Domestic Tourism Promotion, attempting the Tourism SMEs to re-start from domestic tourists in the post pandemic situation
Travelers to Sri Lanka will have limitations to travel overseas for leisure in 2021/22 due to travel bans, sanitary constraints, and shortages in financial budgets due to covid19. EFECS identified a large number of potential tourism attractions in Northern Province which was unexplored even by the domestics. Domestic travellers (Local travellers) have a great opportunity to travel in northern within a limited budget. In order to capture these domestic travellers, project launched the “Real North” domestic tourism initiative through 25 SME travel agents. The majority of Travel Agents were not engaged in Domestic Tourism as their business was mostly for international tourists.
With the pandemic situation, there was a timely requirement of converting their business to Domestic Tourism as a short-term strategy. Yet, due to the huge loses of travel agents; most of them were unable to invest for such promotions. EFECS decided to support interested 25 SME travel agents for this conversion by providing an attractive Digital Marketing Campaign targeting on the Northern Province as the project is focusing on North Province only.
While establishing and maintaining the first regional office in Vavuniya for over one years’ time, EFECS assisted to strengthen the membership network of ASMET in Northern Province. This was instrumental in registering nearly 60 SMEs under the shelter of ASMET. With the relaunch of a professionalised website for ASMET, the associated members had given the opportunity to re-start with more dignity.
Two travel packages were developed by the ASMET travel agents for Mannar and Jaffna after a 03- days exposure visit in North with the inputs collected from the business forums held in Mannar and Jaffna with the presence of Hoteliers and Tour Guides. After which, 03 months Social Media Promotion for 25 ASMET Travel Agents interested in Domestic Tourism Promotions were launched through Facebook, IG and Programmatic.
The campaign was conducted by a reputed creative agency in Sri Lanka. The agency was able to develop an attractive strategy for overall campaign including a comprehensive Creative Strategy,
Campaign Strategy and a Media buying Strategy. Contents were developed exclusively for each individual travel agent highlighting their unique attributes. Each travel agent’s promotion included 20
Social Media static posts, 04 Social Media Animations and Programmatic Banners running in popular websites in Sri Lanka. All campaigns were perfectly monitored and managed for 03 months by posting regular content, Monitoring, and reporting, Targeting, and setting up campaigns for the target Audience.
Understanding the value of this promotion, the agency provided number of value-added services such as development of exclusive “Real North” Website with all essentials and maintenance from February – September 2020. Similarly, the agency assisted in creatively developing 05 Real North Tour Maps as well as the Real North Social Media Channels including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube through their expert team of professionals.
As a result of this effort, the campaign reached 12,884,404 in Facebook and 39,565,659 impressions in Instagram channels as of 20th September 2021. Over 20 million impressions were captured by publishing Web banners on popular Sri Lankan websites through Programmatic.
In order to sustain this programme, one-day programme on Digital Marketing was given for these travel agents through Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing. Further over thousands of tour guide map kits were disseminated among the travel agents for their future promotions.
Below are few comments from hundreds of comments recorded in our Email walls and digital platforms from the Travel Agents towards our programmes……
“It had been great to be part of the project and thank you so much for all supports extended during the Northern Trip and followed on Social media project. I personally feel that this is a great platform to support and develop Northern Tourism and we are delighted to support & promote Northern Part of Sri Lanka. We also like to develop more on Ramayana programs in the future” – Mr. Kumar Sithambarm, Managing Director, Travelwind Holidays (Pvt) Ltd Sep 9, 2021, 1:49 PM
“Thank you very much for the great work, I have learnt a lot by traveling to North, including Delft island visit was the most important visit. Hope our SME sector in tourism will get more support from projects in this nature in time to come” – Rohan Abeywickrema, Managing Director, Hawk Travels” Sep 9, 2021, 6:34 AM
“I thank EFECS for its great contributions towards the upliftment of Tourism SMEs” – Rasika Rajapaksa, Managing Director, Nawamini Travels Sep 8, 2021, 7:13 PM
“Thank you very much for your kind assistance and it was our pleasure of working with EFECS Project” – Darshana Cabraal, Joint Managing Director, Tour Blue Holdings (Pvt) Limited Sep 8, 2021, 6:11 PM
“We thank you & your team for the support and commitment shown towards tourism and our business. During these challenging times your perseverance and positivity have been much appreciated. We hope that the seeds that have been planted with the EFECS project will develop into real success for the North as well as the tourism SME sector that was supported. Thank you for sending the materials developed for the Real North project. It has been a real pleasure to get to know you. We wish you & the team all the best for your future endeavours” – Mutiara Tegal, Managing Director, Paradise Holidays Sep 8, 2021, 5:59 PM
“We do appreciate the support extended to AMSET membership which was beneficial. Hope we could work in future once again is such beneficial funded projects” – M. U. Lantra, Managing Director Exciting Travels Sep 8, 2021, 5:40 PM
“Thank you very much for Organizing very fruitful Familiarization tour for us” – Chandana Deshapriya, Managing Director, Tropical Asia Tours Pvt Limited May 1, 2021, 11:41 AM
“A huge thank you for all your efforts in creating such posts. I am very impressed with the work” – Zacky Yaman, Manager, Zazy Tours Jul 18, 2021, 6:16 PM
“Thanks for your facilitations extended to us during our family trip” – Laahiru Jayamanne, Executive Director, The Travel Concierge Sri Lanka May 10, 2021, 9:38 AM
“I was a participant at the Familiarization Tour from 26th to 28th April 2021 which was indeed beneficial to us going forward. – Rohan Abeywickrema, Managing Director, HAWK TRAVELS (PVT) LTD. May 10, 2021, 2:49 PM
“Thank you for very interesting FAM trip you have arranged to visit Jaffna and Mannar. We learned a lot during the FAM trip. – Prebudda Jayasinghe, Managing Director, Lanka Holidays.Net (Pvt) Ltd. May 8, 2021, 2:37 PM
“We thank you for the familiarization tour that was organized recently” – Mervyn Fernandopulle, Managing Director, Airwing Tours, May 7, 2021, 8:54 PM
“Please refer to the attached both Jaffna and Mannar program which was collectively submitted by the fellow associates who participated in the great program which your team organised for us. We will promote and get more publicity” – G. Kumar Sithambaram, Managing Director, Travelwind Holidays (Pvt) Ltd May 7, 2021, 12:24 PM
“On behalf of our entire team, we would like to say a Big Thank for organizing this familiarization tour. Indeed, it was very useful and productive. And we are extremely happy to see those hidden attractions. Also noted contact details of hoteliers and area guides which we will be in touch with them very soon.” – Darshana Cabraal, Managing Director, Tour Blue Holdings (Pvt) Limited. May 6, 2021, 8:48 AM
“First and foremost, we thank you very much organising this trip and hospitality. Specially your team effort and contributing each and every point of your presences. We also learned a lot about Delft Island. Overall, everything went well, and we will certainly support the Northern province for our clients.” – Kumar Sithambaram, Managing Director, Travel wind Holidays (Pvt) Ltd May 1, 2021, 4:23 PM