Burson-Marsteller could be in line for a major slice of business from a
pounds 3 million image building campaign by the government of Sri Lanka.
Earlier this month the government unveiled plans for an emergency relief
package to rescue Sri Lanka’s tourist and hotel industries which have
been badly hit by 13 years of civil war between the government and
separatist Tamil Tigers in the north and east of the island.
As well as offering low interest loans to hotel companies, the
government intends to launch a two year advertising and public relations
drive aimed at repairing the country’s battered image abroad. The
campaign will focus particularly on Europe and Asia.
So far four advertising firms, plus Burson-Marsteller have been invited
to handle the campaign, which could begin as early as August. Sri
Lanka’s Tea Board, Export Development Board and Board of Investment are
also backing the project.
‘We have no idea at present what will be done, which is why we are
asking five companies to come to Sri Lanka during July to tell us how
they think we might best resolve our image problem,’ said the Tourist
Board’s marketing director Vipula Wanigasekera.
Sri Lanka’s tourist industry has suffered from stagnation and low
investment since the civil war began in 1983. In January the number of
visitors to the island plummeted after a bomb in the capital Colombo
killed 80 people and wrecked the city’s financial area.