Bridging the North & South via the Strongest Digital Platforms

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