Sri Lanka roadshow in Perth to attract Australian tourists

Perth: With a growing focus on the Australian market the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has commenced a series of events that will span an entire week.

Beginning in the Western Australia capital of Perth the first of three travel trade roadshows went off with a bang yesterday, Travel weekly reported.

Over 100 members from the travel industry including representatives from Australian travel agents and wholesalers met with Sri Lankan hoteliers, tour operators and tourism officials for a series of B2B meetings. Addressing the delegation, SLTPB’s Director of Marketing, Madubhani Perera said that Australia has delivered an eight percent increase arrivals to Sri Lanka for the year ending October 2017.

The roadshows in Australia is just one of the strategies that SLTPB is leveraging to increase awareness in Australia.

Airwing Tours’ Chairman and CEO Mervyn Fernandopulle said, “Australia is a key market for us to be targeting and I am delighted to be back in the country developing business and future tourism arrivals for Sri Lanka.”

The event, held at the Novotel hotel in Perth’s central business district, also featured a key note address from Consul Rosh Jalagge, honorary consul general for Sri Lanka in Perth as well as a traditional oil lamp lighting ceremony.

Guests were treated to dinner, nearly two hours-worth of intensive B2B meetings between Australian and Sri Lankan travel industry partners and Australians participants even won a range of fully hosted fact-finding trips to Sri Lanka.



SriLankan and Qantas provide more options to connect with new Melbourne service

SriLankan Airlines, which last month launched daily non-stop services to Melbourne, is providing its valued passengers with a wide range of options to connect and fly to major cities in Australia and New Zealand, by expanding its codeshare agreement with its long-time partner and fellow oneworld alliance member Qantas.

SriLankan will codeshare on Qantas’ services from Melbourne to Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney in Australia, and New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. In turn, Qantas will code-share on SriLankan’s flights between Colombo and Bangkok as well as its flights between Colombo and Hong Kong. The new codeshare flights will be available for booking from 20 November with travel from 18 December.

Top tier frequent flyers of both SriLankan and Qantas will be entitled to a range of oneworld benefits such as the opportunity to earn and redeem miles, lounge access, additional baggage allowances and priority check-in and boarding. Member airlines of the oneworld alliance link over 1,000 destinations in 160 countries.

SriLankan Airlines CEO Captain Suren Ratwatte said: “The expansion of our partnership with Qantas, along with the launch of our non-stop Colombo-Melbourne flights, provides our passengers with seamless connectivity from Australia’s largest cities to Colombo and of course vice versa. We are also delighted to be able to offer to our customers services to New Zealand for the first time in SriLankan’s history, creating more travel options for Sri Lankans and New Zealanders alike.”

SriLankan and Qantas have enjoyed a mutually beneficial code-share agreement since 2014, with SriLankan code-sharing on Qantas flights from Singapore to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane and vice versa; and Qantas code-sharing on SriLankan’s flights between Colombo and Singapore.

SriLanka’s National Carrier operates a route network of 102 cities from its hub in Colombo, with a fleet of modern aircraft with the latest comforts such as flatbeds in Business Class and sophisticated in-flight entertainment, to complement its world class service that is famed for caring and warmth.

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Football Federation of Sri Lanka promotes sports tourism

 Facilitates tour of Swiss football team

The Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL), the governing body of football in the country, has initiated a 14-day sporting tour for the ‘Football Without Borders’ team from Switzerland which embarked on a goodwill tour to Sri Lanka which commenced on 18 November.

The sporting tour by the Swiss team will continue until 2 December.

FFSL aims to promote football in Sri Lanka and to raise awareness among youngsters about football, as many local clubs will garner exposure from the visiting foreign team. The tour will also serve to promote Sri Lanka not only as a destination in terms of tourism but also to promote sport tourism. One of the key objectives here is to increase awareness about the diversity and rich culture of the country.

“At FFSL, we want to use opportunities like this to interact with European-based clubs and other organisations with a view to support football in Sri Lanka in terms of development programs and exposure. We are delighted about this opportunity as there are many former professional players accompanying this team. The ‘Football without Borders’ team will also be engaged in a few charity-related activities during the tour, extending their engagement in Sri Lanka beyond football. We feel that the tour will also help to position Sri Lanka in Europe in terms of a great tourist destination as well as for sports tourism which will certainly gain additional foreign revenue for the country,” said FFSL President Anura de Silva, who was instrumental in making the Swiss team’s visit in Sri Lanka a reality.

The team will be touring the length and breadth of the country with friendly matches being organised in the districts of Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Gampola, Nuwara Eliya and Matara. The Swiss team comprises 25 members including team captain Gianni D’Agostino with 16 players and a staff team of eight which includes media and photography personnel and a physician. Among them are President Hüssu Matur, Coach Marco Gähler, Spokesman Albi Saner, Physiotherapist Kathrin Arnold and ‘Football without Borders’ photographer Stephanie Marti.

The goal of ‘Football Without Borders’ is to reduce the borders between states through sport by continuing to develop football in countries with few resources and equip teams with basic requirements such as footballs, jerseys, pants and socks. In the process, they wish to create awareness about the culture, land and people and allow mutual insight into the team’s culture as well. Through synergies with relief organisations and football clubs, they also strive for sustainable cooperation.

Emil Franklin Kronemberg, Chairman of ECD Holidays which partnered FFSL for the Swiss team’s visit in Sri Lanka, said that his team of holiday specialists was excited to be a part of this great tour and was passionate about planning and organising innovative programs that match the client’s needs and budgets.

“We look for new ways to improve our services, while remaining committed to perpetually moving forward to meet and exceed the evolving needs and expectations of our customers and partners. We wish team ‘Football without Borders’ a fruitful stay in Sri Lanka!” he added.


‘MS MEIN SCHIFF 01’ makes debut arrival to Colombo Port

‘MS. MEIN SCHIFF 01’ made her graceful port of call at Colombo Port from Mumbai, on 13 November. MS. MEIN SCHIFF 01 passenger ship belongs to TUI Cruises and started her journey from Europe via Suez Canal in Egypt connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and has sailed across several continents across the globe. The cruise targets mostly German tourists, and her approximate travel duration on this trip was between two-and-a-half to three months throughout its whole journey.

This gigantic vessel carried 1,850 passengers and approximately 900 crew members and 1,410 passengers joined with the excursions to explore selected areas such as Kandy, had the opportunity to have a panoramic city tour, visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, and a visit to a Tea Factory which were arranged by the Tour Excursion Agent Aitken Spence Travels and the Shipping Agent for this passenger ship, Shipping Agency Services Ltd.

Cruise tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing tourist sectors. Cruise tourists are particularly concerned about the zones in which cruise lines operate. These include the time of year, security situation of the country, climate conditions and tourist attractions, which are key factors in selecting a zone as of selecting a destination on land.

Cruise Tourism sector in Sri Lanka is developing rapidly and tremendously due to the peaceful atmosphere and the tourism development process in the country. Currently, around 50 cruise calls take place per annum at the Colombo Port; which indicates the potential to attract tourists via another form of travelling across destinations. These cruise lines also call over at other ports such as Galle, Hambantota and Trincomalee to discover the treasures in this beautiful island and the gifts of nature it has to offer.

As a strategy to take forward this venture, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has identified this segment as one of the emerging sectors in tourism development and SLTPB is jointly working with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority in collaboration with private sector stakeholders and those who are involved in the Cruise Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka.

Focusing the importance of the above niche segment, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has taken initiative to organise Cultural Dance Performances for each Cruise Call, to welcome passengers to Colombo Port, and show our hospitality, and traditional dance performances as an addition to showcase the traditional and cultural value. The cruise passengers were highly impressed on the cultural dance performances organised by SLTPB during the arrival of the above passenger cruise to Colombo Port, making them experience an unforgettable stop over moment.

Enabling such cruise lines to make their visits on a regular basis is an efficient way of promoting destination Sri Lanka, blessed with four natural harbours and makes an excellent stop by for tourists to explore the wonder of this paradise island within a few days stay.

Source :–makes-debut-arrival-to-Colombo-Port/27-643776

Aitken Spence Travels partners TUI to bring 12 charter flights from UK

Aitken Spence Travels is attracting the only charter flight operation from the UK to Sri Lanka this season, with 12 flights scheduled to land from November 14th, 2017 to April 30th, 2018.

Welcoming tourists with Sri Lankan traditional dancers Arrival of flight crewThe charter operated by TUI UK will see a Thomson Airways 300-seat Dreamliner bringing in 3,600 tourists from the UK over the course of five months.

Holidaymakers will be accommodated in 15 beach resorts from Waikkala to Hikkaduwa as well as in several hotels in Cultural Triangle, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya.

The charter operation is expected to generate more than 25,000 room nights to hotels in Sri Lanka during the season, giving a significant boost to the industry’s demand from the UK. As the official ground handler, Aitken Spence Travels will be organizing logistics, transport, accommodation and tours of all the travellers.

The first flight which landed on Tuesday 14th November was warmly welcomed by Aitken Spence Travels at the Bandaranaike International Airport with traditional dancers.

This is the second consecutive year that Aitken Spence Travels has attracted the large charter operation from the UK. Previous to last year, the last charter from the UK market was in 2010. Since then it has taken much effort and dedication to convince the charter operators to resume their flights back to Sri Lanka considering the aggressive competition posed by competing destinations.

In 2016 tourist tourist arrivals from the UK was 188,159 and as of September this year, the number stood at 153,971.

“Aitken Spence Travels is the only destination management company in Sri Lanka to handle a charter from the UK. This is due to our longstanding partnership with TUI, a global giant in the tourism industry. A great amount of effort was made over the year to secure the charter for the second consecutive year despite tremendous competition from other destinations. Our commitment, consistency in service and agility displayed during the charter operation last year helped us secure the charter for Sri Lanka this year. Sri Lanka as a tourist destination needs to be promoted more aggressively among the UK public in order to capitalise on the efforts made by industry players,” said Aitken Spence Travels Vice President Prasanjit Perera.

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Amagi Hotels debuts new brand: Aria

Amagi Hotels has announced a brand new look for its Negombo property, located alongside the Negombo lagoon. Previously known as Amagi Lagoon Resort and Spa, the hotel then comprised of 21 standard rooms, a restaurant, a bar and a banquet hall. The new look includes a brand new seven-storey wing comprising of 43 tastefully designed deluxe rooms and four luxury suites to its prevailing 21 standard rooms, ensuing a total of 68 guestrooms, complete with modern amenities and stunning views. The new look also comprises of a fine dining seafood restaurant aptly named Moya, unique private dining areas and soft upgrades to the existing areas of the property.

The grand launch of the new brand is set to take place early next year under the name ‘Amagi Aria’ which befittingly means an everlasting song that resonates to its highest note; an outline of the ambitious scope for the future of the property focusing on quality, development and loyalty. Amagi Aria celebrates the fact that Amagi Hotels are consistently different, focused on a commitment to providing the highest levels of quality and service to their guests.

“Our efforts take a long-term aim at showcasing the values and inimitability of our wonderful island to the world, through our service and vision of becoming the most preferred hotel brand for locals and foreigners alike,” said Amagi Hotels Chairman Somanathan Ganeshanathan. “As a part of our commitment to the country and its development in tourist, our plans consist of a long term approach in strengthening this segment of the economy as well as Amagi brand value. We are positive that we will grow to be one of the frontrunners in the industry with precedential value based strategies to achieve our goals.”

“The introduction of the new wing with its higher room categories, the upgrade and quality standards of the hotel and the positioning of a value based hotel in the four-star market in Negombo factors for the rebranding,” comments Amagi Hotels General Manager Marketing and Operations Renuke Coswatte. “The Aria brand will also further strengthen the brand awareness and recognition of our core brand – Amagi Hotels.”

Since its inception in 2012, Amagi Hotels has been offering unique and unforgettable hotel experiences in some of the most sought after destinations in Sri Lanka. Within its portfolio, Amagi Hotels hosts two distinctive properties; Amagi Aria is a four-star located along the serene locale of the Negombo Lagoon; and Amagi Beach is a three-star hotel set amidst the pristine western coast of Marawila.

Embodying the heart and soul of the Negombo surroundings, Amagi Aria offers a sanctuary among four-star hotels in Negombo, with a natural beauty framed against the magnificent lagoon backdrop. The hotel comprises of 68 rooms and suites, each boasting a fresh and relaxing setting with contemporary design, modern amenities and world-class comfort as well as private balconies, overlooking the lagoon, pool or garden. The suites are equipped with private Jacuzzis on the balcony.

Amagi Aria serves as a dining destination for both residents and visitors. Amagi Aria is home to fine dining seafood restaurant aptly names Moyã, which takes its name from the Sinhalese term for the place where the lagoon meets the sea, an ideal representation for the restaurant that is designed around the succulent delicacies available in the seas around Sri Lanka. The Catamaran Restaurant offers guests an opportunity to experience cuisines from around the world, prepared to perfection by Amagi Aria’s team of skilled chefs. For private dining experiences, the Tree House can accommodate up to 15 guests and The Pontoon can accommodate up to 20 guests. Quiet evenings can be spent enjoying a variety of innovative and classic beverages on the Grand Lawn or Sunset Deck, which boasts spectacular vistas and glorious sunsets over the lagoon waters.

The hotel is also ideal for weddings, corporate and private events as it features versatile venues that can be set up to suit individual needs. The Banquet Hall consists of a unique two-tier setting with contemporary design. The expansive lagoon-front lawn and deck is complete with a breathtaking backdrop for any occasion.

Amagi Aria also consists of a swimming pool, a kids pool and a spa. Amagi Aria is located just 10 minutes from Sri Lanka’s premier international airport and the coastal tourist-centric town of Negombo.

Source :–Aria/27-643638

Arvani Tangalle ‘family home stay’ opens

In a bid to create to a chain of family ‘home stay’ facilities ‘Arvani’ Collection was launch two months ago with the opening of Arvani Tangalle.

The Arvani Collection first ventured in to the hospitality industry by launching the Pine Studio apartment in Nuwara Eliya proving a comprehensive package to families. “The studio unit features a dining area and a kitchen with a microwave, a convection oven and a stove. It also offers a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom with shower facilities, toiletries and other facilities,” said Co-founder, Anomi Jayasinghe.

Arvani Tangalle

“Our service includes a butler service and excursions and even pick up and drops from Nanu Oya railway station as an additional service and also one complimentary tuk tuk ride per day. We have been operating this property for over two years and the success and requests by both foreign and local guests drove us to Tangalle to launch Arvani Villa. At Tangalle we converted colonial bungalow to a luxury home stay unit.”

Arvani Tangalle provides two fully furnished rooms, from Dutch Era and flexible check in, check out timings. The facility is equipped with modern conveniences like AC in both the bedrooms, free Wi-Fi and laundry facilities and fully functional private kitchen with the barbecue grill.

This property with a large garden has a swimming pool and many other facilities and with the highway up to Matara the journey takes less than three hours.

“With the development of Hambantota and extension of the highway, we see additional business to this property. Our third property is in Ratgama and here again we have converted a 60 year old house to a home stay unit comprising of three rooms and other facilities. This unit would be ready early next year,” she said.

We are now looking for more properties to acquire and develop under this concept. Our main market is from Web booking and also several travel booking sites to promote us,” (AK)

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