Sri Lanka at Bocuse d'Or 2023 Grand Final
Bocuse d'Or- the coveted culinary competition named after Paul Bocuse has been taking place biennially in Lyon, France since 1987. In a resounding victory for our nation, Sri Lanka has qualified to compete in the Finals of the SIRH/+ BOCUSE D'OR 2023, which will be held in Lyon, France on the 23 of January. This is the 2nd time in the history of the event that Sri Lanka has been selected to participate in the Grand Final, the first being in 2013.
Following aggressive rounds of culinary competitions, top-notch training by the industry pioneers and nerve-wracking expectations, Team Sri Lanka's Chef Mihishan Silva of Hilton Residences together with Commis Chef Siyathma Perera of Waters Edge, coached by Executive Chef Priyantha Weerasinghe of Movenpick have qualified locally as well as within the region to take on the diverse flavours of Ceylon, with innovative dishes, on their quest for the Bocuse d'Or 2023 Grand Final. They will be using their gourmet abilities to compete against culinary champions from 24 nations. The team will be flown to France by Srilankan Airlines.
A competition eagerly anticipated by the hospitality industry, the Bocuse d'Or event extracts the very best of young men and women with a penchant to benchmark their gastronomical skills globally. Sri Lanka has participated in the competition since 2011, with the intention of grooming young and upcoming chefs to take on the challenging field of food and beverage. Speaking about the importance of events such as this, President of Bocuse d'Or Sri Lanka, Rohan Fernandopulle went on to state, "We believe that this is a great opportunity to position Sri Lanka on the global map promoting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination, and are excited to portray the skills and talents of our young Chefs." Adding to this, Director-Dilmah Tea, Roshan Tissaaratchy had to say, "Dilmah has supported Bocuse d'or Sri Lanka as part of the brand's commitment to innovation and tea gastronomy. Uplifting culinary standards in the country through the participation of Chefs and their apprentices in the global contest initiated by iconic Chef Paul Bocuse, is key to strengthening the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka and opportunities for Sri Lankans in the sector"
Furthermore, Trevin Gomez, Past President of Sri Lanka Hospitality Graduates Association, added how this was a proud moment for not just the 2 individuais representing Team Sri Lanka, but the entire culinary community and Sri Lanka as a whole itself. "The event is the most coveted competition in this craft, and it is a great honour to qualify for the Grand Final against some top notch contestants!"
The press conference to felicitate and wish the best of luck for the contestants was organized by Bocuse d'Or Sri Lanka, was held on the 11th of January 2023 at the Hilton Colombo Residencies. The event was graced by the presence of Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism and Lands and the Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives His Excellency Mr. Jean-François Pactet.
MICE Tourism includes in the Tourist ETA system
An initiative of Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB)
Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) in collaboration with the Department of Immigration and Emigration has made arrangements to include MICE tourism in the Tourist ETA Application. https://eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ With the new arrangement, MICE travellers will recognize under the tourist visa category. MICE Tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions/Events), Weddings, Sports events and Pilgrims were included in the Tourist ETA application under the “Purpose of Visit”. SLCB is of the view that this facilitation will provide a solution for the long-lasting issue faced by the local travel industry on the unavailability of MICE statistics.
MICE is an acronym for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions/events. Globally, MICE Tourism has emerged as a key revenue-generating niche for the industry and has a clear separation from leisure tourism. It is not a new sector for Sri Lanka and it goes back to 1976 by hosting of fifth Non-aligned Summit in Sri Lanka.
As per the research findings, the global MICE industry would expect to reach $ 1.5 trillion by 2025 (Allied Market Research 2018 February). The International Convention & Congress Association (ICCA) published that the size of the global meeting industry is 860 billion USS in 2018. The discussion emphasizes that the industry is important to segment with growth potential. Although, MICE is a promising segment with high potential, the unavailability of statistics was a major drawback to benchmarking the Sri Lanka MICE industry. The main reason of the non-availability of MICE statistics was that the ETA system did not provide provisions to include MICE Tourism, weddings, and sports events in the Application form. Only Meetings and conferences have been categorized under the Business visa ETA. There is a gap of USD 10 between a tourist visa and business visas. Since, Meetings & conferences were categorized under a Business visa, most of MICE travellers were tend to obtain tourist visas instead of business visa due to the difference in visa fees.
Due to this reason, the real potential of the MICE industry could not be explored. Further, the in-house methods used by SLCB over the past years for data collection were not successful in capturing the data. With the facilitation of MICE under the tourist visa stream, MICE visitors and groups could now apply for visa under the tourist visa category. SLCB expects to make aware of the local travel
industry about the new facility and thereby all MICE visitors could be recognized.
Uga Jungle Beach celebrates 10th anniversary
Uga Jungle Beach, the second resort launched by Uga celebrated its 10th Anniversary on the 22nd of June 2022. Located in Trincomalee, the property is set in an entirely natural and harmonious blend of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated natural virtues, its wondrous beaches, and teeming jungles, which provide guests spectacular views of the ocean or the lagoon.
Uga Jungle Beach includes 48 luxuriously designed cabins nestled within luscious foliage offering utmost privacy and seclusion. Each 650-square-foot cabin is crafted from indigenous materials and furnished with king-sized beds, high-end entertainment systems, private decks, and outdoor rain showers. Uga Jungle Beach also offers guests a spa, gym, pool, expansive beach stretch, myriad of excursions hosted by resident naturalists and an open-air restaurant, which features several elegant signature-dining options on open decks on the beach and in the trees.
Renowned for its unparalleled service and facilities, Uga Jungle Beach has been a recipient of many awards and certifications including the World Luxury Lifestyle Awards 2012 and 2013, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice since 2014, Booking.com Guest Review Award since 2016 and Recommended by HolidayCheck since 2015. It has also been awarded the highly sought-after TraveLife Gold certification for its pioneering efforts to promote sustainability in tourism.
To commemorate the property’s 10th anniversary, a religious and awards ceremony was held in the presence of Managing Director, Priyanjith Weerasooria, Chief Executive Officer, Ramli Ghafoor, and General Manager, Neranjan Morais. During the ceremony, long service certificates were awarded to team members for a period of service of 5 and 10 years, and certificates of appreciation were presented to all staff members.
Commenting on the Uga Jungle Beach’s 10th anniversary,. Priyanjith Weerasooria, Managing Director of Uga Escapes Management (Pvt) Ltd, said, “We are indeed proud to be celebrating our 10th anniversary. At Uga Jungle Beach, we have continuously worked closely with the local community by recruiting 50% of our staff members from the area and have completed cleaning & donation projects at local schools, hospitals and places of worship. We wholeheartedly believe in sustainability initiatives as tourism and sustainability are closely connected. Our aim is to provide our guests with an immersive experience with our signature local hospitality and we will continue to prioritise sustainability at the heart of everything we do.”
Uga is a fully owned subsidiary of Finco Holdings. Uga comprises Uga Ulagalla in Anuradhapura, Jungle Beach in Trincomalee, Uga Bay in Passikudah, Chena Huts in Yala, and Uga Residence in Colombo. Uga operates as a homegrown luxury brand that is committed to preserving natural splendour and indigenous culture whilst providing a unique accommodation experience.
Granbell Hotel Colombo opens in Sri Lanka
The Granbell Hotel Colombo recently opened its doors, warmly welcoming all to experience a fusion of Japanese and Sri Lankan hospitality. The property is owned and managed by the leading Japanese company Belluna Co. Ltd, a listed company on the Tokyo Stock exchange. The Granbell Hotel Colombo, adds to a growing portfolio of properties around the world owned and managed by Belluna.Co.Ltd. The hotel chain includes 17 properties in Japan, 1 in Hawaii, 1 in the Maldives and 2 in Sri Lanka.
The Chief Guest, HE. Mizukoshi Hideaki - the Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka together with several invitees including, Kiyoshi Yasuno - the President of Belluna Co. Ltd, graced the launch event for the hotel.
The launch of the hotel is in line with the long-standing friendship between Sri Lanka and Japan, which dates back over 70 years. The project commenced in 2016 with a foreign direct investment of USD 60 million. The construction was carried out by the Hazama Ando Corporation of Japan and was completed in line with the highest construction standards, combining Japanese architecture and Sri Lankan craftsmanship.
Today, the hotel provides a large number of employment opportunities for the local communities, in a post-pandemic era, further strengthening the economic revival of the nation. The hotel ensures high-quality Japanese service standards, and operations will be carried out with the strictest attention to detail and efficiency.
With a sustainable design concept with open-air corridors, the Granbell Hotel Colombo is located in proximity to the Colpetty Railway Station in the heart of Colombo and provides a host of exciting facilities and services. This includes a rooftop infinity pool & bar, gymnasium, spa, yoga, dance studio and an all-day dining restaurant. The hotel features a mix of Sri Lankan and Japanese design, and elegant interiors that match the coastal surroundings and vistas, promising an ideal island getaway.
Kiyoshi Yasuno, Chief Executive Officer of Belluna Co. Ltd commented, “The Granbell Hotel Colombo not only looks to become Sri Lanka’s newest city escape but also to revitalize the overall hospitality industry of the nation. The hotel supports significant investment opportunities in Sri Lanka which in turn, will also explore opportunities in the hospitality job market.”
While the Heads of Departments and staff are Sri Lankan, the hotel also brings forth Japanese expertise in terms of the General Manager and the Head Chef to offer an authentic combination of the two cultures.
Tourism in dire straits with proposed new tourism act - ASMET
Text and Pics by Chanaka de Silva
Sri Lanka (ASMET) lashes out at the failure of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority's (SLTDA) failure to take responsibility and take necessary action for the plight that is presently faced by the tourism industry today.
Addressing a recently held press meet ASMET Past President Rohan Abeywickrema said this was the singular most pressing issue faced by the industry as a whole. He further stressed that which supported the local population with both direct and indirect employment was in dire straits. with the Colombo City Restaurant Collective(CCRC) president Harpo Gunaratne, who was also present at the occasion of the 'One Industry One Voice' joint press conference held in Colombo.
Speaking further on the plight of the tourism industry Abeywickrema said, the negative travel advisories issued of Sri Lanka has already begun to take their toll. Several operators have reported cancellation and if the situation is not put right fast the Summer Season was going to be very bleak for the country as a whole. Also addressing the gathering Colombo City Restaurant Collective(CCRC) president Harpo Gunaratne said, today they are unable to keep up with changing prices of the ingredients needed. Further to cater to an international market one has to provide a diverse range of food which cannot be made using all local ingredients either. At this point, the SLTDA should step in and provide this industry relief informs of import exemptions and tax relief measures. But neither seems to be forthcoming so far. Besides the foreign tourist today the patronage of these establishments are made up of the local without whom the restaurant industry would have collapsed during the post COVID period. Further in spite of the tourism levy collected there has be promotional work done by the SLTDA for some time now and this is the time when it is most needed, he said.
When asked as to the reason why these pressing issues were not addressed, the table unanimously said that the present priority of the SLTDA was to change the Tourism Act and to complete this task all other priorities have been put aside. They also said while at this juncture this was what should take precedent it also did not serve any purpose. On the contrary on points noted whilst scrutinising the draft provided, it was found that certain well-established practices of certain committees being consulted on trade issues have been dropped. Also, give unrestricted access and the authority to dispose of the large land bak which is under the purview of the SLTDA at present. Further, the new proposed act centralizes all decision making power with the sole head of the SLTDA, whilst not demonstrating how this new act will improve the number of tourists to the country, they said.
Finally speaking further Abeywickrema said, the tourism sector is the most labour intensive industry in the country. It supports both direct and indirect
livelihoods to around three million people in this country. With the date drawing near to the expiry of the present tourism act the proposed does not provide and tangible solutions to the current situation nor promise better times to come.
Inspiring Indian Travel to Sri Lanka through the largest travel convention in 2022
(Pics by Prabodha de Silva)
In 2022 Sri Lanka is going to witness the largest Travel Convention ever held in the country where over 500 delegates from India will be attending to promote Si Lanka as a destination. TAAI (Travel Agents Association of India) is partnering with Sri Lanka Tourism and SLAITO to host their 66th annual convention in Colombo on the 19th, 20th and 21st of April. Sri Lanka had close to 500,000 Indian arrivals in 2018 and this number will continue to rise as the TAAI Convention takes place intending to inspire immense growth for inbound tourism in Sri Lanka from al parts of India and bring global media attention to the pearl of the Indian ocean.
With 500 delegates attending this event and 50 media invitees to get global coverage, the TAA convention will take place over the course of 3 days where the delegates will leam about the destination and interact with many inbound tour operators of Sri Lanka to initiate and develop new links between our country and one of the largest markets in tourism The prime members of TAAI India's premier travel and tourism association will be attending this 3-day convention to involve a wide variety of industry verticals and hopefully sign a Tri party agreement with Si Lanka Tourism and SLAITO. Hence all the parties involved will stand to gain
significant value in the long term.
The tourism minister Prasanna Ranatunga will be the chief guest and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau will be the main sponsoring partner for his first-ever TAAl convention in this holiday destination Slaito President Thilak Weerasing he said, "This is a great opportunity to create new connections between India and Sri Lanka and build towards the newfound, heightened interest n Sri Lanka after the borders opened last year" The Colombo Convention will not only be an exceptional inspiration for Indian travel, it is also a fantastic period to promote Sri Lanka and all it's stunning facets that make it a unique bucket list destination, amidst all the global media coverage. The focal points of the convention will be Sri Lanka inbound tourism, Indian outbound tourism, destination promotion and organising leisure. Inclusive of all segments from MICE, speciality events, sports tourism to airline ticketing and more.
(Pics by Chanaka de Silva)
‘One Island, A Thousand Treasures’ rediscover Sri Lanka
Pioneering its contribution to marketing Sri Lanka as a ‘must-visit’ travel destination over the decades, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts is making a renewed effort by launching the ‘One Island Thousand Treasures’ destination promotion campaign. This novel campaign will unveil the unknown stories behind Sri Lanka and paint a unique picture of culturally relevant stories just waiting to be explored by the world.
Cinnamon aims to play a proactive role to entice global travellers to experience Sri Lanka by showcasing the nation’s unique places, people and experiences beyond the usual sites and excursions. These stories will be promoted via digital platforms to engage an international audience through social media and programmatic digital marketing, to encourage travellers to visit and experience Sri Lanka.
"With the ‘One Island, A Thousand Treasures’ initiative, we are taking giant steps to elevate the perception of Sri Lanka among the rest of the world. Our vision will be achieved by raising awareness of the country’s hidden treasures that go beyond the usual tourist experiences. As a country replete with culture, history, wellness, spirituality and nature, we are excited to play a role in showcasing these undiscovered locations through this campaign and positioning Sri Lanka as a must-visit destination,” commented Mikael Svensson, Chief Executive Officer at Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts Furthermore, the ‘One Island, A Thousand Treasures’ initiative targets the creation of new business opportunities for local communities including the revival of local arts and crafts. By promoting the niche, lesser-known experiences, and history of Sri Lanka, not only will the country have more to offer tourists, but it will also help more industry stakeholders – a key objective of the campaign.
Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said, “Sri Lanka Tourism is excited to partner this unique initiative by Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts as it leverages on the growing trend for content creation and emotional storytelling. By joining Cinnamon’s ‘One Island Thousand Treasures’, we are hopeful that content creators, social media influencers and tourists alike will take on the challenge to discover the authentic sights and sounds of the island, which are off the beaten path. I have no doubt that there are many hidden gems to uncover. Such an initiative is of paramount importance to promote Sri Lanka as the most sought-after travel destination.”
Digital content creators can record their discovery and share it with the Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts Team via the One Island, A Thousand Treasures website or through Facebook, Instagram or YouTube tagging @CinnamonHotels and #OneIslandThousandTreasures. Upon submission of an authentic Sri Lankan story of a unique place, people or culture, an independent panel of content experts will review each entry. As a reward, contributors and content creators are entitled to promotional discounts, giveaways and getaways courtesy of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts and a host of other partner brands, should their submission be selected for the campaign.
The ‘One Island, A Thousand Treasures’ campaign is presented by Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts in association with Sri Lanka Tourism and Dentsu Grant as the creative partner. For further details on this initiative and how to be a part of it, visit www.OITT.lk or follow Cinnamon’s social media channels at www.facebook.com/cinnamonhotels and www.instagram.com/cinnamonhotels.
Sancharaka Udawa' to boost tourism
Annual travel and tourism expo schedules 10th edition for May The Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) announced today that the 10t
edition of the Sancharaka Udawa -Sri Lanka's only travel and tourism exhibition- will be held this year at the BMICH on 15 and 16 May. The announcement was made alongside main sponsor Sri Lanka Tourism, in the presence of chief guest Hon. Arundika Fernando, State Minister of Tourism Promotion Affairs, Dushan Wickramasuriya, Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Prasad Daluwatta, Director Events, SLTPB, Mahen Kariyawasam, President of SLAITO and Nushani Ediriweera Dias, Chairperson of Sancharaka Udawa 2020.Designed to cater to both the B2B and B2C sectors of the industry, the two-day expo aims to provide exhibitors with an influential and robust platform for small, medium and large travel and tourism service providers to interact and build lasting connections with their respective target stakeholders, as well as to effectively engage with the relevant government authorities.
The organisers will be commemorating 10 years of Sancharaka Udawa this year, with an exhibition slated to be its biggest yet. Expecting to host more than 300 local and international exhibitors, the fair is estimated to attract over 10,000 trade and public visitors walking through its doors between 10am and 8pm on 15 and 16 May.Speaking at the press conference, Nushani Ediriweera Dias, Chairperson of Sancharaka Udawa 2020 underlined the role of the exhibition as the driving force for the travel industry, "For the past decade we have witnessed how Sancharaka Udawa has enhanced the industry by connecting operators with a large network of decision makers in each sector. It has become more important now than ever before that the various sectors of the industry work closely together to uplift Sri Lanka's unique brand of hospitality."Key features of Sancharaka Udawa this year will include engaging talks, seminars and networking sessions. As testament to the good rapport between the industry and its relevant government authorities, stalls will be provided free-of-charge to the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Tourist Police, Central Cultural Fund, and others. The universities of Colombo, Uva Wellassa, Kelaniya, Sabaragamuwa, and Rajarata have also been provided complimentary stalls, in order to encourage students pursuing careers in travel and tourism to partake in the exhibition and meet with industry professional SancharakaUdawa' to play pivotal role in boosting tourism industry
Annual travel and tourism expo schedules 10th edition for May The Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) announced today that the 10t
edition of the Sancharaka Udawa -Sri Lanka's only travel and tourism exhibition- will be held this year at the BMICH on 15 and 16 May. The announcement was made alongside main sponsor Sri Lanka Tourism, in the presence of chief guest Hon. Arundika Fernando, State Minister of Tourism Promotion Affairs, Dushan Wickramasuriya, Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Prasad Daluwatta, Director Events, SLTPB, Mahen Kariyawasam, President of SLAITO and Nushani Ediriweera Dias, Chairperson of Sancharaka Udawa 2020. Designed to cater to both the B2B and B2C sectors of the industry, the two-day expo aims to provide exhibitors with an influential and robust platform for small, medium and iarge travel and tourism service providers to interact and build lasting connections with their respective target stakeholders, as well as to effectively engage with the relevant government authorities.
-+The organisers will be commemorating 10 years of Sancharaka Udawa this year, with an exhibition slated to be its biggest yet. Expecting to host more than 300 local and international exhibitors, the fair is estimated to attract over 10,000 trade and public visitors walking through its doors between 10am and 8pm on 15 and 16 May. Speaking at the press conference, Nushani Ediriweera Dias, Chairperson of Sancharaka Udawa 2020 underlined the role of the exhibition as the driving force for the travel industry, "For the past decade we have witnessed how Sancharaka Udawa has enhanced the industry by connecting
operators with a large network of decision-makers in each sector. It has become more important now than ever before that the various sectors of the industry work closely together to uplift Sri Lanka's unique brand of hospitality."Key features of Sancharaka Udawa this year will include engaging talks, seminars and networking sessionS.As testament to the good rapport between the industry and its relevant government authorities, stalls will be provided free-of-charge to the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Tourist Police, Central Cultural Fund, and others. The universities of Colombo, Uva Wellassa, Kelaniya,
Sabaragamuwa, and Rajarata have also been provided complimentary stalls, in order to encourage students pursuing careers in travel and tourism to partake in the exhibition and meet with industry professionals.
Sri Lanka is only 20.7% behind 2018 tourists arrivals
The total number of international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during October 2019 was 118,743. In comparison to October last year, there was a decline of 22.5% when the arrivals were 153,123.
As at 31st October 2019, 1,495,055 of tourists had visited Sri Lanka for this year. It is a decline of 20.7% over last year when 1,885,045 of tourists has visited the country during the same period
However, Sri Lanka saw a 70.8% significant drop in arrivals in May 2019 compared to 2018 due to the Easter Sunday Attacks in April. Further, the change in arrivals between 2018 and 2019 was 57% in June, 46.9% in July, 28.3 % in August, 27.2% in September and in October it was 22.5%.
“It is indeed refreshing to see the arrival numbers growing since April and we are just 20.7% behind last year’s arrival rate for the same period. We anticipate the numbers to grow further in the months of November through March considering that’s the peak season for Sri Lanka.
By January, we should be able to analyse the exact percentage of decline from a volume perspective, however, the financial recovery will take longer. Our projected revenue for 2019 is estimated to be between USD 3.5 to 3.6 Billion” Johanne Jayaratne, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority shared.
This month, the largest source markets for tourists were India, followed by China and the United Kingdom. Almost 98 % of tourists travelled by air to Sri Lanka. Even though, the numbers are lower than the previous years, the trend of month to month is similar which indicates that the seasonal market behaviour has not changed.
French and Belgium press on a familiarization tour
Text and Pics By Chanaka de Silva
A French and Belgian Media delegation organized by Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts & Spas and Salaün Holidays successfully completed a familiarization tour of the country. An initiative of Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts & Spas, Chairman and Managing Director, Chandra Wickramasinghe, organized in collaboration with Salaün Holidays a leading tour operator in France.
Speaking at the press meet Wickremasinghe said, this team of travel journalists were specifically brought down so that they can see first hand the situation in the country and report. This has been confirmed judging by the responses of the media team. Further as there are a lot of French tourists who are keen to visit Sri Lanka we have taken this initiative to spread the word internationally that Sri Lanka is safe to Travel he said.
Also addressing the gathering Salaün Holidays, Chairman and Proprietor, Michel Salaün, said, we have been working for a long time and very satisfactorily with Theme Resorts. This is why we had no hesitation to come in organizing this media group to come and experience Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has a lot to offer and there is a big requirement to cater to. Once this team shares its’ experiences it has had we are sure that there will be a lot of French tourists who will then decide to visit Sri Lanka , he said.
During the four-day tour, the participants explored the cities of Sigiriya, Kandy and Colombo, three of the main attractions of any tourist who visits the island. The main highlights of the tour included the helicopter ride from the Colombo to Sigiriya, discovering the ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress, inauguration of the Computer and Language Center in Audangawa, cookery demonstration at the “Nagula” paddy museum at Aliya Resort & Spa, Jeep Safari at the Minneriya National Park and Visit of Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy.
The Computer and Language Training Center in Audangawa was inaugurated by His Excellency Mr. Eric Lavertu, the Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and Mr. Michel Salaün, the Chairman and Proprietor of Salaün Holidays who has always believed in contributing to the social and cultural development of the host countries. A CSR initiative of Connaissance de Ceylan conducted through R.e.V (Reconstruire et Vivre), this project would immensely aid in improving the English language proficiency and the computer literacy of the young students of the region.
The biggest group of media personnel from France and Belgium to arrive in the country since the Easter Sunday setback, the congregation consisted of 20 journalists representing 20 press and media enterprises in France and Belgium. The objective behind the familiarization tour was to showcase cultural and historical attractions of the country and to boost the tourism industry of Sri Lanka.
The media value of the event is immense, owing to the French and Belgian media partners who collaborated on this venture. Among the media personnel who participated in the familiarization tour was Emmanuel Langlois from France Info, a renown national radio broadcasting channel in France.
SOUTH ASIAN TRAVEL AWARDS OPENS NOMINATIONS 2020
By Chanaka de Silva
South Asia Travel Awards (SATA) announced the opening of nominations for the 2020 awards recently, SATA awards which had its' inaugaral ceremony in Sri Lanka has since held the 2019 SATA awards here in Sri Lanka as well.
The SATA awards is much awaited awards is held this year for the 4th time. Growing from strength to strength SATA has become one of the industry's more sort after and preferred awards. Serving Sri Lanka, Maldives, India, Nepal and Bhutan. SATA catering to all categories of in travel tourism sectors is fast becoming the industry's hallmark of standards. The prestigious annual event honours stellar organizations and individuals in a wide array of categories. This year SATA has added 9 more categories making it a total of 52 categories for properties and brands to compete, in addition to Visitors Choice Awards and Special Recognition Awards.
SATA has been endorsed by over 15 International and government agencies for its work to elevate tourism and hospitality in the
region. Properties can now nominate online via www.southasiantravelawards.com until 29th February 2020. SATA is yet to announce the evaluation period and online voting time. During the Grand Gala held last year, SATA announced to have the main event in the Maldives.
SOUTH ASIAN TRAVEL AWARDS
The South Asian Travel Awards (SATA) has been recognizing the best of South Asia’s hospitality and travel industry
since 2016. The prestigious annual event honors stellar organizations and individuals in a wide array of categories.
Asia Leisure commits to making travel dreams true
As part of the Asia Leisure brand and subsidiary of Asia Capital PLC - Rs. Four Billion progressive and visionary corporate entity, Asia Leisure Travels (ALT) is celebrated as a one-stop inbound and outbound travel house designing unique and memorable travel experiences building lasting relationships with clients and vendors around the world.
Asia Leisure currently own and operate six luxurious boutique hotels in southern Sri Lanka, namely the Taprobana, Wadduwa, the Habitat, Kosgoda, the River House, Balapitiya, the Shinagawa Beach, also in Balapitiya and the Tamarind Hill, Galle. In addition the brand’s resort hotel, Le Grand, Galle offers exclusive high-end luxury and five star comforts. Since 2014, ALT is a recognized market leader for inbound tourists catering to the corporate and outbound holiday travelers delivering travel solutions priding themselves on personalizing unique experiences for each customer.
ALT is distinguished among the best in the country always striving to achieve excellence, proud of its high service standards. The company’s growing list of blue chip and large corporate customers are testament to its impeccable record.
From humble beginnings, ALT has grown in a short span of five year to strong returns between 200% - 300% on par with the big industry players and earned the mantle of being among the Top 10 Travel & Tourism Companies in the country.
With innovative and sweeping marketing strategies ALT has marched onto the international travel stage, fast becoming a much sought-after travel company catering to the ever increasing segment of global travel.
Having established relationships with hotels and resorts, access to a worldwide network of airfares, with state-of-the-art technology to track airfares, ground transport options and first-hand knowledge of many popular tourist, efficient Visa Services, travel insurance options and first-hand knowledge of many popular tourist, destinations ALT creates customised travel programmes and curated experiences promising the greatest value and the most reliable service where comfort and well-being is paramount.
ALT also boasts a wealth of experience in having attended several global travel fairs. As a market-leading business travel management company, ALT has extensive experience in delivering the perfect blend of innovative customer solutions and proud to have been chosen as the preferred B2B Destination Management Company for many prestigious overseas partners working with and promoting Sri Lanka as a travel destination.
A hand-picked team of experienced travel professionals are ALT’s biggest asset. Heading ALT is Shane Gunawijeya, Executive Director, recognised as among the sharpest and most entrepreneurial minds in the travel industry. Together the ALT team ensures a five-star travel experience through their knowledge and dedication assuring a personal relationship of truly caring for their customers’ travel plans.
ADITYA AMONG TOP 15 LUXURY HOTELS
Award presented by USA based Luxury Lifestyle Awards
Wins in the Best Luxury Hotels in Sri Lanka category
IIn its Global Luxury Consumer Report 2019, USA based Luxury Lifestyle Awards accorded Aditya with a placement at the zenith of the Top 15 Luxury Hotels in Sri Lanka. One of the world’s most recognized and respected brands, these Awards assures the critical global traveller an assurance of the highest quality representing pioneering excellence and innovation. Luxury Lifestyle Awards’ stringent determining of winners through its category-based and region-based research, adds richly to Aditya’s already extensive collection of internationally recognized laurels.
In the citation signed by Founder and CEO of the Luxury Lifestyle Awards Alexander Chetchikov, Aditya is referred to, “As showing itself as a brilliant representative of the luxury services industry. After a thorough research process, it (Aditya) was distinguished as one of the best in this market. Your impeccable performance and aspirations to always be top-notch have been highly appreciated.”
Having won the award in The Best Luxury Hotel in Sri Lanka category, Aditya has in the last few years amassed significant accolades including Conde Nast Johansen’s 2019 Award for Excellence (being the first and only Sri Lankan property in Asia to win Best Luxury Value) and an unprecedented four TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. These placed this extraordinarily luxurious property on the golden beaches of Rathgama among the Top Ten Luxury Hotels in Sri Lanka, the Top 25 Small Hotels in Sri Lanka and among the Top 25 Hotels in Sri Lanka for Service as well as Romance.
The 16 suite resort is a narrative of open spaces, unending seascapes and tropical vistas, marrying contemporary interiors with historical architecture and cultural hallmarks. With each award, Aditya continues to etch its unique brand of luxury into the honour roll of global hospitality excellence, composing an ode to the modern-day traveller with its tropical hues, unmatched service and subtle yet unending vignettes of luxury. Hence, having now indelibly etched its mark as the ‘Best of Luxury’, stringently evaluated across 10,000 goods and services in 400 categories across 60 countries, Aditya has gained worldwide confirmation of an even more significant accolade – that of being a symbol of excellence.
Aditya Resorts ranked No 1 by TripExpert
Wins Best of Sri Lanka and Experts’ Choice Awards
Adds another TripAdvisor accolade gaining Hall of Fame crown
Also conferred Travelmyth Awards for Top 20 Five Star Hotel in Galle and Top Hotel for Honeymoons in Hikkaduwa 2019
May 27, 2019, Colombo Sri Lanka: Whether it was Lonely Planet, Jetsetter, The Telegraph or Oyster, each of these global travel pundits had more than praise for Aditya, the all-suite luxury boutique resort sitting on the golden beaches of Rathgama Galle. It is no surprise then that the New York based TripExpert, an online platform that distills expert travel reviews from 85 plus publications including these, gave Aditya a ranking of No 1 in Sri Lanka, collating a score of an impressive 90 which places Aditya in the league of outstanding hotels. Aditya won the Best of Sri Lanka and Experts’ Choice Awards. Adding to its unprecedented accolades gained including the 2019 Conde Nast Johansens Award for Excellence and four from TripAdvisor in 2018, this year proved that Aditya continues raising its bar of excellence with a further two awards. TripAdvisor bestowed the Hall of Fame crown on Aditya and the search engine used globally by sophisticated travellers Travelmyth crowned Aditya among the Top 20 Five Star Hotels in Galle and the Top Hotel for Honeymoons in Hikkaduwa this year.
For Director/General Manager Shamindra Fernando these awards simply augment Aditya as one of the most unique properties in the world. “This TripExpert score is the authoritative statement of overall quality, endorsing not only the beauty of our property but also our service levels, giving us a branding of excellence.” He also explains that The TripAdvisor Hall of Fame award acknowledges the resort’s continuous placement at the top for five consecutive years from 2015.
The 16 suite resort which includes two luxury villas of 7,500 square feet each is a narrative of open spaces, unending seascapes, tropical vistas and contemporary interiors marrying historical and cultural hallmarks, cutting a swathe in infinite luxury. Add the private pools, Jacuzzis and outdoor rain showers, an extensive a la carte menu that creates symphonic scores on the tastebuds and above par service and Aditya continues to exceed the expectations of even the most scrupulous travel critic.
“Our brand of hospitality is about indulgence, whether in R&R, gastronomic journeys, luxurious vignettes or simply creating memories,” explains Fernando. “It is our guests who have given us these accolades and it is our guests who will continue to push us up the ladder, inspiring us to reach higher and higher. As a totally Sri Lankan brand, we are proud to have achieved such great heights and look forward to welcoming guests from within and outside our shores, so we can continue raising the bar and placing Sri Lanka’s hospitality on the international map.”
Sri Lanka IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo, welcomes the world
The largest sporting Expo at the Shangri-La Colombo from the 21st to the 24th February 2019
Over 730 athletes from 5S countries Expected revenue for Sri Lanka over LJS$ 3.5million
The country's biggest international sporting event, so Sri Lanka IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo, is ready to officially kick off on the 24th of February 2019. The second edition of the event is slated to increase engagement and attention for the country, some of the key benefit of hosting an event of such magnitude in Sri Lanka. The competition will see the participation of over 739 athletes from 58 countries, with another 899 friends and family accompanying the foreign participants to Colombo. Furthermore, the So Sri Lanka IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo.
ZTE hosts 300-strong delegation in Chinese Business & Investment Conference
Sri Lanka to be the first stop on a global tour that will move across South Asia
Delegates will be seeking opportunities for trade in goods and services
Aiming to strengthen economic and cultural ties between the two nat13
ions, Chinese telecom and IT giant ZTE Internet Culture Media (Beijing) Co. Ltd. successfully concluded its first ever “Civilized China" Business & Investment Conference at the Shangri-La, Colombo last Saturday.
Over 300 Chinese business delegates were in Sri Lanka for the first leg of a global conference that will be the first of many conferences that ZTE will be hosting across the South Asian region in a concerted effort to strengthen opportunities for trade and economic cooperation with ZTE.
“Our goal with this business and investment conference is to strengthen opportunities for trade and economic cooperation while telling the incredible story of Chinese civilization to the world. We hope to promote cultural exchange and a deeper mutual understanding and respect for the shared connections between the Sri Lankan and China civilizations – from ancient times to the present day.
“ZTE is very pleased with the outstanding success that we enjoyed in hosting the first stop of this global conference in Sri Lanka. We have already received a very strong response from delegates, and we anticipate significant mutually beneficial business opportunities moving forward,” ZTE spokesperson, Wu Gao Ning Shen said.
The conference was organized in partnership with the Overseas Chinese Association, Chinese Tourist Board and Chinese Cultural Centre together with local government agencies including Sri Lanka Tourism and the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka.
Notably, popular Sri Lankan Ayurveda luxury brand, Spa Ceylon also participated in the conference which received extensive foreign media coverage with several Chinese reporters broadcasting globally throughout the conference.
ZTE Corporation is a global leader in telecommunications and information technology. Founded in 1985 and listed on both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, the company has been committed to providing integrated end-to-end innovations to deliver excellence and value to consumers, carriers, businesses and public sector customers from over 160 countries around the world to enable increased connectivity and productivity.
ZTE believes in technology innovation as a core value of the company, investing more than 10% of annual revenue in R&D. The company has established state-of-the-art R&D centres in USA, Sweden, China and so forth, and employs over 30,000 research professionals in the development of next-generation technologies including 5G, the Internet of Things, NFV, SDN, Cloud Computing and Big Data. ZTE has filed applications for more than 72,000 patents, with over 33,000 granted. Since 2010, ZTE has been ranked among the world’s Top-3 for patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) each year, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.
As a member of the UN Global Compact, ZTE is committed to a vision of balanced, sustainable development in the social, environmental and economic arenas. Promoting freedom of communication around the world, the company has incorporated innovation, technological convergence and the concept of "going green" into the product life cycle. This includes R&D, production, logistics and customer service.
CONDE NAST JOHANSENS AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE 2019, 'ADITYA'
First and only Sri Lankan property in Asia to win Award for Best Luxury Value / Award recognises world class excellence in hospitality offerings
13th November 2018 Colombo Sri Lanka: The all-suite luxury boutique resort Aditya, which has reiterated an impressive presence in the country’s luxury boutique resort hospitality space since 2005, added to its global laurels with a prestigious 2019 Condé Nast Johansens Award for Excellence in Best Luxury Value this year. This award makes Aditya the only property in Asia and the first in Sri Lanka to be crowned in this category of Best Luxury Value, by this renowned international organisation which has a global collection of luxury hotels, spas and venues approved by international hospitality experts. This latest global award adds to an impressive collective of accolades won this year including an unprecedented four TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, placing Aditya among the Top Ten Luxury Hotels in Sri Lanka, the Top 25 Small Hotels in Sri Lanka and among the Top 25 Hotels in Sri Lanka for Service as well as Romance.
Sitting on the golden beaches of Rathgama in down south Galle, Aditya has now etched itself into the honour roll of wearing the title of one of the most unique properties in the world. The 16 suite resort replete with its newest addition this year of two luxury villas, magnificently impressive at 7,500 square feet each, articulates freedom and relaxation in its open spaces, unending seascapes and tropical vistas. Contemporary interiors marrying vignettes of historical architecture and cultural hallmarks set against polished cement floors and essays in tropical design hues, with rooms appointed with every conceivable luxurious details including private pools and even outdoor rain showers makes for a haven in R&R, a dynamic that continues to be echoed with each award presented.
But world class excellence is not just about a fabulous property – it’s about the overall experience and that Aditya has perfected without a doubt. An extensive a la carte menu is truly a seduction of the tastebuds with service levels commended by even the most critical hospitality connoisseur. “Winning this Award for Excellence which is aimed at creating knowledge, rewarding and celebrating excellence via Conde Nast recommended luxury hotels, spas, boutiques and resorts places Aditya in an exalted category in the whole of Asia, says Managing Director of Hermitage Resort (Pvt) Limited Husain Dawoodbhoy. “For us, this is truly praise that we have worked hard to gain, ensuring that the luxury value we espouse is one of absolute indulgence combined with our signature attention to detail which brings in ultimate value. That value is brought in by our amazing team who passionately believe in the simple principle of hospitality – to anticipate and exceed our guests’ expectations at all times every time.”
Strategic Plan 2017- 2020 wont fail - Kavan
By Chanaka de Silva
Speaking exclusively to CeylonBusinessNews.com, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman, Kavan Ratnayake spoke of the plans drawn out to improve the industry by 2020.
Sri Lanka Tourism has a clear set plan and mode of operation to bring the industry and all its stakeholders up. This is one industry that the benefits trickle right down to the grassroots. As a result, the government has placed the tourism industry among the highest of its’ priorities to develop to the next level, said, Sri Lanka Tourism, Chairman, Kavan Ratnayake. The future of the industry now depends on handling this stage very carefully. With the rate of growth, the country has experienced and along with it, the industry’s growth has given a clear indication of the potential.
For this purpose Strategic Plan 2017- 2020 has been formalized. This plan takes all stakeholders in tourism in their plan. Elaborating on the key areas Ratnayake said, this country can give more opportunities for investment and employment. These revenues could then be channelled into environmental support thereby helping communities in all parts of the island.
When asked about where the country would like to see the benefits of development showing fast yields, fast Sri Lanka Tourism, Chairman , Kavan Ratnayake said, the Home stays. This is the segment that people will see the direct benefit at grass root level. People with a room or two to spare can now let them out to tourists and see can immediate benefit. This is also an avenue for people to earn a little money. This will also provide the tourist with real experience of staying in the country. Tasting home cooked food, seeing the local area rather than the more popular sites, he said.
Commenting on the Sri Lanka Tourism Strategic Plan, Ratnayake said, the very realistic target of making the No. #3 net foreign exchange earners by the year 2020 with the target of US$ 7 Billion in earnings have been set. The present level of income stands at US$ 3.5 Billion for the year 2016. This in turn will support a 600,000 work force of which 10% will be women. The present US$ daily spent will increased to US$ 210 from the present US$ 164, he said. To achieve these goals, certain guiding principals have been laid. They are as follows; capturing benefits of tourism for Sri Lanka, democratization of economic participation, conservation and world class management of assets, local community involvement, memorable experiences rooted in heritage, responsible destination marketing and safety and security for all. As today tourism is about experience rather than only seeing a place it is important to see that all stake holders are made aware of the importance of upgrading our skills and facilities. As the future development will stem from visitor segmentation this is vital Ratnayake said. International Source markets Mainstream Market Segments, Niche Markets and Domestic Markets are the segments that tourism will fall into in the future.
To feed the growth and make this sector sustainable to the above segments sustainable destinations must be developed. Sri Lanka can accommodate a greater diversity of visitors who could stay longer. To achieve this every visitor should have world class experiences where ever possible. This tourist would on their return home will promote Sri Lanka to others because of the experience they had. Achieving this depends on the total immersion of all stake holders of the industry in the development of it, he said.
When asked what chances of this Strategic Plan succeeding over where several other have failed , Ranayake said, This Strategic Plan has taken all stake holders into the picture. Everyone involved in the industry will be a part of the upgrades and the benefits. We will educate every stake holder why their contribution and participation is vital for the success of this program. The success that will be achieved will be a collective effort. With the engagement of the workforce and communities in this drive it cannot fail, he concluded.