.
‘We would like to keep up with the times and move away from conventional 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. It marks an exciting period in Sri Lanka’s history and we are delighted to be a part of it,’ added Minister of Tourism Promotion, Faiszer Musthapha.
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has carefully chosen a panel of Sri Lankan personalities, who will serve as experts on the micro-site. These ‘Sri Lankan Champions’ are the essence of Sri Lanka, thus are responsible for addressing any questions and concerns raised by users on the interactive micro-site.
The website users will find company with Sri Lankan personalities handpicked by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau including internationally recognized film maker – Vimukthi Jayasundara, Director Design at Buddhi Batiks – Darshi Keerthisena, CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays – Gehan De S Wijeratne, Miss Sri Lanka 2009 – Gamya Wijayadasa, three times represented Sri Lanka in Olympic games – Julian Bolling, Otara Gunawardene – CEO of ODEL, Kumar Sangakkara – Sri Lanka Cricket Captain, to name a few.
Commenting on this historic association Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka Cricket Captain said, “This is a very exciting new era for Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and it is therefore fitting that Sri Lanka Tourism has embarked upon such an innovative and interactive social networking campaign to help spread the word around the globe about our beautiful tropical island home – a land of warm sunshine, wide smiles, rich heritage and astonishing diversity”.
Sri Lanka Tourism is hoping to build on the rapid growth in inbound American tourist market. This has been further enhanced by New York Times and Daily Candy Washington declaring Sri Lanka as the No: 1 idyllic getaway spot for tourists, Recent arrival figures from the US has shown an significant increase of 1.3% in arrivals from January to December 2009 when compared to the same period in 2008. This is especially encouraging because the United States of America is not a traditionally key market of Sri Lanka due to connectivity issues.