Leveraging the Power of Social Media to Promote Tourism in Sri Lanka

As Sri Lanka emerges from the pandemic and addresses its internal economic challenges, the role of tourism in its economy becomes increasingly significant. Prior to the pandemic, tourism constituted 12 percent of the country’s GDP, contributing a substantial $4.3 billion in revenue in 2018. Notably, Sri Lanka is currently witnessing a remarkable upswing in tourist arrivals. On the 26th of September, the country achieved a significant milestone by surpassing one million tourist arrivals in the year 2023, a stark contrast to the 720,000 recorded for the entire year of 2022.

Adding to this momentum, on September 25, IDG’s USAID-Indo-Pacific Opportunity Project (IPOP) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance launched a social media influencer campaign to support efforts to increase Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals and boost the tourism industry. The official launch of the campaign was conducted by United States Ambassador Julie Chung and Chairman Chalaka Gajabayu from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau. This live media event introduced ten international social media influencers to key members of the Sri Lankan tourism industry, as well as to local media and Sri Lankan influencers. Over a week, the influencers traveled and posted updates from around the island highlighting the many “off the beaten path” sustainable niche tourism experiences that Sri Lanka has to offer.

Photo: US Ambassador Julie Chung (center) helps launch the social media influencer campaign in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka possesses rich and diverse tourism offerings, including sustainable niche tourism products and experiential cultural attractions. By leveraging the power of social media through high-quality influencers, it is possible to increase global awareness of the amazing tourism assets in Sri Lanka, positioning the country as a high-value destination and contributing to the post-pandemic economic recovery of Sri Lanka’s tourism sector.

Photo: Social media influencers post from around the island.