INTERNATIONAL: Ceylon to handle tourist PR budget

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka looks set to spend nearly pounds 4 million on

promoting its tourist industry, which is one of the country's principal

sources of foreign income.

The Ceylon Tourist Board, a governmental organisation that manages Sri

Lanka's tourist industry, has been tasked with handling the budget. As

part of the campaign, Sri Lanka will be marketed as a high-ticket

tourist destination, primarily targeting the UK, Germany and France.

The Sri Lankan tourism authorities have also decided to sell the country

as an important international religious centre, focussing on its

Buddhist heritage. The Tourist Board, however, will not be hiring an

outside PR firm, due to previous bad experiences.

Former Tourist Board marketing director, Saliya Weragama, cites

London-based PR agency Manning, Selvage and Lee, hired to promote Sri

Lanka in the late 1990s. 'We decided to end our relationship with MS&L

when it took the decision to sell us as the country of the Kama Sutra.'

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