Sri Lanka campaign to target travellers

Relative political stability has prompted the Sri Lanka Tourist Board to embark on a fresh media relations push targeting UK-based travellers.

The organisation has appointed an external PR agency for the first time in several years, bringing BGB & Associates on board for the UK market.

BGB has been sub-contracted by Batey, which was awarded a global marketing and PR remit.

BGB MD Debbie Hindle said the campaign will centre around a global brand positioning. She added that media will be targeted according to their ability to demonstrate what Sri Lanka has to offer travellers.

Hindle said the campaign needed to educate consumers about the country because it had been largely ignored since civil war broke out in 1983. The press campaign will cover a range of broadsheets and travel sections as well as glossy magazines and special interest titles that appeal to more affluent readers and tourists.

‘We are looking for travellers rather than tourists, those that want to get inside the country and experience it. It is more of a mindset than a particular segment group,’ said Hindle.

She added that there was a lot of interest in Sri Lanka among serious travellers because ‘some parts of the country haven’t been open for 20 years or more’.

BGB will support media trips to Sri Lanka and work with organisations such as airlines and tour operators to ensure all parties are aware of the opportunities available for promotion.

Hindle said the primary objective was to drive consumers into travel shops to book trips, but it will be supported with a trade media campaign.

Sri Lanka already receives more tourists from the UK than any other market – 9,555 visited the country in January, a jump of 48 per cent on last year. More than 500,000 tourists from around the world entered the country in 2003.

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