Mandira Bungalows add comfort, lustre in Hatton

The Anglican church in Warleigh is another attraction for tourists. Pictures by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa

Craig Appin , Strathdon and Mandira Dick Oya luxury bungalows in Hatton, managed by Zinc Journey Sri Lanka are experiencing high forward bookings for the upcoming holiday season from both local and foreign clientele. These three bungalows would have an 80 % occupancy rate during the period December to January.

“The three properties are ideal gateways for honeymooners and discerning travellers, both home and aboard,” said Mandira Bungalows, General Manager Kingsley Liyanage.

Liyanage added that the two properties, Craig Appin and Dick Oya Bungalows have already being completed after a major refurbishment while Strathdon would be ready by mid December. The group invested Rs. 60 million to refurbish the three bungalows in Hatton, helping to covert the three properties as up market boutique lodges.

“Today, the three properties are installed with the best of modern luxury facilities which is one of the main attractions of the properties.” Liyanage acknowledged. Each bungalow offers four large bedrooms lavishly furnished in colonial style reminiscing the colonial era. There is a spacious dining room where meals are served, a cozy living room to relax in and an entertainment room with TV, video and board games too, to add more value to the three bungalows.

The main attraction at these bungalows is the tea plantations which have been around from the British colonial era. The bungalows replicate British dignity in its grand furnishing and exquisite taste.

The Nuwara Eliya Golf Course, the holy mountain of Adam’s Peak, Horton Plains, Castlereigh and Maskeliya reservoirs, Devon and St. Claire’s waterfalls are all in close proximity to Hatton. The Mandira Dick Oya Bungalow is the best choice of stay for travellers wanting to visit Adams Peak.

Guests at the Mandira Dick Oya bungalow also have the opportunity to enjoy true Sri Lankan style plantation cooking. The menu offers a wide range of western and eastern dishes too, giving the guest the best of both worlds.

Liyanage, who has over 35 years of experience in both, the local and international leisure industry said that the punctual long distance train service to Hatton has also made traveling more relaxed and they have picked up service from the station and back. He also said that Zinc Journey had obtained a long term lease of the bungalows last year and the refurbishment drive was in keeping with their global vision to provide high end boutique lodges.

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Lankan tourism sector spellbound by Singapore expert

Last week’s presentation by Singaporean expert Nisha Barkathunnisha kept the Lankan tourism industry spellbound as she drew some of the best practices of the city state’s success of drawing over 15 million tourists and earning $ 23 billion as well as suggested ways by which the post-war island nation too can be a success. The thought-provoking and interactive evening forum was organised by the Daily FT in partnership with Viluxur Holidays, with the support of several partners such as Reefs Edge, Harpo’s Cafés and Restaurants, Hilton Colombo Residences, BBDO and Event Productions and drew around 200 personnel from the tourism industry. The Daily FT will publish the full coverage on the forum in the course of this week – Pic by Lasantha Kumara



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Colombo City, urban development and tourism

As a foreigner, I have been living for two years in Colombo. Despite traffic jams and other commuting issues, I enjoy living there and I still find it beautiful.
I fear that Colombo at its current turning point with many new urban projects in a quest to look better might get disfigured unless carefully planned. It seems to me that it faces three main challenges: an issue of aesthetics, a question of mobility, and a need to appeal.

With the rapid development of Colombo, one should stand back and think about what kind of urban lifestyle should be sought. Without a clear idea of where we want to go, the road is all too hard
Prior to discussing the most appropriate development for Colombo City in the coming years, it is worth observing the city as it is today and as it has developed recently. Colombo is a colonial city with a heavy British influence – buildings dating back before the British period are rare – and that spread east through a form of a garden city that quickly turned into a bottleneck for transportation within the urban area.
With the development of a relatively dense suburban neighbourhood further east of Colombo, crossing this central green zone becomes tedious and long.
Similarities with standard colonial cities
Colombo has many similarities with standard colonial cities of the British Raj but its overall condition is generally better; old buildings are less dilapidated and many have been properly preserved.
It is however necessary to make a real development of many sites that are often scattered (it is difficult to organise discovery walks). Most estates are protected completely behind walls, legacy of past fears of terrorism or burglary. Generally, town planning has been poor and urbanisation has been badly streamlined.
One may like many notable buildings in Colombo City like Hotel Nippon (with its exceptional and intricate balustrade), Grand Oriental and other less known places. Some streets are attractive such as Rifle Street.
Certain rehabilitation work has been conducted by the Urban Development Authority where the Dutch Hospital and Race Course were remarkably restored; while certain projects benefited from well-made landscape improvements such as the Water’s Edge in Battaramulla. One may also like other noticeable buildings like the New Parliament which remains poorly illuminated at night.
The special feature of this city comes from its central green corridor – that should be protected – with fantastic trees encroaching on the streets that adds to its charm.
The same urban attempt was made in New Delhi in the diplomatic enclave – Chanekyapuri – approximately at the same time, but the buildings quickly turned gray due to pollution; elevated sidewalks were built, wasting green spaces as they were either developed in the wrong places or were hardly used; in the end no commercial life has developed for miles and no one takes advantage of these spaces that spreads distances where transportation is really required making accessibility an issue for the general public. So Colombo is relatively doing better.
Many faults persist
But the City of Colombo is not free of criticism and many faults persist. Firstly, canals are built to prevent flooding but their shores have not been developed in order to favour walking; they remain locations for illegal housing or poor dwellers and canals do not structure the urban landscape of the city, which could also have been part of Colombo’s true heritage.
Generally observing, the constructions over the last 30 years have been built (certainly with some exceptions) without any marked architectural style and behind high walls preventing visibility. Buildings are yet taller but without any style. Houses are bigger and often more comfortable but their aesthetics are cubic and standardised. There is indeed no harmony of style and colour, too many advertising banners, poor planning of the adapted frontage of shops, too little space to walk around (but the recent developments).
Among the poor landscapes that persist, please consider Marine Drive which is a series of abandoned land with buildings damaged by sea spray, with a rusty railroad and decrepit stations. In short, the seaside promenade is not attractive and the landscaping possibilities of the shoreline have been presently ruined.
And what about Galle Road which remains as one of the major roads of Colombo? Such an avenue – which is supposed to embody Colombo City – does not retain attention of any tourist as that is poorly arranged, noisy and congested. Recent planning has focused on the rushed construction of roads to meet urgent needs, without thinking enough on the overall picture.
Architectural unity
Do you think Colombo has its own architectural style which would act as a visual marker and leave a lasting memory in the minds of the tourists? I can see colonial buildings of different colours. I can see religious buildings that have no strong attractiveness for tourists (excluding their true ritual purpose).
Conversely, when we go to London, everyone visits Westminster Abbey, that is well considered as a masterpiece of architecture (even though it is more recent that it looks Gothic). But here in Colombo City, few marvel at the most recent religious buildings which are – sometimes unfairly – judged by Westerners as garish and kitsch. For nice mosques, Hindu or Buddhist temples, one may visit Kyoto, Kajuraho, Isfahan but not Colombo.
It is however important that new religious buildings promote a unique and beautiful Sri Lankan architecture and contribute to a sense of Sri Lankan architectural unity. Take for instance the Temple of Beira Lake (the blue roof is gorgeous) and find your own architectural style! Every Sri Lankan has a fair idea of which landscape is attractive and which one is not; why do you think so many brides asked to be photographed in the front of Beira lake temple?
All buildings whether public, housing, religious buildings, offices or shopping centres, should adopt standards that align, adding a sense of shape to the urban development. Why rush in a mad race to build oversized towers disfiguring a city to compete with other immensely richer Asian cities? You will add to the economic growth momentum but you will lose all charms regarding Colombo City.
It is necessary to establish – and uphold – clear rules and respect details such as the shape and slope of the roof, the materials of building and the shape of the windows as well as permitted colours. Think first without repeating the past mistakes and sometimes rebuild what has not been nicely constructed.
Perpetual construction projects
Greater Colombo is beaten by real estate projects sometimes financed by donors, by UDA or by private developers. The city is undergoing perpetual construction projects between drains, rehabilitation of road-works, sidewalk (especially for CHOGM), laying of water pipelines to sewage systems.
There are a multitude of projects happening; hotels, luxury buildings (Altair, Iconic…), re-housing projects and mega real estate promotion like Tata Building or Imperial Builders on Slave Island (ironic name for a next rich ghetto). Then there are those gigantic construction projects such as Krrish Square or Port City on the cards.
Everyone is pushing to build higher and higher but no one is interested in the inclusion of these towers that will age quickly in the urban landscape of the city. I personally believe there is a fashion, an international urban competition, that is pushing Colombo into copying Singapore or other Asian parodies without the same population density, the same needs or the same means. Why?
There are big changes underway and major challenges associated with it. The proliferation of big hotels, big buildings and shopping centres shows little planning; despite the efforts to arrange utilities, providing water supply, electricity and wastewater will be complicated. These projects appear often uncoordinated and seem to repeat several times along the same stretch of roads.
The densification of the city in some places receiving little new communication routes (roads and transit) is also a major challenge. And all these buildings, will they meet the expected success? Alongside this increase of the population density, Colombo should be awarded the new zones promotion through the likely move of many military units outside the current areas of Colombo 1 and find a new retreat in Battaramulla at a more suitable place.
Urban transport
If the first issue of this city is its ability to find a visual marker and renew its aesthetic appeal, the second major issue will be the question of urban transport. We feel that traffic is increasing quickly and that current works in progress do not help solving traffic congestion. Car ownership remains low and yet a sense of stifling presence of motor vehicles is felt.
To get to circulate smoothly in the city (as a resident, a commuter, a tourist or a pilgrim), we will have to change many things. First, we have to conduct a genuine debate on improving civic behaviour; too often clogging the streets is due to individual misbehaviour. Drivers stop or park anywhere; drivers block two lanes rather than one. A Police service in charge of wrong parking should be put in place (under CMC or Central Government), illegal parking should be clearly sanctioned (axed) and money should perhaps fuel a municipal fund for repair work. Private and paying car parks could be developed under concession.
Secondly, we have to equip the city with a complete transportation system, which is interconnected and efficient. That means at good value, reliable and cost-effective in terms of investment and operation. Such systems should not further degrade the aesthetic appeal of the city.
We are witnessing many potential conflicts of interest but some projects seem to be more advanced than the others: the Parliament axis could be equipped with a mode of mass transportation via a viaduct system monorail, LRT or anything similar. We also note the envy of many lobbyists to push for the construction of elevated road – according to a widespread fashion in emerging countries; some roads would relieve the port and others to connect the downtown to highways.
Many questions remain unsolved: is it good to focus too much on terminus stations – even multi-modal – in the most congested part of the city where Fort is located? About the construction of the Port City; does it not accentuate the phenomenon of congestion? How would the bus stations, whether formal or informal, be taken into account? Noise and air pollution will be reduced, but the risk of disfigurement due to these major elevated structures is unavoidable and often irreplaceable.
In the light of urban transportation, one must consider the outcome of other more advanced cities. These have previously responded to the problems of congestion by building wider roads, more numerous, encouraging even more vehicle travel and eventually failing to address the problem of congestion.
Inversely, the establishment of an efficient system of mass public transport by far is a good way to transform an entire area within a city. It is then important to work again on the public space and accessibility of other modes of travel. Such an approach to integrate urban development helps attract visitors and encourage both commerce and sustainable businesses.
Safeguard economic and tourist attraction
The final issue of Colombo will be to safeguard the economic and tourist attraction. Creation of new office space, housing or hotels is useful only if they are filled, that is to say that condition of high economic growth promotes the attractiveness of the city. Anyway, in an economy focused on service development, a city is attractive if it is easy-living (dealing with pollution, leisure, consumer services), if cost of living is kept reasonable, if travel times are not too long.
Tourist attractiveness is a major issue with large urban consequences. The city lacks a good cultural offering and places to go out for a few hours to attract tourists; who then tend to avoid visiting the capital city. There are few cultural centres of quality but they are undersized. So tourists are generally advised to avoid staying there (as many guides support it unfairly). What to do?
The National Museum is nice but its visit is too fast and is not customer-friendly; there are no proper temporary exhibitions. Could we not increase the supply of museums (say an architecture museum, a true museum of science and discovery, a city of children, etc.)? Can anyone suggest a more attractive zoo with a real development of local species (birds, vivarium and aquarium)?
Many restaurants have opened but Colombo is not yet a city renowned for its gastronomy. Therefore to develop food culture should not we facilitate the importation of products and get more foreign knowledge?
It is surprising to see larger and larger real estate projects without a clue on how to attract tourist or what culture to be proposed. Think about Bangkok; in every mall you will find something – but shopping – to keep a visitor busy all day long. It might be smart to request for obtaining a construction permit that big developers dedicate a portion of their surface to a cultural project (art centre, attraction, theatre).
What about upcoming casinos? And what sort of fun? Casino is not just about disbursing or betting on one’s money; shows, attractions and leisure should be brought to attract customers.
Eventually, it is well-known that tourist or young people love gathering in confined spaces to socialise and entertainment purposes. One could develop few pedestrian streets dedicated to night life where people could move from a restaurant to a bar and from a bar to a night club; a place where they are free to gather, eat and be merry. The concept which is starting on Baybrooke Street can be amplified. It won’t disturb many people and will be attractive for youngsters.
Integrated development
Colombo is a nice town but new developments seem insufficiently planned and strained with many challenges. It seems to us that we should advocate an integrated approach of urban development that challenges the heritage development in the centre of the debate, which focuses on the creation of a complete transportation network, organised and aesthetics.
Talking about integrated development is to avoid duplication, work in the same place twice. Each project is not conceived in isolation but as a fragment of a global urban system, with a social, economic and environmental chain.
Colombo has become a city of good living taking advantage of low pollution – very clean compared to many cities specially in Asia – and allowing good urban mix (without ghettos of rich or poor) ; that’s true that social diversity is essential for this city to remain safe, attractive and somewhat non-violent place.
The city should be beautiful at any time of year, any time of the day and be nice to explore on foot or by soft mode. We believe that the future development of Colombo City should be on well identified themes: the theme of water, that is to say, walking by the sea, ports and canals. The other theme is to be a green and aesthetic walking city with many trails and gentle transport (meaning mass transportation modes). Finally, Colombo has to become a pretty important place of tourist attraction.
With the rapid development of Colombo, one should stand back and think about what kind of urban lifestyle should be sought. Without a clear idea of where we want to go, the road is all too hard. In Europe, the urban experience is strong and cities have become pleasant places to live in. In Asia, except Singapore which was strongly and intelligently planned, cities have grown too fast and are rarely aesthetic (beautiful), unpolluted and enjoyable.
Thanks to good planning and stringent urban rules, France aims to promote a certain idea of urban lifestyle biased towards heritage preservation, culture, gastronomy. The French Development Agency (AFD) is keen to finance modern mass transportation modes, integrated urban development projects and to share its experience of well-planned urban projects worldwide to favour harmonised urban development in Sri Lanka.

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TBC Asia highlights scope to boost tourism via blogging

Held for the first time in Asia, the Travel Bloggers Conference successfully concluded in Colombo yesterday, aiming to spur tourism and business via the new and fast growing medium of authentic communication and marketing.

The conference preceded a tour around the country to popular tourist destinations such as Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Kandy and the southern coast that took place from 14-18 November. Fifty bloggers from world over were taken on a tour organised by Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts in partnership with SriLankan Airlines and in collaboration with the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
The conference itself saw the participation of three very important stakeholders in the tourism industry – travel bloggers, traditional media and officials in the sector such as hoteliers and regulatory bodies.
In total around 250 people attended the conference which operated in two simultaneous tracks. One track was dedicated for the travel bloggers where topics relevant to developing their respective blogs were discussed and the other catered to the hospitality and travel industry professionals in Sri Lanka. The industry participants were also offered a unique opportunity to network one-on-one with all the bloggers through a speed networking session at the end of the conference.
Among the elite group of speakers at the conference key representatives of Google South Asia, TripAdvisor, Times of London, Four GB PR, Revinate and TravelClick were present together with the professional travel bloggers and digital marketing experts.
Delivering the keynote, BBC Travel Editor Allison Busacca said: “It’s not always that travel writers get to collaborate with all stakeholders at the same time, in the same place. TBC Asia has in fact provided this platform and for the first time we could start trying to recapture the essence of travel and celebrate people, culture and places.”
The official airline for the event was SriLankan Airlines and addressing the opening ceremony was Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe, who said: “This conference has helped portray Sri Lanka beyond the typical beach holiday resort destination. It is important to reinvent a communication strategy to uplift the tourism sector and with travel blogging this has become the most effective medium to do so.”
The pre-tour conference was the first-of-its-kind organised in the history of the Travel Bloggers Conference and John Keells Group Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunewardene stated that the tour had resulted in approximately 3,000 tweets so far with a three million reach and 14 million impression across social media networks that has become possible through the immense following each of these bloggers bring with them to the table with them. “I hope this conference will give you a greater understanding on how to use these tools effectively in order to create synergies across the Sri Lankan travel and tourism industry,” Gunewardene added.
Stressing on the importance of immersive storytelling, Dave and Debrah Corbeil of Planet D, highlighted the importance of involving readers along with a story that is personal to the bloggers. With a specific focus on adventure couple travel, through their writing and videos, they have been successfully able to convey that adventure is doable and most importantly that anyone can do it.
Most travel bloggers attending the conference also pointed out that it isn’t necessarily about how often a post or video is published but more on how effective its reach is to a larger audience. They went on to say that each blogger caters to specific audiences and therefore, it is important to first identify audience demographics and work around what works best for them as well.
Following the ceremonial opening the conference proceeded on a two track basis one focusing on bloggers and the other targeted at industry participants. Bloggers segment had a Travel Bloggers Town Hall moderated by Craig Martin and discussed topics such as Importance of SEO and PPC for Travel Bloggers – Google Industry Manager Kurram Jamali, Ethical concerns in blogging by travel journalist of the UK Times and Sunday Times-fame Steve Keenan, BBC Travel Editor Allison Busaca and Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA) President Craig Martin in the panel; Advanced Google analytics for bloggers by Distilled Senior Consultant David Sottymano, Advise to bloggers from industry by FourGB PR Associate Director Sara Whines and Advanced, actionable SEO advise for travel bloggers by Sottymano.
The industry segment kicked off with a panel discussion on Effective use of travel blogging highlighting four case studies related to hotels, destinations, airlines and DMCs. This session featured travel blogger Kate Mcculley, Founding Editor of Monkeys and Mountains Laurel Robbins and Sara Whines and was moderated by PTBA. Thereafter the industry segment focused on how to find and work with travel bloggers with a presentation by PTBA’s Laurence Norah and Elizabeth Carlson.

Dave & Deb- Planet D 
The aspect of video blogging in collaboration with brands and DMOs was addressed by Steve Hanisch, blogging couple Tawny Clarke and Christopher Staudinger. Google UK and India Hotels Industry Manager Karthik Venkat spoke of optimising search engine to maximise visibility and the importance of SEO and PPCs in the new age.
Sri Lanka’s eMarketing Eye CEO Rajith Dahanayake made a presentation on blogging for better SEO optimisation at the industry segment whilst Travel Click eCommerce Vice President Jerome Wise shared some insights on how to get the web strategy right and TripAdvisor Destination Marketing Senior Sales Manager Sarah Mathews spoke of the impact of blogging for businesses. Revinate Director Strategic Operations Yones Hammoumi dealt with driving sales through reputation management and effective use of digital marketing.
The first-ever Travel Bloggers Conference Asia concluded with a wrap-up panel discussion featuring Sarah Mathews of TripAdvisor, Sara Whines of FourGB PR, PTBA’s Craig Martin and Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts’ Dileep Mudadeniya. The session was moderated by Daily FT Editor Nisthar Cassim.



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Finalized Official Itinerary of Pope Francis’ visit to Sri Lanka released

The finalized official schedule of the Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to Sri Lanka, was released by Vatican today. The Pope is scheduled to visit the island from January 13-15, 2015.

The visit is taking place following an invitation extended to Pope Francis by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

His Holiness will also preside over the canonisation of Blessed Joseph Vaz, the Apostle of Sri Lanka, as the first Saint of Sri Lanka.


Monday, January 12, 2015

19:00 – Departure from the Airport of Rome/Fiumicino to Colombo

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

09:00 – Arrival at the Colombo International Airport, Katunayake


13:15 – MEETING with the Bishops of SRI LANKA at the Archbishop’s Hose, Colombo – 08

17:00 – COURTESY VISIT to the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at the President’s House.

18:15 – INTER-RELIGIOUS MEETING in the Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) Colombo

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

08:30 – Celebration of Holy Eucharist and Canonization of Blessed Joseph Vaz in Galle Face Green, Colombo

14:00 – Departure to Madhu Shrine

15:30 – MARIAN PRAYER at the Shrine of our Lady of Rosary of Madhu

16:45 – Departure to Colombo

Thursday, January 15, 2015

08:15 – Visit to the Chapel of the “Benedict XVI Cultural Institute” at Bolawalana

08:45 – Farewell ceremony at the Colombo International Airport, Katunayake

09:00 – Departure from Colombo to Manila

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Softlogic introduces King Long range of passenger transport vehicles

  •  New bus and van range to target growing tourism sector and transportation industry

Softlogic Automobiles Ltd, a subsidiary of Softlogic Holdings, has launched the all-new King Long range of passenger transport vehicles at a gala ceremony held at Waters Edge Battaramulla. The ceremony was graced by Minister of Private Transport Services C.B. Ratnayake, Chinese Ambassador for Sri Lanka Wu Jianghao, Overseas Sales and Marketing Company King Long Regional Manager Asia Pacific Section Andrew Chen, Overseas Sales and Marketing Department King Long Sales Specialist Asia Section Andy Chen, Softlogic Holdings Chairman Ashok Pathirage, Softlogic Holdings CEO Automotive Sector Suminda De Silva and the senior management of Softlogic Holdings.

Through this pioneering partnership Softlogic Automobiles will introduce the luxury King Long Bus range which includes the XMQ6900Y and XMQ6117Y bus models and King Long Kingo Passenger Vans and Mini Vans. The Bus range, which comprises buses with 29, 37, 45, 49 and 59 seats, is powered by latest German technology. The Kingo van is a full option 15-seater passenger van with leather interior and a 2.5 litre inter cool turbo engine.

Speaking about the new product introduction, Suminda De Silva said, “Today we are happy to introduce to the market a luxury passenger transport vehicle in the caliber of King Long – the national bus manufacturer of China. Over the past ten years, King Long has sold over 40,000 vehicles all over the world and served various business fields such as passenger transport, tourism and group transport.

In recent years, King Long has been involved with over 100 countries worldwide through vehicle sales, CKD kits and technology support. High quality products and after sales support of King Long has helped them gain a strong reputation internationally, which is highly evident with increasing King Long sales in Europe and Australia, renowned for their exceptional quality and safety standards. King Long has over the years embraced a culture of innovation in a sustainable manner.”

He further added, “With the increasing focus on the travel industry coupled with our country’s tourism development and the revival of new transportation systems with new highways, we are confident that our partnership with King Long will further infuse a paradigm shift into our local luxury transportation industry. King Long, together with Softlogic, pays close attention to changes in user requirements as well as the industry trends and continues to innovate through leading technology resulting in a quality product.”
The King Long new bus range embraces the traditional international design with rounded and smooth body line, resulting in a classical look. The interior adopts top notch structure, with split type luggage rack, top interior air duct and front and back molding roof. Softlogic Automobiles Ltd. Head of Operations Shehan de Tissera opined, “Our customers have the option of customising these products as per any requirement. Softlogic Automobiles has gradually diversified to become a complete transport solutions provider in Sri Lanka. Our internationally-trained technical team can provide mechanical repair and servicing, accident repairs and body shop repairs further taking care of our valued customers.”
The King Long Mini Van can be customised for standard delivery, ambulance and cash transport, while the Kingo van is ideal for the tourism sector for transporting smaller groups in sheer luxury. Other sectors which can benefit from the vehicle include banks, security companies, small scale business enterprises which require delivery services. The bus range starts from Rs. 8.5 million upwards and includes a warranty of two years or 100,000 kilometres.

Founded in 1988, Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co. Ltd. is fully committed to R&D, production and sales of buses. The company is a leader in developing, manufacturing and selling large-and-medium-sized coaches and light vans. The King Long facilities cover a total area of 200,000 square meters with over 1,800 employees, of which 400 are technical engineers, who play a key role in different sections such as R&D, IT, production management, quality control, finance, sales and after-sales service of the company.

Softlogic Automobiles Ltd. is one of the premier automobile companies in Sri Lanka and a subsidiary of Softlogic Holdings PLC. Headed by the dynamic entrepreneur Ashok Pathirage, the Chairman/Managing Director of Softlogic Holdings PLC, it is rated as one of the most dynamic diversified conglomerates in Sri Lanka. The company has expanded and entered the key growth sectors of Retail, Healthcare, ICT, Automobiles, Travel & Leisure and Finance and Insurance, holding authorised distributorships for a number of well-known global brands.

Tourist arrivals up by 13.6%

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals had shown an increase of 13.6% to 121,576 in October 2014 with tourist arrivals being boosted from countries such as India, China and the United Kingdom. For the past nine months of this year, arrivals were up by 21.5% to 1,228,754 when compared to the same time period last year.

z_pi-Tourist-arrivals.jpgSouth Asian tourists were down 10.7% to 35,718 when compared to the same month last year with arrivals from India, Sri Lanka’s top market, up 19.8% to 26,148. Maldivian tourists were down 0.04% to 6,460 and Pakistan was down 33% to 1,725.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom, the second biggest market for Sri Lanka was up 2.7% to 10,112 when compared to the same month last year. Tourists from East Asian countries were up 54.4% to 22,656 with arrivals from China up 120.7% to 11.894. Visitors from China were up 138.9% to 106.888 compared to 117,442 from the United Kingdom, up 4.4%. German tourists were up 23.8% to 7,966 and Russian visitors showed an increase of 4% to 5,512 though Ukraine showed a decrease of 52.4% to 2,181. Middle Eastern visitors were up 0.6% to 8,840 with arrivals from Saudi Arabia up 0.04% to 2,652 and the UAE was down 10.4% to 968. Oman was up 64.9% to 849.

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