Sri Lanka tourism receipts rise to Rs50bn in half year

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s estimated tourism receipts rose 19 percent from a year earlier to Rs50 billion in the first six month of 2016, with tourist arrivals also going up 16.2 percent, official data showed.

In rupee terms, estimated tourism receipts expanded 29.4 percent to Rs50.5 billion as the rupee collapsed over late 2015 after the Central Bank resisted interest rate increases with massive printing of money that drove credit and imports to unsustainable levels.

Interest rates have since been allowed to go up, after the rupee collapsed, in a familiar phenomenon analysts call ‘rawulath ne kendeth ne’.

In the six months to June 2016, tourist arrivals rose 16.2 percent to 964,267.

Since the end of civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka’s tourism sector has boomed with almost East Asian-style growth patterns driven by booking engines and small start-up properties, bringing broad-based benefits and employment.

Sri Lanka is expecting 2.2 million tourists this year.  (Colombo/Aug17/2016 – Corrected headline Rs50bn)


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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Sri Lanka Travel News


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Gulf Air launches global dynamic interline pricing tool in Sri Lanka

Gulf Air has launched its Instant Book and Price tool for travel agencies in Sri Lanka in coordination with its General Sales Agent (GSA) Mack Air, technology partner Clarity Airline Solutions and Global Distribution System (GDS) partner, Travelport.

To mark the occasion, Gulf Air GSA vice president Shaminda Fernando, Travelport country manager Mahendra Balasuriya and Clarity Airline co-founder Clifford Christopher hosted an event at Travelport’s Colombo office where Sri Lanka’s 20 top agents were introduced to the innovative pricing automation solution available on Galileo GDS.

Gulf Air now offers instant pricing for any booking with interline itineraries using the airline’s 68 airline partners. Customers can stopover in many destinations and more importantly fly on a single Gulf Air ticket ensuring they have their baggage all the way to the final destination.

“Our customers can now fly with Gulf Air and its partners with one ticket,” said Fernando. “Previously customers faced difficulties when traveling to several cities. In most cases, either the fare was too expensive or flights were inconvenient with separate tickets.

“Now with Gulf Air Instant Book and Price tool, customers can choose convenient flight connections to a wide range of global destinations with a single Gulf Air ticket. The tool also helps agents to better serve customers by offering dynamic pricing without the need to refer to the airline for any fares that are not published. We are very excited to be able to offer our loyal customers more flexibility and more ultimately more destinations.”

Gulf Air senior manager sales, Yousif Saeed, said: “This is a remarkable achievement; we are delighted to provide better services to our partner agents and customers. Starting from Colombo, we are confident that this tool shall show a positive results, which will encourage such collaboration to phase out to different regions.”



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Galle Face Hotel Colombo Gourmet Week

The first-ever, week-long food festival in Sri Lanka celebrating food, wine and produce, The Colombo Gourmet Week, will be graced by Sommeliers Josep Plana from Spain, Aurélie Maumus from France, and Gonzalo Marina Del Rio from Argentina from August 22 to 28. For a truly sensorial experience, the three world-famous Sommeliers with international award-winning chefs will enhance the curated dinners with their perfected skill in wines and gourmet cuisine respectively and infuse them with a world-class gourmet flavour.

Setting new standards in luxury hospitality, the event organized by Wine World, the premium online wine and spirits concierge service in association with The Galle Face Hotel, is expected to feature a compelling line-up of exclusive events for gourmet food lovers and professionals in the food and beverage sector.

These dinners will be open to both ticket holders and invitees and will celebrate the wine and cuisine from four wine making countries: France, Italy, Australia, and South Africa. The curated dinners will take place from August 23 to 26 and cover Australian, Italian, South African, and Chilean gourmet cuisine and accompanying wines from these regions with the right bouquet to enhance the delectable flavours in the food. Each of the three sommeliers holds extensive international experience and are considered amongst the best sommeliers the world has to offer.

Despite holding degree in Economics and Business from the Barcelona University, Sommelier Josep Plana went on to pursue his passion – Wines & Spirits. He continues to work for Torres, a wine producing company and has been assigned to manage Asian and Latin American markets.

Originally from Bordeaux, Aurelie Maumus, has a Masters in Wine Business and Foreign Language from the University of Bordeaux. Her career in the wine industry began close upon five years ago and has led her to work in China, California, and now Chile.

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Sri Lanka to Host Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference

sri lanka tourism tourist beach

Aug 15, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka, one of the top two emerging hotel and resort markets in Asia, is to host the first Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), a top-level gathering of international investors, business leaders, government ministers and officials.

President Maithripala Sirisena is supporting the conference as its patron. The AHTIC conference will take place on November 27-29 at the Hilton Colombo in Sri Lanka. (

“Sri Lanka is a perfect place to launch our Asia conference. The country’s tourism development authority has prepared an ambitious strategic plan, inviting private and public stakeholders to tackle both the industry’s long-standing needs and the future potential of the country as a tourism destination,” said Matthew Weihs, the managing director of conference organizer Bench Events.

A record two million tourists are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka this year and government ministers are anticipating this figure will double by 2020.

“The conference will cover every aspect of tourism investment throughout Asia Pacific. This is a fast-growing tourism development region and there will be substantial opportunities to network with other delegates and to exchange thoughts and ideas on the sector. The conference will also stimulate dialogue between business and government,” Weihs said.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the direct contribution of the industry to the Asia Pacific region was USD694.1bn (3.0% of total GDP) in 2014, and is forecast to rise by 9% per annum, from 2015-2025, to USD1,177.1bn (3.2% of total GDP) in 2025.

Co-Organizer and Founder Sponsor Dr Prabath Chandima Ukkwatte, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Club, said: “Colombo has been the host of several high-profile international conferences but with the establishment of AHTIC as a regular international event, we will, for the first time, become the home of an important international business meeting that will build in stature and influence as it grows from year to year.”

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Tourist boom threatens Sri Lanka’s golden beaches

MOUNT LAVINIA, SRI LANKA – Tourists have flocked back to Sri Lanka’s palm-fringed beaches since a bloody civil war ended in 2009, but environmentalists warn unchecked development means some areas are now so polluted, swimming there is a health hazard.

Tourists have flocked back to Sri Lanka’s beaches since a bloody civil war ended in 2009, but environmentalists say the island is a victim of its own success. Sewage from thriving hotels and guesthouses pours, often untreated, out into the water polluting the sea and shore. Even the country’s own tourism minister says he has stopped swimming in the seas close to capital Colombo because of the dirty water.

More than two million visitors now head to the tiny Indian Ocean island every year, more than four times the number that came in 2009.

Yet there are fears it is becoming a victim of its own success.

Guesthouses have sprung up to cater for soaring numbers of visitors — but often with little thought for how to deal with the waste they produce.

Many simply discharge raw sewage straight into the sea, exposing bathers to potential health issues.

The problem is most acute just south of Colombo at Mount Lavinia, an upscale neighbourhood and resort known for its “Golden Mile” of beach.

Environmental engineering expert Mahesh Jayaweera said the bays in Mount Lavinia were now so polluted that people should not bathe in them.

“When you look at the water you won’t notice it. But at certain times of the year, the water in Mount Lavinia is so filthy it is worse than taking a dip in a cess pool,” he said.

Levels of faecal contamination at Mount Lavinia are 60 times higher than maximum safe limits, said Jayaweera, of Sri Lanka’s University of Moratuwa.

Many visitors are unaware of the dangers, but locals are more aware of potential issues.

“We just come here to play,” said local resident Harsha Swadesh, 26, enjoying a game of volleyball with friends. “The sea is rough and it is not very clean.”

Unawatuna, just south of the historic port city of Galle, is promoted as a pristine beach perfect for snorkelling and is famous for its coral reefs.

But researchers say it is among the most polluted, with many guesthouses dumping their raw sewage into the ocean, especially at night.

“Sometimes the current brings back most of the stuff back to the beach in the morning and it is awful,” said one tourism industry figure who asked not to be named.

Tourist boom

Tourism minister John Amaratunga said visitor numbers have soared since the end of Sri Lanka’s 37-year-long Tamil separatist war.

“This year, our target is 2.2 million tourists, but we may end up with 2.5 million,” Amaratunga told AFP.

But he conceded unchecked growth could be having a negative impact on the environment, admitting that he has stopped swimming in the coastal waters off Colombo after seeing sewage flowing into it from a southern suburb of the city.

“I also used to go and bathe at Wellawatte… I stopped it when I saw the canal bringing in all the sewage into the sea,” he explained.


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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Sri Lanka Travel News


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Asia Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC)


Via Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau

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Posted by on August 21, 2016 in Sri Lanka Travel News



New boutique beach hotel to open in Sri Lanka

The company behind the recent KK by George boutique hotel in Galle has unveiled plans to open a new property on Sri Lanka’s coast.

Scheduled to launch in December 2016, the new KK Beach is being billed as a “contemporary beachfront boutique hotel and beach club”. Located near Habaraduwa, 12km from Galle on the island’s south coast, the new hotel will overlook the Indian Ocean.

The open plan ground floor area will house a restaurant and lounge, along with the works of Sri Lankan artists, which will change regularly and be available for guests to buy. A swimming pool and outdoor restaurant separate the hotel from the sandy beach.

‘KK’ stands for ‘Kahanda Kanda’, which already stands as one of Sri Lanka’s most impressive hotels, located on the shores of Lake Koggola, near Galle. The new KK Beach and Kahanda Kanda will work in conjunction with each other, and a free shuttle service will run between the two properties.

Via Travel Daily Media


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