June 23rd was a red letter day for Sri Lanka tourism. On this memorable and historic day amidst the presence of Ministers, diplomats and other distinguished invitees Sri Lanka Tourism officially launched its new logo and taglin’: Sri Lanka Small Miracle" ushering in a new era for tourism.
With President Mahinda Rajapaksa declaring 2011 as a ‘Visit Sri Lanka Year’, there was an air of optimism among the personnel of the Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Promotion Bureau, travel agents, members of the airline staff and hoteliers that tourism will boom.
The heart rending speech by the President was a further edge boosting tourism.
The President delivering this live feed speech from Temple Trees at the launch of the Small Miracle said having regained peace my vision for development of tourism has become a reality.
The speeches by the Minister of Tourism, Milinda Moragoda and Deputy Minister of Tourism Faizer Mustapa emphasised that it is an opportune time, that with the dawning of a new era of peace in Sri Lanka where there are great expectations and opportunities in the tourism industry.
The new brand was launched with a colourful ceremony.
Alston Koch sang the Brand Song keeping everybody in rapt silence.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake also expressed optimism about the future of tourism.
The new brand of Sri Lanka Tourism was conceptualized following months of research by A C Nielson, and strategic planning sessions intended to replace the current tagline "Sri Lanka, Land like No Other". As part of the communication campaign, many promotions, road shows and press conferences were planned across the fifteen cities in ten countries leading up to the local launch - a move that is expected to attract and generate more tourists into the island.
Dileep Mudadeniya, Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau said "The objective of the Sri Lanka Tourism re-branding exercise was to create a single core idea that can change people’s perception of the country. The challenge faced by Sri Lanka Tourism during the brand strategy planning session in 2006 was to find an idea that embraces the truth of the country, which is relevant to the potential visitor; then communicate that idea through every material item produced, thus establishing an integrated marketing communication approach."
Mr. Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion pointed , "Sri Lanka Small Miracle denotes the mysteries of Sri Lanka and how it holds so many different features in such a small geographical area. Sri Lanka truly combines rich and diverse treasures so amazingly concentrated to provide the most pleasant diverse and authentic holiday experience no other Asian destination could so conveniently offer".
Leading up to the rebranding, Sri Lanka Tourism launched an island wide programme in May titled, "Making of the Small Miracle". The main objective of this programme was to get all Sri Lankans to be a part of the rebranding. Local communities were asked to provide pictures, artifacts, and other collectables that they believed was a good example of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Tourism ended this programme successfully last week, having collected thousands of items.
The collectables were displayed at an exhibition on the day of the launch while some of the best items were used by the communication agency for the new print campaign.
Coinciding with the new brand launch, all communication material of Sri Lanka Tourism have been revamped. The website was re-launched with a new look and feel in keeping with the brand strategy while brochures with eight different themes unique to Sri Lanka have also been printed. Posters, stationary and other memorabilia will be available.
In addition a new print campaign will be launched in prominent international trade magazines as well as TV campaigns on BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and Discovery Travel nd Living.
To mark the launch, Sri Lanka Tourism introduced value additional offers for tourists. A postcard campaign will be launched the day after the rebranding, where 250,000 post cards will be distributed while a discount booklet campaign will also launched with over 50 discount offers in a booklet. 10 postcards and a discount booklet will be bundled together and packed in a gift box and handled over to tourists arriving in Sri Lanka from June 24th for a period of one month.
A radio campaign to promote lesser known places in Sri Lanka was also launched locally through Narambamu Sri Lanka - the domestic campaign.
A commemorative stamp was issued symbolizing the new brand - Small Miracle.