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Miss Intercontinental contestants to tour Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka is set to host the Miss Intercontinental Pageant which will be the largest pageant to be held in the country this October. This is the first time in 20 years that a global pageant will be held in South Asia, and also the first time a major international pageant will be held in Sri Lanka.

Over 74 contestants from around the world will travel to Colombo for the event together with their respective national directors, family members and well-wishers for the grand finale. Having competed with over 80 countries to be the preferred destination, it is a major feat for the pageant to be held in Sri Lanka to also mark the 45th anniversary of the Miss Intercontinental Pageant.

Prior to the grand finale scheduled to be held Mid-October, the contestants will embark on a pre-pageant tour around Sri Lanka hosted by Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts from 6 to 10 October covering the country’s beautiful beaches, culture, heritage and wildlife.

On the first day the contestants will travel from Colombo to the centre of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, Habarana. The group will first explore the rock temple in Dambulla enroute to Cinnamon Lodge Habarana which will immediately expose the contestants to Sri Lanka’s rich heritage and history which will set the tone to their adventures around the country. After this cultural detour and lunch at the hotel, the contestants will hop on to safari jeeps that will be readied for their next excursion to Minneriya National Park which is home to a large number of Asian Elephants.

Followed by which, the next day, the contestants will travel to two of Sri Lanka’s most visited world heritage sites; Sigiriya, the iconic rock fortress, followed by the country’s second most ancient kingdom Polonnaruwa. On day three, the group will visit a village in Hiriwadunna in the morning to experience authentic Sri Lanka cuisine and sweetmeats followed by a walk and boat ride around the area. The contestants will then proceed to the Trincomalee in time for lunch at Trinco Blu by Cinnamon where they will be exposed to Sri Lanka’s beautiful east coast and fabled beaches.

The contestants will travel around Trincomalee on the fourth day with visits to the Koneshwaram Temple, Fort Fredrick, Swami Rock and the many attractions within the city, before the group travels to Cinnamon Bey Beruwala the next day via a charted train ride from Habarana.

 

Read full story from source – http://www.ft.lk/article/570347/Miss-Intercontinental-contestants-to-tour-Sri-Lanka

 

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Sri Lankan Flag flies high in Eastern Europe

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Sri Lanka Tourism concluded its wide range of road shows in Eastern Europe, including Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary on 14,16 and 19 September respectively, in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Poland.

The lighting of the traditional oil lamp was an important segment of every event, which gave the industry members a glimpse of the Sri Lankan culture.The reason of having these road shows in Eastern Europe was to promote Sri Lanka as a tropical and a beautiful country to explore, with its ancient culture and heritage, history and its pristine beaches.

Sri Lanka is growing to be a famous tourism destination among European nationals, hence, the mission of Sri Lanka Tourism is to promote this paradise island even more, with so many natural resources and getting more European tourists coming especially from Eastern Europe.

Therefore the European market is an important factor in raising Sri Lanka’s economy, and enhancing the market in Eastern Europe, is something that should be taken into consideration. Along with Sri Lanka Tourism, industry members such as Ceylon Roots, Asian Adventures, Aitken Spence Travels, Journey Escapes, Lanka Sportrezien, Tropical Asia Tours, Pledge Holidays, Camlo Lanka Tours, Clover Lanka Travels, Coral Sands Hotel, Green Holiday Centre, NKAR Travels, Andrew the Travel Company , Jetwing Travels, Ayubowan Tours and Travels, Golden Isle Travels,E Tourismo Lanka,Sunway Holidays and Qatar Airways.

A total of 35 companies and 20 journalists from Poland participated in the road shows which were held while 38 tour operator companies and 17 journalists came from the Czech Republic and Hungary added its contribution with 56 tour operator companies and 23 journalists.

Sri Lanka wants to develop trade contacts in order to expand the Eastern European tourism market.Tourist arrivals from Eastern Europe region was at 97,583 in August 2016 which was a 6 % increase over the same period last year; 9% of arrivals were from Poland and 12 % from the Czech Republic.Thus, this will be a good opportunity for Sri Lanka to develop bilateral ties and also strengthen the tourism sector boosting up the Eastern European market.

Source-http://www.ft.lk/article/570370/Sri-Lankan-Flag-flies-high-in-Eastern-Europe

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2016 in Sri Lanka Travel News

 

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Fairway Holdings pioneers ‘Smart Luxury’ with ZMAX Fairway Colombo Hotel

Colombo Fort was lit up in brilliant shades last Thursday night as Fairway Holdings celebrated the grand opening of its brand new city hotel – the ZMAX Fairway Colombo. 15 September marked the completion of yet another milestone in the real estate giant’s journey as it made its first entry into the hospitality industry of Sri Lanka.

in-2Present at the event as chief guest was Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake who in his speech promised that the Government would always support companies like Fairway Holdings that make a valuable contribution to the economy.

Other Government Ministers who graced the occasion were; Minister of Agriculture Duminda Dissanayake, Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faizer Mustapha, Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga, Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Chandima Weerakkody, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Harsha De Silva and Minister of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Palani Digambaran.

Prominent guests from the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka included Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Director-General Malraj Kiriella, John Keells Holdings Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunawardena, Jetwing Travels Managing Director Shiromal Cooray, Cinnamon Red General Manager Terrence Fernando, Maldives Resorts Sector Head and John Keells Group Executive Vice President Jayantissa Kehelpannala, George Steuart Travels Director CEO Channa Wijemanne and Aitken Spence Travels Vice President Prasanjit Perera.

The hosts for the evening were Fairway Holdings Chairman Hemaka de Alwis and other Board members.

The glittering evening’s entertainment included captivating performances by the Channa-Upuli dance troupe, exciting fusion drumming by Jananath Warakagoda and cool jazz music performed by a group of musicians headed by Soundarie David.

“We at Fairway Holdings believe that Sri Lanka is uniquely positioned at this moment to take on a huge influx of foreign visitors and it is our belief that the country is no longer simply a seasonal destination for tourists from the West. Sri Lanka is now a full year-round destination for people from all over the world who come here for both leisure and business alike. So Sri Lanka is ready to take off and we want to be part of that journey, but we didn’t want to create just another hotel. We identified a particular target group and their particular needs. So if you look at the whole design it is based mainly on what this target group looks for,” stated Fairway Holdings Group CEO Imal Fonseka.

“ZMAX Fairway Colombo has been created mainly for guests – mainly business travellers – who value location, comfort, connectivity and privacy, all at an affordable price. Every aspect and detail of the hotel has been designed with this group of guests in mind.”

Located in the very heart of Colombo’s business district down Hospital Street, Fort, and managed by the Plateno Group – the world’s fifth largest hotel management company – ZMAX Fairway Colombo offers a seamless blend of luxury and state-of-the-art technology, which it identifies as ‘Smart Luxury’. The hotel’s facade has a timeless elegance that is in perfect harmony with the surrounding buildings of the colonial era such as the Dutch Hospital and inside, an ultra-modern, minimalist style with abstract paintings by the famed Sri Lankan artist, Anoma Wijewardane.

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The hotel has a total of 181 comfortable rooms, ranging from single bedrooms to suites spacious enough to accommodate an entire family. Its amenities include a 24-hour food court – the City Food Arcade – providing a wide array of cuisines, a 24-hour gym and meeting rooms.

ZMAX Fairway Colombo provides its guests with high-end technological amenities and a much greater level of connectivity than usual with the intention of making their stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Thus, guests, having accessed the elevators and their rooms through key cards, are greeted with personalised welcome screens in their room TVs offering an interactive customer experience and capability to handle communication with the front desk and other hotel staff electronically.

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Sending messages, requesting housekeeping facilities, arranging taxis, exploring neighbourhood entertainment options, checking train schedules, ordering food from city restaurants, obtaining global and local weather forecasts and active news feeds, watching 22 local and international TV channels, and video on demand, playing games etc. are just some of the features available to guests through their room TVs.

The hotel has a paperless environment and uses advanced technology, including energy management systems and motion sensors, to promote the green initiative of energy saving.

Fairway Holdings has sought to take Sri Lankan hospitality to a whole new level of excellence and modernity through the ZMAX Fairway Colombo Hotel – the epitome of ‘Smart Luxury’.

 

Source-http://www.ft.lk/article/569957/Fairway-Holdings-pioneers–Smart-Luxury–with-ZMAX-Fairway-Colombo-Hotel

 
 

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Sri Lanka Tourism celebrate ‘World Tourism Day’ to upgrade industry competitiveness

Sri Lanka Tourism engraved ‘ World Tourism Day 2015’ with purpose by a backward integration partnership with Colombo University Economic faculty that conducts the Masters and Postgraduate programes for Tourism and Hotel Management under the leadership of Cabinet minister and Minister for Tourism development and Christian Affairs Hon John Amaratunga at the BMICH. The partnership is sustainable given that it is a tripartite partnership between Sri Lanka Tourism, the University of Colombo and the Private sector- Sri Lanka inbound tour operators( SLITO), the Hotel Association of Sri Lanka  (THASL) and Association of small and medium enterprises in tourism ( ASMET) said Minister Amaratunga. On behalf of Colombo University Rev W. Wimalaratne- Head of Economics and Founder/Coordinator for the Masters in Tourism programme Dr. D. A Silva was present.

Let us now identify the key issues the industry is facing and request the best brains in the country to recommend the strategies and best practices we must implement to make this industry be more competitive globally said Minister Ameratunga.

Letters of intent being signed by the Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau Dr. Rohantha Athukorala and University of Colombo Economic Faculty Founder of Tourism masters Dr D. S Suranga. SLITO past chairman Mahen Kariyawasam and THASL Vice President Asoka Hettigoda, Sam Teegel on behalf of ASMET signed for the private sector.

Rev W. Wimalaratne- Head of Economics University of Colombo, Founder/Coordinator for the Masters in Tourism programme Dr. D. A. Silva present whilst the Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions bureau Dr Rohantha Athukorala hand over the official docket on the project to the Minister for Tourism Development and Christian Affairs Hon. John Ameratunga.

The Chairman Sri Lanka a Promotions Bureau Dr Rohantha Athukorala who orchestrated the partnership Dr Silva the Founder and coordinator of the Tourism Masters programme said ‘ the tourism business is the most competitive and dynamic industry one can work as it is to do with people’s leisure and their behaviour. Hence, this keeps changing daily where people are seeking new experiences in their life. This in turn demands the industry to change accordingly.  If we do not, we will loose our competitiveness. Which is where the Colombo University will help us  bridge this gap. This makes the celebration of Worlds Tourism Day very purposeful he said.

Universities globally are  organisations that perform a key role within contemporary society by educating large proportions of the population and generating knowledge but many universities have taken action to develop a ‘third mission’ by fostering links with knowledge users and facilitating technology transfer. The latter is what we are interested in and the private sector tourism chambers- SLITO, THASL and ASMET will be the key stakeholders in the partnership said Athukorala.

The key issues that were identified and shared at the World Tourism day with the university of Colombo were as follows – Strategies for better management of traffic in wildlife parks.

Are the tourist arrival numbers right – case study in Sri Lanka, Building a destination brand in the digital age, Importance hygiene and sanitation when a country attracts top end visitors, Can Sigiriya the 8th wonder be better marketers. Is casinos the best way to attract the top dollar tourist, the need for the Tourism master plan for Sri Lanka, The HR issue in the hospitality industry of Sri Lanka , Why has the Tourism industry not grown like the tea and apparel industry of Sri Lanka, Do Chinese tourist increase the crime rate in a country – case study of Sri Lanka.

Should Sri Lanka focus on Golf Tourism? How to moderate online booking companies operating is Sri Lanka, Halal tourism will it work in Sri Lanka? A structured process of new product development for the tourism industry, What is carrying capacity in the Tourism industry? Is there a future for Charters to work in the Sri Lanka’s tourism sector, The relationship between infrastructure development and tourist arrivals in a country just to name a few.

All copy research topics that has been approved by the senate will be available at the Sri Lanka Tourism library so that it can be used by the private sector which I will personally monitor commented Dr Athukorala.

Source-http://www.srilanka.travel/travel_news?news=371

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Sri Lanka Travel News

 

SriLankan Airlines commences services to Lahore

SriLankan Airlines will enhance its focus on the Asia / Middle East region by commencing services between the Pakistani city of Lahore and Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo from 27th September 2016

.Ajith Dias, Chairman of SriLankan airlines, said: “This is an important step in our strategy of increasing our focus on Asia, from the Middle East in the west to China and Japan in the east. In addition, as we announced previously, we are taking over operations of Mihin Lanka, in accordance with our government’s policy.

The route will be served by SriLankan’s medium haul fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. SriLankan already has a daily service to Karachi.

Captain Suren Ratwatte, CEO of SriLankan Airlines, added: “We are delighted to begin services to Lahore, which is the second largest metropolitan area in Pakistan. We will be closely evaluating market opportunities in Lahore and other South Asian cities, and adding more destinations and frequencies. This further cements our burgeoning partnership with Pakistan International Airlines with whom we expect further cooperation.”

The service will be twice-weekly for the first month of operation with flights on Tuesday and Thursday and will then be increased to thrice-weekly starting from 30th October with a change to flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Flights will depart Colombo at 2010 hours, arrive in Lahore at 2335, depart Lahore at 0035 the next day and arrive in Colombo at 0505.

Lahore is the capital of Punjab Province with a population in excess of 10 million.

With the addition of Lahore, SriLankan will expand its network to 100 destinations in 48 countries. SriLankan is a member of the prestigious oneworld global airline alliance.

source-http://www.news.lk/news/world/item/14571-srilankan-airlines-commences-services-to-lahore

 
 

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Himalaya Airlines to start Kathmandu-Colombo flights from 1 October

in-4Himalaya Airlines, a Nepal-China Joint Venture Airline, has announced its second destination – Colombo – as the airline commences its passenger services on the Kathmandu-Colombo route with effect from 1 October 2016.

The airline will fly its A320-214 (configured with eight Business Class and 150 Economy Class seats) on the new route.

Operating as H9 673, Himalaya will fly every Tuesday and Saturday, departing from Tribhuwan International Airport, Kathmandu at 11:30 a.m. and arriving at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo at 3:15 p.m. The return H9 674 departs Colombo at 4:15 p.m. and arrives in Kathmandu at 8:15 p.m. on the same day.

Himalaya Airlines Administration Vice President Vijay Shrestha said: “After an overwhelming response received from the previous two non-scheduled flights to Colombo, we found this route to hold great potential. We have observed passenger traffic data between the two countries over several years before arriving at this route decision. We are very pleased to be able to resume services to and from Colombo as it is an important market for the tourism promotion of both countries. Flying to this destination will definitely promote tourism between two nations along with generating new business opportunities.”

The airline has appointed Classic Travel as its General Sales Agents (GSA). In representing the airline, Classic Travel will be responsible for the airline’s sales and marketing, market development, reservations and ticketing services.

The airfare offered by the airlines starts from approximately Rs. 40,000 for one way travel and Rs. 68,570 for a round trip, inclusive of governmental taxes.

Himalaya Airlines, a full-service carrier established in August 2014, began its scheduled flight operation flying directly to Doha, Qatar from 31 May 2016. In addition to the opening of the Kathmandu-Colombo route, the Airline has planned regular flights to Delhi, Yangon, Dammam, Beijing, Lhasa, Chengdu, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Dubai.

The airline welcomed its first new aircraft an MSN 6626, an Airbus 320-214 on 9 March 2016. This aircraft carried Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Oli, his wife Radhika Shakya and her delegation on an official visit to Beijing, China on 20 March 2016. The aircraft also flew to Colombo, offering a promotional package round trip on 12 April 2016 and 3 May 2016.

Over the next five years the airline aims to acquire 15 Airbus 320 family aircrafts and will operate from Kathmandu to various cities in Asia and beyond. The company will introduce the long haul wide body aircraft of the A330 family in due course for the operation of direct flights to Japan, Korea, Europe, Australia and America.

 

source- http://www.ft.lk/article/569949/Himalaya-Airlines-to-start-Kathmandu-Colombo-flights-from-1-October

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2016 in Sri Lanka Airlines News

 

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Differently-abled holidays give new growth focus

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Tourism Minister John Amaratunga launching the social media pages for travel documentary ‘Adaraneeya Sri Lanka’, while SLTDA Director General Malraj Kiriella look on

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Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Paddy Withana and SLTDA Director General Malraj Kiriella symbolically handing over a wheel chair to the Central Cultural Fund to be distributed in tourist sites

By Charumini de Silva

Improving access to differently-abled people will be a key focus for Sri Lanka’s burgeoning tourism industry, the Government said yesterday, calling on the entire value chain to align with the global theme for World Tourism Day and see it as an opportunity to generate more business.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) together with stakeholders of the industry celebrated World Tourism Day focusing on the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) theme; ‘Tourism for all – Promoting Universal Accessibility’ at the Sri Lanka Institute of Hotel Management (SLITHM).

Tourism Development, Christian Religious Affairs and Lands Minister John Amaratunga said that this year’s theme was of great relevance to the country and insisted it was the right time for sustainable planning to make Sri Lanka a success story in providing accessibility in this part of the world.

“As a country that has emerged from a three decade long war, that has left thousands of our citizens with various disabilities, Sri Lanka is obliged to put in place the basic facilities needed to ensure both safety and comfort of physically challenged people,” he added.

He emphasised that it was essential to make every effort to make use of modern technology to remove barriers for people with special needs such as hearing and visual impairment, noting that there are many physically challenged people who are eager to explore the island — but hesitant to do so due to inadequate facilities.

The Minister called on industry stakeholders to make the global goal a reality adding that accessibility should not be just confined to hotels, restaurants and tourist sites — but extend to transportation, support services and information dissemination as well.

While reminding that accessibility remains a key component of Sri Lanka’s tourism development strategy he said sustainability of the industry was of equal importance.

“We must ensure that our resources and attractions remain unharmed by the development activities which are currently taking place in every nook and corner of the country. We must resort to eco tourism practices where and whenever possible and the protection of the environment should be at the top of the agenda, which will be in accordance with the UNWTO’s declaration of 2017 as the year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.”

World Tourism Day, held annually on 27 September is aimed to foster awareness of the importance of tourism, and its social, cultural, political and economic impact.

Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Paddy Withana also reiterated the significance of increasing accessibility adding that everyone has the right to access leisure and tourism services on an equal basis.

The official event unveiled the ‘50 best tourism experiences in Sri Lanka’ and a travel documentary ‘Adaraneeya Sri Lanka’. In addition, SLTDA handed over wheel chairs to the Central Cultural Fund to be distributed in tourist sites.

Tourism Minister confident of 2.5m arrivals in 2016 

Optimistic Tourism Minister John Amaratunga yesterday was upbeat that Sri Lanka would achieve its 2.5 million tourist target by the end of the year despite the first eight months marking only 1.35 million arrivals.

In remarks at the World Tourism Day celebrations held in Colombo he expressed confidence that the forthcoming winter season would be “the best this country has witnessed.”

Noting that next month Sri Lanka will be hosting the annual French Travel Conference in Colombo, he added that it would be a massive boost for the industry as nearly 500 top travel agents from France would be in Colombo to learn more about Sri Lanka.

According to the Minister the launch of ‘50 best tourism experiences in Sri Lanka’ was an attractive method to ensure return visits by travelers.

Amaratunga said: “I like to see the benefits of the tourism industry filtering down to the grassroot levels because that’s when we would experience the real growth.”

Source – http://www.ft.lk/article/570168/Differently-abled-holidays-give-new-growth-focus

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2016 in Sri Lanka Travel News

 

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