The Sri Lanka Tourism office UK has won the 2011 Marketing Excellence in Tourism Award at the annual awards night of prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing UK, held at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane, 15 February.
The UK office – led by director Sanjika Perera – have been instrumental in creating a marketing campaign which has drawn tens of thousands of additional tourists to the picturesque Island nation in the past 2 years. The surge of tourists which followed the ‘Refreshingly Sri Lanka’ promotion has been a major boost for the country’s tourism-led economy since the end of the bloody 30-year civil war in 2009. Significantly, Sri Lanka Tourism UK was the only overseas national tourist office based in Britain to be short-listed for a Marketing Excellence Award by the specialist industry panel.
Sanjika Perera, Director UK and Ireland said, “Sri Lanka Tourism is thriving now but has gone through some challenging times in the past and I am proud to be a part of a world class team that gave Sri Lanka Tourism the credit it truly deserves.”
Since the end of the country’s separatist conflict, the Sri Lankan tourist industry has worked tirelessly to make up for lost time. The 3-decade long conflict claimed the lives of more than 70,000 people and devastated the country’s economy. Large parts of the country – particularly the stunning coastal stretches of the North and East – remained untouched by tourism; and whilst visitors were never targeted during the war, many – including expatriate Sri Lankans – stayed away from the Island.
Following the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels, the government, international hoteliers and individual investors have led a scramble to further develop the Island’s tourist infrastructure. Sri Lanka’s staggeringly diverse attractions – from pristine beaches, virgin rainforests and myriad wildlife to 3000-year-old ruins – as well as its relatively small size has captured the imagination of the international community, with the New York Times recently naming the country as its top tourist destination of 2011.
– Vijitha Alles