Embassy of The People’s Republic of China has placed honor on Sri Lanka Tourism by declaring them as the winner of the prestigious award for “most friendly government institute worked with China in year 2013”. The award was received by Mr. Bashwara Gunarathna –Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism from H.E. Ambassador of China Wu Jianghao, in a grand ceremony recently held at BMICH-Colombo parallel to Chinese New Year Celebrations.
The "Happy Chinese New Year Art Performance" held at BMICH was graced by the presence H. E. President Mahinda Rajapaksa ,Hon. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Hon. Minister Maithreepala Sirisena , Mr. Lalith Weeratunga –secretary to the president . "Top 10 Sri Lankan Partners", "Excellent Construction Projects in Sri Lanka" and "Excellent Sri Lankan Staff" were awarded to the contributors for China-Sri Lanka cooperation at the Celebration. Colorful and diverse performances were staged by staff from both Chinese and Sri Lankan companies, local Chinese entities and Chinese Embassy at this occasion. Sri Lanka Tourism won the award for excellence formulating a novel tourism strategy for China during year 2013 and partnering and collaborating with Chinese authorities to gain their maximum contribution to successfully implementing the strategy in the Chinese market.
Sri Lanka Tourism carried out several major promotional campaigns in China by identifying it as a major emerging market. The strategic promotional campaigns of Sri Lanka Tourism were designed on the instruction and direct guidance of the Minister of Economic Development, Hon.Basil Rajapaksa, and secretary to the Ministry of Economic Development Dr.P.B.Jayasundara, using innovative tools and methods which were far away with traditional promotional methods executed previously. Accordingly, Sri Lanka Tourism carried out aggressive mega promotional campaigns in many emerging markets including China in year 2013 in order to increase awareness, product knowledge on the destination.
During the mega tourism promotional campaign in China, Sri Lanka Tourism launched a Bill Board Advertising Campaign in the city of Beijing, going parallel to a series of other promotional activities such as promoting Sri Lanka through Light box advertising, print media advertisements , Radio jingles ,Web sites ,PR campaigns to create awareness.
The BillBoard campaign is the first ever promotion of its kind ever to be executed in Chinese market at this scale. The LED backlit hoarding screens will be displayed in over 21 strategic locations in Beijing , These bill locations showcasing major tourism attractions in Sri Lanka including history and culture, beaches, wildlife, festivals, ayurveda and spa, gem & jewellery that are of interest to the Chinese travelers. Meanwhile Prominent places in 18 subway railway stations in Beijing have been identified to promote high spots of tourism attractions in Sri Lanka through this campaign.
A major Bus branding Campaign has also been launched parallel to the advertising promotions for a 06 months period which is active in china to this date. The Bus Advertising Campaign which was conducted with the branding of 300 buses among the Chinese public living and visiting cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chendu and Guangzhou.
Sri Lanka Tourism also launched a major advertising campaign in Shanghai city covering outdoor hoardings, Radio, print media, websites which is on going in the Shanghai city currently, multiplying the effect generated by Beijing campaign.
Some of the policy decisions made with the support of Chinese government such as removing exist permit, agreement to promote 100,000 tourists to Sri Lanka etc. have contributed to increase the travelers from China. Further the two governments signed agreements to promote Sri Lanka through major Chinese Travel Media, as a result some of the leading Chinese TV channels such as China Travel Channel, Outlook Traveler China, CCTV 6 and Print media visited Sri Lanka totaling up to 56 media personalities during 2013. Sri Lanka Tourism also brought down many Chinese Travel Agents and tour operators from various cities to create awareness on the destination aimed at attracting prospective travelers.
Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka is on a steady rise at the moment and has recorded a significant 224% growth in January 2014 reflecting the effectiveness of the promotional campaigns executed in year 2013 onwards.The latest jump shows encouraging signs as the Government of Sri Lanka is campaigning vigorously to capture a slice out of the growing Chinese outbound tourism market, which during the year 2012 in total stood at 83 million tourists.