Feb 21, 2014 – Sri Lanka will launch a campaign namely “comprehensive mega tourism promotional campaign” to boost arrivals including from newly developing markets, starting this year, information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said.
Sri Lanka’s Tourism Promotion Bureau is to spend up to 12.5 million US dollars on promotions over two year starting from 2014.
Sri Lanka’s top leisure firms have been calling for a country promotion campaign for several years to compete with similar campaigns by competitors in Asia but the call has been ignored by authorities so far.
The state collects a cess from the industry for promotional work.
It is not clear how much industry involvement will be there in the new campaign.
But minister Rambukwelle told reporters private firms will be closely involved in promotion as they knew the markets best.
Occupancy in Sri Lanka’s higher grade hotels have been falling over 2012 and in 2013 not data on occupancy was released by the state tourism agency.
Analysts have said the higher end hotels are perhaps overpriced.
However there has been strong growth in the lower end of the sector with internet based bookings giving more affordable accommodation with pricing closer to key Asian rivals.
A controversy has also developed over data. After weak arrivals until November 2013, data was revised in December to show stronger arrivals in 2014 including for prior months, with authorities saying data capture had been improved.