The Sri Lanka pavilion at the recent Arabian Travel Market. Following the 30-year civil war, Sri Lanka launched a new campaign to draw visitors. Their new slogan — ‘Refreshingly Sri Lanka’ — depicts a new chapter for the country. Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News

Dubai: Some tourist destinations thrown into the media glare by political turmoil or natural disasters are starting to incorporate these events into their marketing campaigns.

Take, for instance, Chile's re-branded campaign slogan ‘Chile is good for you' after the less than stellar returns on their first one: ‘Chile, All Ways Surprising'.

While the latest campaign was run on a relatively small budget of $10 million (Dh36.74 million) a year, two unrelated events have since gone on to boost Chile's status considerably.

In February last year, Chile suffered from a devastating earthquake and, in August, the world watched transfixed as 33 miners were rescued after a more than two-month ordeal trapped underground.

"We've seen a big boost in tourism following the miners incident," said Nicholas Rhodes, managing director for the luxury division at Cocha Travel, one of the largest travel agencies.

"Traffic has increased this year [by] 25 per cent compared to last year for the first few months of this year." The high season is January, February and March.

"The whole world saw the mining incident. If you talk to people about Spain they say Real Madrid, if you talk to people about Chile, they say miners."

Happy ending

The new branding incorporated the happy ending with the country's natural beauty.

"The logo was made because it is the most relaxing place you'll ever be," said Rhodes.

"It's good for the soul. The logo has been up since around the time of the mining incident and it gives us a unified image."

Egypt is another destination that was able to sync its slogan with the political events earlier this year.

In an effort to expand its identification beyond the pyramids and ancient ruins, Egypt re-branded it slogan from ‘Nothing Compares' to ‘Where it all begins'.

They opted to move away from the expected hieroglyph-inspired fonts to something modern, blue and reminiscent of water to reflect the beach tourism the country has to offer.

"Countries' images evolve and have different stages," said Ismail Ismail, member of the board and treasurer of the Egyptian Tourism Federation.

"In the past, people associated Egypt with the pyramids. Because of the revolution, Egypt became part of the international media.

"People looked at the country from a sociological point of view rather than just a historical point of view. As well as the beach, pyramids, etcetera, the people themselves are also part of the package.

"We're hoping that following the results of the revolution will bring in more tourists. We had free advertising on TV every day during the revolution!"

Following its 30-year civil war, which was instrumental in destroying its tourism industry, Sri Lanka launched a new campaign aimed at drawing back visitors.

A new chapter

Their new slogan — ‘Refreshingly Sri Lanka' — depicts change and a new chapter for the country.

"After the war we are a new nation and we are inviting tourists to visit our land and enjoy a refreshing experience," said Malraj Kriella, managing director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

According to Patrick Smith, CEO of FutureBrand, a country's brand strength is driven by perceptions of heritage and culture, tourism, business, quality of life and national value systems.

Current events along with marketing campaigns lend a big hand in changing the perceptions of a country.