Adventure, Romance and Meals with a Twist

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When you are afraid of something, the best thing, people say is to face your fears. I was afraid of heights but I climbed Sigiriya and Adam’s Peak and got over my fears. Then there was the water…when I nearly drowned in my early years, I didn’t walk away from it…I got my dad’s friend to teach me to swim. Then came the great big ocean, tsunami, undercurrents and all that. But all that was put to rest a few weekends back on my escapade to Uga Bay Passikudah and I got on a Jet Ski.

My instructor Manjula was all about making sure his customers get the best of riding a jet ski and well for me; it was overcoming all those great big wave fears and just love the ocean more. As I accelerated hard and drove through the water, the feeling of breaking those waves and riding like I was flying was just thrilling and exciting. Timing, turning and loving the water is all you need before you get on a jet ski and the rest…well the rest you will find out when you’re actually on it. Apart from the Jet Ski :), Uga Bay by Uga Escapes speaks of adventure, romance, relaxation and meals with a twist.

“I think we are very fortunate in getting the best part of the beach out of the whole Passikudah stretch. Compared to the other hotels, we are on 10 acres of land. The hotel has been built in a way where all the rooms have a good view of the ocean and access to the beach spread out in a V shape and everything else falling in the middle”, General Manager Roshan Dylan.

Their Vice Chairman Harsha de Saram is very into the landscapes and one can see that the grass and the coconut trees have added a very soothing touch to the eye, as especially during the day there is a lot of glare.

“If you look at the three properties – Ulagalla (Anuradhapura) and Jungle Beach (Trincomalee) – one will see that Uga Bay keeping to the brand standards where luxury is part of the room – linens, pillow and beds –been in Passikudah it’s a bit of a more fun and lively place”, Roshan adds.

Offerings to guests

“We basically look at it as if you’re going to a hotel and staying there to enrich your own self, your life by travelling. You can choose to stay at home or you can choose to explore, travel and benefit out of it. People used to travel for different reasons but now people want an educational aspect out of travel – they want to experience the local culture and what the destination has to offer. We believe that food is a major part of it so we have created a thing called the Uga Culinary Group. All the F&B and chefs get together in a forum and talk about culinary in general”, Roshan added.

Speaking of which when you head on to the restaurant for breakfast – the buffet comes to you. You get a tray full of croissants, bread, yoghurt, oatmeal, fruits, buns and jam to feast upon. This gives you what you want to start off your day. Uga is highly focused on a-la-carte rather than buffets because they believe that this will be the future of how people eat. People want to know where exactly their food comes from, where the seafood is frozen and even going to the extent of how knowing much of a carbon print is going into the environment. There are theme nights for the big crowds that come such as Saturday BBQs and Sunday brunch which includes a cookie making class for children.

From the moment you start your day – one either spends time at the beach or the pool and this is where all the pampering and comforts of Uga is displayed to the guests. From 11am when one gets into the pool they give a water bottle and a cold towel, at 1pm they give mini shooters of frozen drinks (karapinchcha and thambili water or ginger and orange) to revive oneself and around 3pm they give frozen fruit screwers (kebabs of fruits/icicles) and during the day a guy would go with water spray bottles and give it to the guests so they can spray themselves to cool off in the heat and the Uga boys clean the sunglasses as well. “These little things add to that luxury experience”.

Excursions

There is Minneriya, Thoppigala, Anuradhapura, Pollannaruwa and the Vakarai Veddhas for guests to explore once here. Roshan adds that anyone can put you in a van and show you everything – but that’s not what they want to do.

“We want to do something somewhat controlled from our end, working closely with whoever we need to work with and taking you places, stopping in an area taking camp size chairs, unfolding and then quickly opening a bottle of champagne with some canapés. All our excursions are designed in a way that there is a little bit of F&B involved. All this will be ready by July/August as that’s when the tourists pour in”, Roshan added.

Then there is the Catamaran adventure which will have two rooms enough for about five people maximum. This unique experience will come alive somewhere end of May. Guests can sail from Passikudah to Kuchchaveli (Trincomalee) in eight hours with a butler, chef and linen from Uga. For example guests can do an excursion to Trinco where they sail for 8 hours with marine biologists (along with the diving and snorkeling equipment), cocktails at sunrise and arrive by 4am to Kuchchaveli and just in time to check out some whales and dolphins. Then the guests can get off at Jungle Beach have the breakfast experience and choose whether to come by boat or road (which will be maximum two hour drive back). This is one of the many excursions Uga has planned to do in the sea.

Then just off the coast of Batticaloa (famous for its lagoon crabs), there is an area where the fishermen put their cages and during a certain time of the day, guests can go to assist to reel them in and sail back with the crabs (2 hours sailing trip). Once back at the hotel, Uga chefs will be conduct a cooking class by the poolside with individual cooking burners teaching them how to make the traditional Batticaloa crab. Usually one has the crab claws to break the crab but Uga gives the guests a little chopping board and wooden hammer to break everything. Once you have finished eating, they take the hammer and carve the guest’s name on to the hammer and give them as a souvenir to take home.

Eco and organic life

In terms of their eco activities what they do from the hotel is very limited. So they need the infrastructure from the Tourist Board and from the government. One huge aspect is the water treatment which is something that needs to be handled and it needs to come from the government side.

They have a herb garden/green house and they are working closely with the Moratuwa University where they send interns on a six months basis wanting a challenging environment for horticulture. So growing herbs in Passikudah is actually a good challenge for them.

“Basil grows like crazy here and Rosemary grows like nothing and the aroma that comes out of these herbs are magnificent. One can’t buy this from the supermarket and get the same smell”, Roshan said proudly.

The green house will have a table made out of log where guests can sit down and have a meal in an herb garden. The chef will cook the food inside the garden so guests can know where the herbs and vegetables are coming from to an extent where their seafood/vegetable supplier’s name would be on their menu. They hope to extend an invitation to the Eastern University very soon. They are making their own blends for tea and hope to come up with an Uga Breakfast Tea that will move into some kind of retail too. The jam Rhubarb and Red chillie are made here and change every three months to different local flavours, while the Marmalade is made out of jambola which is a great substitute for Grape Fruit that is not utilized that much. now they are in the process of making their own sausages (pork and chicken) with their own recipe. Their hash brown at Jungle Beach and Ulagalla is made out of Manioc and it will slowly move to Uga Bay with extra spices.

Uga Bay by Uga Escapes comprises of 46 spacious 500 square foot rooms, a Bay Suite and a Beach Villa. Each cluster features two Ocean Studios upstairs and two Beach Studios on ground level with direct access to the beach. All studios offer breathtaking views of the azure ocean complete with plush king sized beds, gel pillows, high-end entertainment systems and private decks. All units come with modern amenities including a 42” LCD TV, cable channels, IDD phones, complimentary Wi-Fi, tea/coffee making facilities, mini bar, in-room safe, I-pod docking station, individually controlled air conditioning and more. The chic Bay overlooks the cantilevered plunge pool with outdoor decks on either side accessible from both bedrooms which sleep 4 comfortably on king sized and twin beds.

The Beach Villa is the presidential suite and a romantic two storied Villa by the sea, with a private plunge pool and terrace with unobstructed views of the Bay. The Beach villa consists of two bedrooms, a large living space on the ground floor which opens to the terrace and private access to the beach. The Beach house offers butler service too.

Uga Escapes is the leisure arm of Finco Group. With five properties there is little voice. But once 14 or a number that is closer to it comes up will be heard more. We are working on getting a Passikudah Hotelier’s Association to collectively do things. People should have the freedom to stay at Uga Bay then walk along the beach of Passikudah and go and have dinner at Centara. It should be advocated and promoted that way. We are practicing this with Centara, Maalu Maalu, Anilana – we got a good rapo.

Passikudah needs to be marketed as a destination and people need to get to know about it just as much as Bali or Phuket.

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Source : http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/adventure-romance-and-meals-twist

Asia Orient invests Rs 400 m with Escondite boutique hotel

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The newly formed Asia Orient Leisure Ltd, has pumped in over Rs. 400 million to make their entry into the local leisure sector. The first hotel of the company was opened last week in Sri Jayawardhanapura, Kotte.

Branded as Escondite, this eco – friendly bungalow type boutique hotel offers six rooms which include two suites as well. The management has invested over Rs. 200 million for this property. In a bid to attract high end business travellers the hotel also offers Business Center with Internet Access, Fitness Center with Gym and Workout Room, Spa, Suites, Swimming Pool and even arrange airport transportation. To host small corporate events BBQ terrace and other dining experiences to have been introduced. Architect of the property Rukshan Waidyalankara said that he got the idea for this while travelling in Bali,Indonesia. “Many of the features and even some of the furniture too are from overseas.”

General Manager,Winston T. Doliwera said they have six luxury rooms including two suites. He said they have ensured there would not be any noisy atmosphere in the hotel and would only offer the hotel to selected local clients specially honeymooners and families travelling to Colombo and also to corporates. The second property of the company will be opened by end of this year in Belummahara, Kadugannawa. This will be a 10 room eco- friendly property and the total investment is around Rs. 200 million. The third property in Kandy will be a six room hotel with an investment of Rs. 75 million. “We are also looking at a fourth property in the South and will look for a partnership in this regard.

Source : http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=business/asia-orient-invests-rs-400-m-escondite-boutique-hotel

New study forecasts travel to grow by 5.4% annually next decade

 

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A new report on global travel trends reveals that the global travel industry is poised for a period of sustained growth over the next decade, driven in part by China’s share of global outbound travel reaching as much as 20% by 2023. Shaping the Future of Travel: Macro trends driving industry growth over the next decade predicts an optimistic macro-economic outlook for global travel over the next 10 years, with the industry projected to outstrip global GDP by some 2%; growing 5.4% per annum.
Moreover, global travel is now set to grow at a significantly faster rate than during the financial crisis, where growth was just 4.1% per annum. At the same time, China’s growth in outbound travel, which as recently as 2005 stood at just 1%, will enable it to overtake the US to become the world’s largest outbound travel market this year, with the number of Chinese households able to afford overseas travel set to more than double in the next 10 years. China will also become the biggest domestic travel market by 2017, driven largely by rapidly increasing GDP, rising employment levels and higher consumer spending. However, the report indicates that growth will not be exclusive to China, with forecasts showing that other large emerging markets such as Russia, Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey will each also average more than 5% annual growth over the next 10 years. This will be driven largely by rising wealth and changing consumer habits.

Written by Oxford Economics, a leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis for business and government, the study draws on detailed macro-economic modelling as well as qualitative interviews with industry experts, to forecast a wide range of future trends, including pockets of growth and opportunity that will shape the next decade of travel.
“Forecasts predict a new golden era for travel, which will be welcome news for many segments of the industry that are only just beginning to emerge from recession,” said Holger Taubmann, SVP Distribution, Amadeus. “However, as the complexities in the business travel market clearly demonstrate, growth will be far from evenly distributed and there are likely to be both winners and losers.” Some of the report’s key findings include: Asia Pacific will be the fastest growing region over the next decade, with visitor flows for Asia forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 15.1%, nearly double the prior 10-year period (2002 – 2012).
Asia Pacific will also overtake Europe to dominate global outbound travel spend by 2023, with travel spend in the region forecast to increase at an annual rate of 18% over the next 10 years.

“nAsia Pacific will be the fastest growing region over the next decade, with visitor flows for Asia forecast to grow at an annual average rate of 15.1%, nearly double the prior 10-year period (2002 – 2012). nAsia Pacific will also overtake Europe to dominate global outbound travel spend by 2023, with travel spend in the region forecast to increase at an annual rate of 18% over the next 10 years. nBy 2023, Asia Pacific outbound travel spend will reach $ 752.8 b, making up 40% of the world’s total.”

By 2023, Asia Pacific outbound travel spend will reach $ 752.8 billion, making up 40% of the world’s total. Business travel will bounce back as links between East and West stimulate new demand, but western short-haul business travel will not reach pre-2008 levels until 2018. Asia will account for 55% of global business travel growth in the next ten years. North East Asia alone will account for 42% of the growth in global outbound business travel expenditure over the next decade, with South East Asia accounting for a further 13%. Air travel growth will be led by emerging economies such as India, Indonesia and Russia, as non-OECD air travel is set to overtake that of OECD members for the first time, to become largest source of global air traffic by 2023. Demand for international hotel stays has outpaced demand for domestic stays since the recession, suggesting reduced domestic hotel spending is the new normal. At the same time, overnight visitor flows for Asia are set to grow nearly four times faster than Europe’s over the next 10 years – but Europe will remain dominant.

“The findings underscore what most of us already intuitively know – that we have now truly arrived in the Asian Century. No matter where we look, Asian travellers have and will continue to change the landscape of travel, and businesses must adapt to them or risk falling behind. Our role is to help travel players stay one step ahead of the game. But our bigger mission is to help the Asia Pacific industry prepare itself to manage the next billion travellers,” said Angel Gallego, President, Amadeus Asia Pacific. Andrew Tessler, Associate Director, Oxford Economics and the report’s author, said, “The global travel industry is gaining strength and changing as it emerges from the recent recession in developed countries. China’s development is an important driver but there are actually many more subtle factors also at play. Shifting competitive dynamics and the persistence of new behaviours that emerged during the recession are both impacting key indicators in the sector.”

Source : http://www.ft.lk/2014/04/11/new-study-forecasts-travel-to-grow-by-5-4-annually-next-decade/

Anantaya Resort & Spa opens its doors, unveiling infinite possibilities

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Chilaw, February 15, 2014: Anantaya Resort & Spa, the luxury resort owned by LAUGFS Leisure a subsidiary of LAUGFS Holdings, ceremoniously opened its doors to guests today with the promise of an exhilarating and enriching holiday experience on the pristine North Western coast.

Anantaya is a mere 20 minute drive away from the city of Chilaw on the A3 highway. It lies perfectly positioned to capture the beauty of its surroundings, cocooned by a golden sandy beach and a mangrove filled lagoon. Anantaya is the only property in the area, ensuring guests exclusive use of the secluded, immaculate beach.

The spacious interior of Anantaya is an extension of its surroundings, with 87 spacious guest rooms replete with fine woodwork offering a breathtaking dual view of the ocean and lagoon. Architectural excellence allows cool sea breeze to ventilate the inner recesses of the resort creating an authentic seafront atmosphere. The unique view from each room also brings to life the concept of “ananthaya”, the Sinhalese term for “infinity”, giving guests a visual and physical experience of utter bliss.

Vast, immaculate lawns punctuated by palm trees lead to the beach and are ideal for a relaxing stroll. The resort has two masterfully constructed swimming pools, the length and depth of which are in keeping with the resort’s central theme of an unsurpassed experience.

Anantaya prioritizes the food and beverage experience offering three different dining areas. The main restaurant, which is open on all sides, creates a soothing atmosphere with a mesmerizing ocean view while the fine dining restaurant offers the finest in food, service and atmosphere for the discerning traveller. Guests have the option of relaxing by the poolside which is complemented by a well-stocked bar and action stations for snacks and cocktails.

Imaginative beverage menus with a wide range of fresh juices and an eclectic mix of cocktails are available at Anantaya. A notable aspect of the customer-centricity of the resort is that guests are encouraged to visit the resort’s wine cellar, which stocks organic wine, to handpick a wine of their preference.

Anantaya also caters to the requirements of the corporate world and offers a one-of-a-kind setting for corporate events including a spacious conference hall that can accommodate 200 guests and a mini conference hall for 50 to 100 guests. Many leisure travellers will also find Anantaya to be the ideal location for a romantic, Sri Lankan style destination wedding.

Anantaya has utilized the natural beauty of its environment to promote the physical and spiritual wellbeing of its guests. As a luxury resort, Anantaya goes beyond in terms of facilities and its service offering. The well trained staff is discreetly hands-on while recreational facilities include beach volleyball, deep sea fishing and catamaran rides in the lagoon. The luxurious spa offers an indulgent range of blissful treatments including aromatherapy, yoga and meditation, by qualified professionals.

Anantaya is located in close proximity to several tourist attractions. Situated en route to the Cultural Triangle, Anantaya is a mere 4 km away from the Anavilundawa bird sanctuary, one of Sri Lanka’s Ramsar wetland sites. With the aim of providing guests a more wholesome experience, the resort also organises excursions to other attractions, notable among which are the largest National Park in Sri Lanka Wilpattu, the dolphin watcher’s paradise Kalpitiya, and the Muthurajawela wetlands, a biologically diverse coastal ecosystem.

The opening of Anantaya marks the entry of diversified conglomerate LAUGFS Holdings Limited into the big league of the leisure and tourism industry. The myriad offerings of the property, combined with the business excellence of LAUGFS, are certain to make the resort a preferred option among travellers on the lookout for luxury accommodation.

Source : http://www.adaderana.lk/biznews.php?nid=1247

River cruises, a new milestone in Sri Lanka’s eco-tourism industry

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MMBL-Pathfinder at the threshold of a trailblazing river cruise venture

River cruises and waterway explorations are the latest milestone in post-conflict Sri Lanka’s surging tourism and leisure industry. The trailblazing venture of eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable river cruises by MMBL Leisure Holdings Ltd., a member of the MMBL-Pathfinder Group, takes its first step with the upcoming commissioning of Maha Naga, a 38-foot long passenger boat that can comfortably carry 16 passengers from the Hamilton Canal in Peliyagoda all the way to the Negombo Lagoon.

Neil Marine & Company officially handed over the river cruises to MMBL Group. This was inaugurated in the presence of K. Balasundaram, CEO/Director of MMBL-Pathfinder Group, Bernard Goonetilleke – Director, Nandana Dewage – Director and Ranjith Priyantha – Officer in charge of boat yard.

Maha Naga will be available for charter by tour operators in the approaching holiday season, as an added tourist attraction. Maha Naga is built by internationally reputed Neil Marine & Company in its boatyard in Negombo and is equipped with life vests and rings for passenger safety. Seating is in groups, with four individual seats, two facing each other, and a table in the middle to accommodate food and drink. The boat will have facilities for serving hot/cold beverages as well as other refreshments. A built-in modern washroom facility is an added feature for passenger comfort.

Maha Naga is fitted with two 40 h.p. outboard motors and a 1,000 litre fuel tank to enable reasonably long voyages, up the Kelani River, to the Negombo Lagoon on the Hamilton Canal or in the open sea.
Maha Naga, a name well-entrenched in ancient history and folklore, was a deliberate choice for the tourist boat. It symbolically links one of the three aboriginal tribes of Sri Lanka, the seafaring Nagas, who once inhabited Kelaniya and its surroundings, and the current headquarters of the MMBL-Pathfinder Group in Kelaniya. The other two other aboriginal tribes were ‘Yakshas’ and ‘Devas’. The Nagas lived in the north and in Kelaniya – the maritime areas of the island’s western seaboard. Maha Naga was the brother of King DevanamPiyatissa and son of King Mutaseeva, who fled to Ruhuna, and eventually, established a kingdom there. Ancient history also provides information on the relationship that existed between the Ruhuna and Kelaniya kingdoms.

Creating an ambience of peace and restfulness similar to the world’s largest mangrove eco region of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh, this boat cruise will take a meandering route through undisturbed mangroves of the Muthurajawela wetland located south of Negombo and covers approximately 15,000 acres (6,000 h.a.) including Negombo Lagoon. This is a virtual paradise for nature lovers with spectacular variety of endemic fauna and flora. Occasionally visitors are rewarded with a swishing glimpse of crocodiles or gracefully gliding pythons which are an intrinsic part of the Muthurajawela habitat.  The quietness of the mangroves and brackish water provide impeccable conditions to breed crabs, popularly known as ‘Ceylon Crabs’ in Singapore and prawns. Passengers will be afforded an exclusive opportunity to buy fish fresh from the water, from vendors, who have set up stalls along the canal. Eventually, there will be tours to explore the fishing villages around Negombo.

The opportunities opening up for river cruises are endless as more passenger boats such as Maha Naga are launched in time to come. Deep and insightful explorations of Sri Lanka’s famous Kelani River are a distinct possibility. Foreign and domestic tourists enamoured by history will find a treat in exploring locations rich in history, around the Avissawella- Ruwanwella area. Maha Naga will undertake cruises all the way to Avissawella, which encompasses the ancient Seethawaka Kingdom, ornamented by wondrous tales of heroism against foreign invaders. This venture reflects the dynamic initiatives of the Ministry of Economic Development to promote new facets of tourism, and the proactive facilitating role of the Western Province Tourist Board. Furthermore, the Urban Development Authority of the Ministry of Defence is currently engaged in developing waterways in and around Colombo, which adds to the significance of this venture as a novel tourist attraction.

The canal system of the colonial period provides access from the Kelani river all the way up to the Parliamentary complex in Sri Jayawardenepura, and beyond, to Bolgoda Lake, finally connecting with Kalu Ganga. The UDA effort to develop the canal system will greatly benefit enhanced river cruises and waterway explorations in time to come.
And so, it is that MMBL Leisure Holdings Ltd. is at the threshold of showcasing a new dimension in Sri Lanka’s eco-tourism industry. MMBL-Pathfinder Group has, in recent times, ventured into several untrodden areas of tourism by engaging in niche investments through joint ventures with blue chip companies in the country.

Among them are two noteworthy joint ventures with the Jetwing Group – the development of a city hotel Yarl Hotel, currently under construction in Jaffna, and a pioneering tourism project introducing indigenously developed luxury houseboats in the Benthara River. MMBL-Pathfinder Group is a joint venture partner of Cinnamon Air, a domestic scheduled airline that commenced operations in 2013. MMBL-Pathfinder Group’s Head Office could be reached on 11 452 99 00, for more information on river cruises. Pix by Ravi J. Arachchige

Source : http://www.ft.lk/2014/04/10/river-cruises-a-new-milestone-in-sri-lankas-eco-tourism-industry/

Aitken Spence facilitates MS Europacall on three ports in Sri Lanka

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The luxury cruise ship MS Europa, owned by German operator Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten, called at the Ports of Trincomalee, Galle and Colombo recently with a total of 355 passengers and 280 crew on board.

Aitken Spence Maritime is the local agent for Hapag-Lloyd, considered one of the largest container shipping lines in the world. MS Europa, which has been awarded the rating of 5-stars-plus for the 14th time in a row by the Berlitz Cruise Guide, is said to be designed as an “all outside concept”. Adorned with a 204 passenger suites, the cruise is considered as one of the most spacious cruise ships on the market and is intended for the luxury cruise segment of the German speaking market. Every year the MS Europa sets sail on its journey around the world to visit ports that are unreachable by other ships due to its size. “Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten has decided to have more frequent callers to Trincomalee, Galle and Colombo and have included the Port of Hambantota in their schedule for 2015/16. We intend in selecting Sri Lanka Ports for our start and end voyages, where the passengers will embark and disembark in Sri Lanka,” said Lalith Witanachchi, General Manager of Hapag-Lloyd Lanka.

Hapag-Lloyd’s local agents Aitken Spence Maritime, a pioneer in the industry, is the first in Sri Lanka to undertake port efficiency enhancement management overseas with its entry into the African continent and then the South Pacific Islands. The company handles all areas of maritime services – from ship agents and cargo handlers, to liner agency, cruise vessel, port management and development, chartering services and maritime education. With the Group’s involvement in the leisure industry, the company is able to offer comprehensive synergised services to cruise operators.
On MS Europa’s voyage to Sri Lanka, the cruise ship called at the Port of Trincomalee and Galle prior to her calling at the Port of Colombo on 7 April. To commemorate her inaugural call a ceremony was held onboard at the Trincomalee Port where the staff Captain Alexander Sokacic of MS Europa was handed a plaque by the officials of Hapag-Lloyd Lanka Lalith Witanachchi and Chathura Nissanka. From the Sri Lanka Ports Authority K. Nanathilake – Residence Manager Trincomalee Port also attended the ceremony to mark this commemorative occasion.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/2014/04/10/aitken-spence-facilitates-ms-europacall-on-three-ports-in-sri-lanka/

Rotana Jet begins Colombo and Mattala flights

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3 flights a week effective 9 April from Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi

Rotana Jet will today operate to two of its latest destinations Colombo and Mattala in Sri Lanka. The airline will operate three flights per week from Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi to Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and to the second international gateway, using an Airbus A319 aircraft in Business and Economy Class.  Rotana Jet will increase the frequencies to six flights a week soon.
Abu Dhabi-based Rotana Jet operates both Executive Charter and Scheduled Airline services. It was the first domestic airline of UAE when it began operations in 2012. The airline currently operates flights to Bahrain, Muscat and Salalah in addition to the flights to Sir Bani Yas Island, Fujairah, Delma and Dubai. Rotana Jet’s Commercial and Planning Director Rajendran Vellapalath said: “Rotana Jet is glad to announce Colombo and Mattala as its first international destination’s outside the GCC. The Sri Lankan expatriate community and the increasing number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka will have greater access with the newly-introduced flights from Rotana Jet. “We take this opportunity to thank MP Namal Rajapakse for extending his fullest support for the successful progress and launch of our operations and making this new service a reality. We also acknowledge the assistance provided by all other authorities, particularly the Ministry of Civil Aviation. We are delighted to contribute to the connectivity between UAE and Sri Lanka with a good product and affordable fares.” For travellers from the capital, flights will operate between Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi and Colombo and Mattala on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Abu Dhabi to Colombo and Mattala flights will depart Abu Dhabi Al Bateen Airport on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 05:00 hrs while the Thursday flight will depart at 23:45 hrs. The return flights will arrive at Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 18:00 hrs and on Fridays at 11:45 hrs. Rotana Jet has entered an interline relationship with Sri Lankan airlines. Rotana Jet passengers will have immediate connections to and from South Indian destinations like Chennai, Trichy, Trivandrum, Cochin, etc. via Colombo. “Rotana Jet also offers all inclusive holiday packages to Sri Lanka at affordable rates. Non-stop flights to Colombo offers passengers travelling from UAE with yet another unique holiday option to experience and we believe will create a wide range of new options for the tourism and business sectors. Rotana Jet is gearing up for an year of expansion with new routes steadily opening up, keeping in line with our commitment to provide passengers with choice and great value,” added Vellapalath. Rotana Jets scheduled flights to Colombo, Mattala and other destinations can be booked either through the website http://www.rotanajet.com, through the call centre on +971 (2) 444 0002 or through travel agents.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/2014/04/10/rotana-jet-begins-colombo-and-mattala-flights

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