The Theva Residency wins Agoda Gold Circle Awards 2014, one of Asia’s leading hotel booking sites and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group, has announced the winners of its prestigious 2014 Gold Circle Awards, given to accommodations around the world that embody the best qualities of the online hospitality industry.

The Theva Residency ( was the only stand alone boutique hotel in Kandy to win the award in Sri Lanka.
The awards are given to partners who are committed to accommodating the unique needs of the online booking industry, which has seen significant and steady global growth as technology continues to make online booking faster, easier and more convenient.
Now in its sixth year, the Gold Circle Awards are presented to properties based on aggregate customer reviews, competitiveness of pricing, utilisation of’s custom-built Yield Control System (YCS), and a deep understanding of the complexities of the online booking industry. For details email or call +94 81 7388296 – 99.

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Ayurva Traveller for outstanding relaxation

By Waruni Paranagamage

‘Ayurva Traveller,’ which makes vacations outstanding while giving priority to relaxation and rejuvenation and inspiring travellers to lead happier and healthier lives, can now be experienced in Sri Lanka and Maldives and is ideal for those who seek relaxation beyond normal holidays.

Ayurva, which stands for Ayu – Life, R – Relaxation and Va – Vacation, is ideal for those who wish to detach from their busy lives and focus on themselves, to find inner-peace with meditation and grace and energy with yoga and be rejuvenated and revived with healing spa treatments, immersing themselves in endless luxuries.
Today the world wellness tourism is a $ 439 b market, which is expected to grow by around 50% to $ 678.5 b by 2017. The focus markets for Ayurva Traveller will be Japan, Turkey, China, Sri Lanka and Europe. It is estimated that an international wellness tourist spends approximately 65% more per trip than an average international tourist. Japanese and Chinese travellers are especially interested in domestic wellness tourism.
Ayurva Traveller provides an opportunity for travellers to embark on a journey where they focus on personal wellbeing, centring on the mind, body and spirit.
It is aimed at middle age individuals, female travellers, solo travellers and corporate travellers who seek luxury via mind and body cleansing and relaxed holidays.
Ayurva Traveller Managing Director Nilusha Kodithuwakku said: “We discuss with the management team and service team to offer better service. A different lifestyle is offered via yoga and meditation. We have a nice team with us.”
Kodithuwakku said that the demand for the world wellness market is growing due to the heat crisis, stress, ageing population, urbanisation, loneliness, etc. “As a result, we need to tap the market. We are looking to work with select luxury resorts in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, which are equipped to provide travellers with the necessary facilities for detoxifying and relaxation routines.”
According to Spafinder 360, research has shown that 85% of people return from vacations less rejuvenated than when they left.
Ayurva Traveller asserted the hallmark of an Ayurva Traveller experience will be customised, pre-booked packages which allow resorts to prepare better. This gives holiday-goers the liberty to completely immerse themselves in the holiday without a worry. Travellers can make their bookings online and upon arrival at the resort, will receive special value additions. Ayurva Traveller will also offer special wedding packages inclusive of resorts, photographers and photo shoot locations.
With special tailor-made packages to suit the needs of every individual, Ayurva Traveller has tied up with award-winning resorts in the Maldives and Sri Lanka to provide an authentic wellness holiday experience.
The travellers can experience personalised wellness programs, stress reduction programs, healing practices, programs for lifestyle changes and sleep enhancing programs in the resorts. The wellness package of the hotels includes detoxifying body massages, herbal drinking, yoga, nature walks and fitness sessions with fitness consultants on body balance.
Kodithuwakku added: “Our objective is to combine luxury travel and spiritual journeys in exotic locations with total convenience via a holistic holiday package which travellers can customise based on their preferences.”
As a social welfare initiative and a way of giving back to the community – which the traveller will also be aware and a part of – Ayurva Traveller will pledge $ 1 from every package sold to the charitable organisation Emerge Lanka Foundation, which supports underprivileged Sri Lankan girls.

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Sri Lanka wins more conferences

The Sri Lanka Convention Bureau announced that the AESIEAP (Association of the Electricity Supply Industry of East Asia and the Western Pacific) has chosen Sri Lanka as the host destination for its activities in the years 2017/18.

The activities feature the AESIEAP CEO Conference and Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI) which would draw around 200 and 2,000 foreign delegates respectively. They will come together to study problems at the regional level and to seek for solutions that can contribute to the development of the electricity supply industry in the region.
Sri Lanka will have an opportunity to encourage investments in the local electricity industry, promote co-operation and exchange of expertise and technology among members and start new projects through buyer consultations. Small and medium sized companies in the country will also get the opportunity to attend these global events as they are held in Sri Lanka. The two conferences will be held in Colombo, with day tours to various tourist hotspots in the country.
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), which will be the local host of the activities, presented the winning bid to the Council Members of AESIEAP recently in South Korea. According to CEB Spokesperson Prathiba Fernando, Sri Lanka was chosen over India as the preferred destination owing to the reputation of the CEB in the electricity supply industry in the region and owing to Sri Lanka’s reputation as a country having a suitable environment and infrastructure to hold such conferences.
Once again the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, as the pioneer in the promotion of MICE (Meetings, Incentive travel, Conferences, Exhibitions) in the country, played a significant role in designing and execution of the marketing campaign in the lead up to the presentation.
Sri Lanka’s expertise in MICE event organisation, latest infrastructure developments and tourist attractions were demonstrated through e-flyers, complemented by printed and audio-visual promotional material.
“The events will attract a large number of media personnel and accompanying personnel providing a platform to further enhance the image of Sri Lanka as a favoured MICE and leisure destination for association meetings,” said Vipula Wanigasekera, CEO of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau.
International conferences is a key element of MICE tourism, generating a considerable volume of direct and indirect employment opportunities, a sector which comprises the high-spending, up-market travellers, and one which has become a segment which many countries focus on due to the spin-off economic benefits.

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Massive tourist projects near Mattala airport

Plans are underway to construct a three star hotel with a golf course near the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, Chief Executive Officer Derrick Karunaratne said.

He said in addition to this, the foundation stone for the construction of a four star hotel by officials of Hyat Group of Hotels Company was also laid recently. Karunaratne said a Five Star Hotel belonging to the world famous Shangrila Hotels Group was due to open in Mirijjawila next year.

A private jet yard and an aviation training centre will be opened at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in the first quarter of next year, he said.

He added that the Mattala Airport has 800 hectares while another 1,200 hectares had been reserved for future development activities.

Karunaratne said the Mattala Airport is the only airport in Sri Lanka which can accommodate large aircraft like Rotana, Fly Dubai, Mihin Lanka and SriLankan Airlines which make 35 flights per week.

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Kingsbury Hotel receives Gold Circle Award 2014

The Kingsbury Hotel gets the prestigious Gold Circle Award 2014 by, Asia’s leading hotel booking site. Launched in 2009, the Agoda Gold Circle Award honors industry-leading hotels that exhibit outstanding performance and meet or exceed the criteria of the online booking market, including a high number of positive customer reviews,quality content on the hotel profile, proficient use of Agoda’s Yield Control System (YCS) and commitment to delivering the best service to customers.

The Kingsbury’s active online engagement, profound understanding of the industry’s business dynamics and outstanding service quality made it a top-performing property based on the selection criteria on the website.

The Kingsbury adds, yet another award to its already impressive list of accolades of international repute since its launch in December 2012. These distinguished recognitions are evidence of its exceptional standards and principles of hospitality and service that go beyond guest expectations.

“We are proud to have been prominently recognized by based on our guest satisfaction reviews and our performance overall on Agoda – the online travel booking site,” said Maurice Cook, General Manager of The Kingsbury. He went on to state “to us feedback of any kind is important and guest feedback we get on online sites such as Agoda is an excellent means of promoting the hotel as it’s visible to the world at large and since its first hand experience, it’s also highly credible most of the time.

The Kingsbury, being the luxurious city five star hotel is gearing up for another marvelous season this year with Sri Lanka’s first ever “Retro Fusion” to celebrate 2014 New Year’s Eve at The Balmoral ballroom and chic Champagne and Oyster Soiree at the Sky Lounge.

The hotel is being fast booked for these two dances and the Sri Lankan expats arriving home for the season is over the moon with the NYE options at The Kingsbury. To check out all exciting plans for the season, please log on to

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The Emirates App’ now launches on iPhone,

Building on the successful launch of The Emirates App for iPad earlier this year, Emirates airline has now increased its mobile presence with the launch of The Emirates App for iPhone on the App Store.

Already the most popular travel app in 25 countries with a 4.5 star rating

The Emirates App for iPhone has enhanced features such as the ability to check-in and download their boarding pass directly to Passbook. The App also features push notifications for check-in, flight boarding, gate changes, and baggage belt numbers, greatly improving the travel experience by proactively alerting customers to critical travel information.

Customers can directly download the App or visit the App Store and search for ‘Emirates’. The Emirates App for iPhone also makes it easier for Emirates customers to manage every aspect of their booking, whether on the road, in the air or in the comfort of their homes. They can book flights, select seats and meals, manage their Emirates Skywards frequent flyer accounts, check in online, and download their boarding pass directly from the app, amongst other features.

Personal flight details, credit cards information, and product and service information are stored in the app, so users can view it offline too.

“There is no doubt that our customers increasingly want to use their mobile devices and tablets to book and manage their travel. The Emirates App has been designed to address their needs, and make it easier and more convenient to interact with Emirates via their mobile devices,” said Boutros Boutros, Divisional Senior Vice President Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand at Emirates. “We have seen tremendously positive response to both our iPad and iPhone apps to date. Downloads and usage figures continue to rise, and feedback has been good. iPhone represents the majority of the mobile traffic to our web sites, and therefore we have launched on iOS first. Work is underway for an Android version, even as we continue to look at new features for our iPad and iPhone apps.”

With The Emirates App, users can book flights and view their personal travel itinerary on the go,Store and use their boarding pass offline with Passbook integration,Get push alerts for chauffeur-drive service, flight boarding, seat selection, gate changes, baggage belt numbers (Dubai) and check-in, Manage every aspect of their booking, from seat selection to dietary requirements.

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Saunter Paradise Habarana undergoes Rs 150 m facelift

Lakmal Perera

Saunter Paradise Hotel (Pvt) Ltd. in Sigiriya has recently undergone a refurbishment with an investment of Rs. 150 million, where older versions of their individual ‘cottages’ received a facelift amongst other additions. Located in close proximity to the Habarana Railway Station, the resort is situated on a land spanning over five acres of greenery.

The hotel extensively concentrates on preserving its surrounding environment and is fully nature-conscious towards the aim of further working on bringing innovation to their services without harming the natural surroundings.

“We receive a following of German and British tourists to the area. Our eco-friendly concept with the added comfort, relaxation and great food plus A’ la carte prepared by our Chef Lalith leave a memorable mark in our guests’ holidays. To attract our clientele, we deal with over 100 travel agents which includes Aitken Spence, Xpedia, Agoda, Jetwing, Walkers and LSR to name a few. We initially commenced refurbishment activities in April this year with the focus of further beautifying and expanding our offerings to our guests.


We would place ourselves as a hotel in the 4-Star class category and our aim is to go up a notch in the class system,” General Manager, Lakmal Perera said.

Saunter Paradise has also installed a Water and Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) where water would be purified and reused mainly for showering and kitchen washing purposes. From the new cottages or ‘chalets’ that have been completed, two suites have been designed especially to cater to people with differently-abled capacities.

“The entire span of land is dotted with different plant and tree species such as nelli, cashew and mango. One tree in particular was getting in the way of construction but we did not want to get rid of it, so we designed another chalet to be built engulfing the tree, in order to retain the tree in its surroundings,” Perera said.

With the chalets having received a facelift, the hotel had also implemented the Torres System for the handling of bookings and other IT related exercises.

The refurbishment commenced on April this year and having been completed recently, the hotel continues to focus on providing guests with a comfortable, healthy and eco-friendly stay.

The hotel is located in close proximity to Sigiriya and is accessible to Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Avukana and Minneriya.

The Kaudulla National Park is also another wildlife spot which sees a keen number of safari enthusiasts. Elephant and bullock herds can be approached and witnessed grazing and bathing in reservoirs.

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