Official launch of the Community based Destination Marketing Campaign

In Parallel with The World Tourism Day Celebration of Northern Province

23RD SEPTEMBER 2020, TILKO CITY HOTEL, JAFFNA, NORTHERN PROVINCE, SRI LANKA

About the event

With the purpose of aligning the rural community under the flagship of tourism, UNWTO, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has declared 2020 under the gigantic theme of “Tourism and Rural Development”.

Celebrating the unique role that tourism plays in providing opportunities outside of the big cities and preservation of cultural and natural heritage, Northern Province of Sri Lanka officially unwrapped a community-based Destination Marketing Campaign in parallel the World Tourism Day Celebration on 23rd September 2020 at Tilko City Hotel, Jaffna.

The official ceremony was organized in collaboration with Northern Tourism Bureau, SANASA International under the technical and financial assistance of Global Affairs of Canada and Cooperative Bank of Canada, Desjardins International Development.

Hon. Mrs. P. S. M. Charles, Governor of Northern Province graced the occasion as the Guest of Honor. Over 150 participants including senior officials in public, private and the cooperative sectors joined together with the Small and Medium Scale Tourism Entrepreneurs to promote Northern Tourism. 

Students of Mahadeva Swamikal Children Home founded by cooperative leader late Mr. Rasanayagam, presented an Authentic Carnatic Style Cultural Performance depicting the

Northern Culture. Mr. Rasanayagam was one of the eminent leaders in Cooperative Movement of Northern Province. He was one of the Former Government Agents of Killinochchi District as well as one of the Former SANASA Federation Board of Directors who strongly believed on Cooperative Principles in association with Dr. P A. Kiriwandeniya, the Founder of SANASA Movement.

 “More importantly, the tourism industry of Sri Lanka was traditionally seen as a sector comprised only with hoteliers and travel companies though the studies of EFECS bringing us an important message to look at the Value Chain by a holistic Eye” said Mr. Stanly Mascarenes, Chairman of Northern Tourism Bureau delivering the welcome speech of the programme.

“I believe, this year Tourism Day is extensively dedicated for the tourism entrepreneurs those who struggle and searching for new avenues to grow. Those brave entrepreneurs will become the successful Business Giants in future.” stated Mr. Mascarenes addressing the tourism entrepreneurs.

He further explained that the Creation and Facilitation of sustainable development platforms is the responsibility of Northern Tourism Bureau.

Therefore, the Northern Tourism Bureau has taken a step ahead to work collectively with the Department of Cooperatives to drive this Cooperative Tourism Initiative forward after this project.

He requested SANASA International who is the local implementer of this project to support in steering this concept with their strong network of people. Community based destination marketing programme dedicated for the Northern Province of Sri Lanka developed under the leadership of EFECS Project was officially unwrapped for public by Hon. Mrs. P. S. M. Charles, Governor of Northern Province.

This Destination Marketing Campaign was brought by EFECS under the Emergency Work Plan as a relief mechanism for the existing tourism value chain members in Northern Province.

At the preliminary stage, the project expects to develop attractive domestic tourism travel packages for locals through the interested DMCs based in Colombo. Project will facilitate the interested travel agents to promote their travel packages for Northern using social media platforms connected with the “Real North” microsite to be launched in November 2020.

Simultaneously, continuous capacity building programmes on digital marketing and web development required for the SMEs will be conducted in order to ensure the proper online connectivity with the travel companies in Colombo or overseas with the Northern MSMEs.

Launch of five strong brands for each district under five unique tourism-based concepts were admired by the stakeholders. Northern Province has a distinct feature in treating all communities similarly and all of their development strategies are focusing on the entire five districts to bring the prosperity commonly for each. 

Mullaitivu which is the most attractive green land of Northern Province with higher density of forests and rich lagoons was depicted under rare combination of wild green while Mannar being as the largest island destination in the province which has rich pristine resources and aquaculture was in blue. Vavuniya with community-based industries and glamourous handicrafts in purple while Kilinochchi being as the rice bawl of north in golden yellow. Ultimately extracting the cultural diversity of Jaffna with heritage, it was colored by traditional Marathonic (Sindhur) or mehndi colors in logo designs. Ultimately, Real North was unwrapped as Diverse; Authentic; Untouched destination in Sri Lanka to visit in 2021.

The trailer of “The Real North” Destination Marketing Campaign was presented with five umbrella brands dedicated for each district of Northern Province. Each district was branded based on an identified unique proposition.

“It is the sound of wildlife in Real Mullaitivu

“It is the sound of the surf in Real Mannar

It is the vibrant cultures in Real Vavuniya”

“It is the hustle and bustle of Real Kilinochchi”

“It is the Experiences we create in Real Jaffna”

Hon. Governor delivered a profound speech motivating the entrepreneurs in Tourism in northern province attended for the programme.

“Why I see this domestic tourism initiative important for today is, it can be promoted among Sri Lankans living in other districts and even the Sri Lankans Living abroad, because this initiative can launch from the place where our community stands. We would be able to give an opportunity for all Sri Lankans to discover the unexperienced beauty of Northern Province. This will be a better trial for all of our Tourism Stakeholders to stand as a network or a value chain to get rid of this difficult situation” said Governor, Hon Mrs. Charles addressing the stakeholders.

She further stated “Looking ahead, to deal with new challenges, the cooperative, private and public sectors must transform themselves, and build new capabilities. With this initiative, you have embarked on a major drive to become more powerful as a community using the new technology, I fully support this effort”.

As a pilot, EFECS Project developed five strategic plans with community-based tourism routes in all five districts in Northern Province. This assignment was completely based on five villages from each district.

Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Value Chain Officer of EFECS Project offered the five strategic documents with the research report to the Hon. Governor for future development references of the sector.

It was a historic moment for Sri Lanka, being the first collaborative effort taken together both Tourism Sector and Cooperative Sector in Sri Lanka for a sustainable rural development.

Mr. P. Vageshan, Commissioner of Department of Cooperative Development in Northern Province highlighted the importance of linking everyone in the path of tourism to create value for their tourists in order to have a positive word of mouth.

So, in each of their path is important and depends on other suppliers, therefore cooperatives are important as its title says “Each for All and All for Each” said Mr. Vageshan addressing the tourism community.

At a moment where the United Nations World Tourism Organization declared 2020 World Tourism Day under the theme of “Tourism & Rural Development”, indeed this would be a collective partnership under the leadership of the community in Northern Province.

Mrs. Samadani Kiriwandeniya, who developed the pathway to this community initiative with a great desire of developing a sustainable community approach, delivered a fruitful speech regarding the project scope. She expressed that Northern Tourism is lucky to be the one and only pilot ongoing with EFECS tourism value chain and she clarified that the success stories of this initiative can be used for other regions also.

Mr. Mr. Lakshman Abeysekara, Chairman, SANASA Development Bank stated that “as the banking partner of this project, SDB is always happy to support the Small and Medium Entrepreneurs in Tourism of Northern Province”, delivering a guest speech for the event.

EFECS Project in collaboration with Northern Tourism Bureau in assistance with Korea Lanka School of Hospitality and Hotel Management abled to train 100 employees of Small and Medium Hotels affected by Covid 19 Pandemic on the Pandemic Preparedness Guidelines.

The objective of this training was to prepare the Small and Medium Sector Hotels and Restaurants with the best safety measures to welcome the national and international guests for the soon future. Identifying the need of sanitary equipment and materials for this purpose, SANASA International, Global Affairs of Canada under the technical advice of DID, decided to offer the essential items for required 65 Hotels and Restaurants in Northern Province through EFECS Project under the supervision of Northern Tourism Bureau.

EFECS team expected that these equipment and materials will be a relief for the Small and Medium scale hotels and restaurants to face the challenging upcoming year with the pandemic.

DID, which is the Cooperative Bank of Canada immensely contributed to organize this community activity with the Global Affairs of Canada intending of being with the SME sector at their most difficult moment.

Hon. Mrs. P. S. M. Charles, Governor of Northern Province offering a relief token for a SME in Northern Tourism

Mrs. Samadani Kiriwandeniya, Managing Director, SANASA International presenting a relief token

Mr. Lakshman Abeysekara, Chairman, SANASA Development Bank presenting a relief token for a SME

Director, SANASA Development Bank offering a relief token for a SME in Northern Tourism

Mr. Stanly Mascarenes, Chairman of Northern Tourism Bureau offering a relief token for a SME in Northern Tourism

Mr. Mohanabawan, Director Tourism Bureau Northern Province offering a relief token for a SME in Northern Tourism

Deputy Consul General of India presenting a relief token for a SME

Secretary, Ministry of Health, Northern Province presenting a relief token for a SME

Mrs. R. Ketheeswaran, Government Agent, Kilinochchi presenting a relief token for a SME

Mr. K. Vimalanathan, Government Agent, Mullaitivu offering a relief token for a SME in Northern Tourism

Senior Officials offering relief tokens for the SMEs in Northern Tourism

“It’s indeed a great honor of making the closing remarks of this memorable historical golden occasion of Northern Tourism as the Tourism Value Chain Officer for the EFECS Project. In a day where the entire world talks about the theme “Tourism and Rural Development” we were able to practically initiate the Real Concepts of Rural Development with the Real North” said Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Value Chain Officer (Tourism) making the closing remarks of the ceremony

Participants faced for a group picture ending the session