The advent of technology appears to have transformed the travel and tourism industry — an evolution that has been even more pronounced during the current pandemic. Sri Lanka Tourism has taken a proactive approach, incorporating the benefits of technology into its offerings to remain competitive in the digital age. Sri Lanka’s top tourism agencies are integrating technology into their operational infrastructure and investing in value-added IT initiatives to improve service quality, human resources and visitor experience.
In support of the national policy priority of improving the digital footprint, the Sri Lanka Tourism Board appointed eMarketingEye as the digital marketing agency to manage social media and digital marketing campaigns. The digitization focuses on six pillars: Heritage, Attractions, Adventure Activities, Wildlife and Nature, Sri Lankan Food and Health. Between January 2020 and April 2021, organic post reach increased by 452%, with 290 million impressions and a record 12 million views across all social media channels.
Version 2.0 of the Sri Lanka Tours mobile travel app was launched by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank under the direction of ICTA to meet COVID-19 health protocols and will include nearly 5,000 lesser-known attractions, Google Maps, tourist attraction ticket purchases, the ability to rate establishments, a customer experience management system, a panic button to share locations with Tourist Police, and traveler feedback surveys.
“About 5,000 off the beaten track locations will be featured on the travel app, offering diverse experiences to international and domestic travelers. The initiative also aims to support sustainable tourism and SMEs to build community-based tourism. “ADB is currently assisting the Sri Lanka Tourism Board in producing content for the official mobile travel app and invites expressions of interest,” the forum said. “
As part of the initiative to showcase Sri Lanka and keep the dream alive, with the support of the Thai Mission and the Thai Embassy in Sri Lanka, Kandy Perahera 2020 will be televised live in Thailand for the first time in the local language.
The wildlife livestreaming of the ‘Couch Safari’ initiative attracted guests from all over the world and was well received, reaching 350,000 people, at least 40% of whom were international. Wildlife in Yala, Mineria, Kadulla and Udawalawe captivated thousands of viewers with the ‘stay at home today, travel tomorrow’ concept. The campaign was launched on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Direct Display campaigns are run using the Google Display Network and Trip Advisor. Couch Safari is advertised using video and display ads on major travel, wildlife, destination websites and YouTube channels. Overall, the campaign generated over 22 million impressions, over 1.7 million video views and over 40,000 clicks.
To enhance the industry’s appeal and ensure hospitality school courses continue uninterrupted during the pandemic-induced movement restrictions, SLITHM has launched a novel initiative and moved all courses to an online platform.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Board is entering a new era of technology-enabled systems and products to meet the needs of post-COVID-19 travelers who will seek more contactless and non-traditional forms of travel, such as exploring the concept of “working from anywhere”. Sri Lanka is perfectly poised to embrace digital nomads, with its ‘Work From Your Own Tropical Paradise’ strategy gaining traction in many global listings so far.