NEWS: B-M in line to help Sri Lanka rebuild tourism

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.

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.



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