China’s J. J. Construction building five star hotel in Panadura

Sunil Silva with J. J. Le in Colombo

China’s J. J. Construction who manages White Heven Hotel Panadura has started to build a 200 room five star hotel in Panadura.

Founder Chairman, White Heven Hotel Panadura, Sunil Silva said that they will invest US$ 30 million for the project. “We have bought a three acre land in Pandaura and have already started construction last month,” he said.

He said that the hotel will be built in 8 months opened in August 2016.”

The proposed J. J. Hotel Panadura

Silva said that the J. J. Construction in China is an international construction company and they were also involved in the building of the China Beijing Olympic stadium. “Modern building techniques are begin used to build the hotel and this is the reason we are completing the project in less than eight months.”

“I met J. J. Lee in China and when the idea was proposed he had no second thought to invest in Sri Lanka, mainly due to the increase number of Chinese tourists visiting Colombo.”

He said that the hotel will consist of large conference facilities, a shopping mall, international spa, gym and many other modern facilities. The four storeyed J. J. Hotel has been contracted to Jetwing Group for the purpose of marketing and management.

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T1 Railcar: An intimate rail experience



As the pioneer of The Viceroy Special, and the forerunner in designing spectacular train travel opportunities with expertise and creativity, JF Tours is always passionate about rail travel, and finds ways of keeping this rail history alive.

The company has embarked upon another venture in the form of the T1 railcar (Diesel Deluxe), manufactured by the English Electric Co. UK, and designed to offer a railway travel of a different kind.

The rustic railcar, which was in passenger service between 1947 and 1970, is now beautifully restored including air-conditioning to put back on rails with modern standards for convenience expected by today’s travellers.  It offers not just the joy of the train ride in luxury (which is JF Tours hallmark) but also the experience of intimacy that comes being with the right people in this perfect, cozy atmosphere.

“We offer the booking of an entire railcar which is also more cost effective than using a longer train,” a spokesman for JF Tours said.  The Railcar has seating for 32 with tables to support food and drinks and also has a modern kitchenette equipped for preparation of food as well as trained and uniformed stewards in attendance. It has also a pleasant toilet and other facilities include wi-fi PA system and phone/laptop charging. This unit can be chartered by family groups and corporates for their outings. JF Tours deliver unparalleled quality and service to our customers to experience enjoyable railway journeys in the island where every route is scenic.  Whether it’s a vacation through the Southern Coastal line, the East Coast Regions or ancient and religious sites in Anuradhapura/ Polonnaruwa, our goal is to exceed your expectations. In the hill country mainline, the Rail Car travels up to Rambukkana, facilitating the popular day excursion to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

Source :–An-intimate-rail-experience#sthash.oil1cIeA.dpuf

Tourism kicks of 2016 with record arrivals in January

  • China remains the rising star with arrivals more than doubling

Sri Lanka tourism has got off to a record start in 2016 with January arrivals notching up an all time high of 194,280.

The record figure for the month of January is a growth of 24.3% over 2015 arrivals of 156,246. In 2014 January arrivals amounted to 146,575 and in 2013 the figure was 110,543.

China is the rising star with arrivals more than doubling to 26,083 from 11,735 in January last year. Indian tourists remained number one with 28,895, up by 26%.

Western Europe continued its dominance as the biggest region at the start of 2016 with arrivals amounting to 63,690, up by 24%.  UK produced 16,253 tourists, up by 21% followed by Germany 12,760 up by 23%.

All markets in Western Europe except France produced double digit growth in January in comparison to a year earlier.

South Asia came in second with a growth of 20.7% to 40,501 followed by East Asia up 48% to 38,807.

Eastern Europe brought in 22,733 tourists, up by 11%  whilst arrivals from the Middle East saw 15% growth to 10,109.

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Sri Lanka Tourism supports DER Touristik to promote destination Sri Lanka, hosting 60 German journalists


Part of the Journalists Group which visited Sri Lanka via collaboration by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and DER Touristik



SLTPB Chairman with senior officials of DER Touristic


Together with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), one of the pioneering German travel agents DER Touristik in Germany and its sister company Go Vacations (based in Sri Lanka) initiated media familiarisation tour of Sri Lanka to further promote this well-known traditional destination for German travellers

Sixty high profile journalists living across Germany representing regional and national newspapers, radio stations, TV channels and magazines participated on the tour. The group was split into smaller groups of 20 with the intention of achieving a wide range of media coverage. The group arrived on 23 January; on arrival Airport & Aviation Services provided the Silk Route service on complimentary basis in order to expedite the immigration process at BIA.

The focus of the media familiarisation tour was to increase destination awareness mainly with the established tourism attractions such as Sigiriya, Dambulla, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Galle and Bentota and to encourage potential German travellers to pick Sri Lanka as one of their top holiday selections to be visited within 2016.

The media familiarisation tour was the very first and the largest organised by  DER Touristik and Go Vacations in collaboration with Sri Lankan Embassy in Germany and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau for the year 2016. At the end of this exciting experience in Sri Lanka, the group of journalists came together to Jetwing Blue Hotel, Negombo in order to exchange their lucrative ideas with the industry professionals in order to maximise the impact from this program.

Germany is the second largest European market for Sri Lankan inbound tourism sector with 115,868 arrivals during 2015. Germany has always been a very important traditional inbound market for Sri Lanka. While targeting for 140,097 German tourist arrivals within 2016, SLTPB’s Visiting Journalists Program is planning to invite high profile travel journalists and media crew from Germany to gain native Germans’ attention towards Destination Sri Lanka as one of the top holiday locations to travel in 2016.

Source :–hosting-60-German-journalists#sthash.NT6h2aYZ.dpuf

Royal Turf Club formed; aims to boost sports tourism


The exciting sport of horseracing with its glamour, prestige and showmanship has long held a place in the hearts and history of Sri Lanka. In the 1840s, John Baker introduced this illustrious sport with the inaugural race taking place at the Nuwara Eliya Race Course in 1875.

Originally conducted by the Nuwara Eliya Gymkhana Club, racing in Sri Lanka will see a new dimension to the sport emerging with the formation of the Royal Turf Club.

Headed by equestrian Suranjith Premadasa, President of the Royal Turf Club, the other office bearers of the Royal Turf Club (RTC) are Secretary Lucille Dahanayake and Treasurer Nishitha Rupasinghe while the Committee comprises of Ranjith Dahanayake, Nihara Jayatilleke and Sudharshana Deshapriya.

The Royal Turf Club have to date made a sizeable investment to develop the infrastructure, which includes renovating the track and replacing the track railings, renovating the Grand Stand, steward room, jockey’s rooms, as well as all other race course buildings which were in need of extensive repairs. The RTC intends to continue with its program of development by investing over the next two years, in partnership with foreign investors to make Sri Lanka and Nuwara Eliya, a racing hub for the region.

As part of their long-term development strategy the RTC have secured the services of Wayne Wood as their inaugural Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Stipendiary Stewards, and Sinclair Marshall as Thoroughbred Riding Instructor and Stipendiary Steward.

Wood, a respected member of the international racing community comes to the club with a wealth of thoroughbred racing experience, both in practical terms and as a senior administrator.

Whilst at school he rode in horse shows in his native Australia and assisted now-retired Sydney trainer Ted Stanton from a young age. After leaving school and working for Stanton for a short period Wood’s direction shifted to administration where he started in the racing office at the Sydney Turf Club and then the Australian Jockey Club. At the age of 22 he became the youngest starter of a metropolitan race club. Continuing his progression in the racing industry, he commenced a cadetship as a stipendiary steward in Tamworth in 1978. After two years, he moved to Western Australia as a steward with the West Australian Turf Club (WATC) and during his tenure there, became in 1988, the youngest chairman of stewards for a principal club in Australia at the time.

In 1989, Wood was awarded the WA Racing Achiever of the Year, which is judged by the racing writers and awarded to the person who had made the greatest contribution to the advancement of racing. Wood continued his stewarding career until 1996 when he was offered the opportunity to expand his skill base and develop his management experience in the private sector. He was appointed as a Management Consultant for Curracabundi Ltd., running a 26,000-acre cattle breeding enterprise which included responsibility for the control of accounts for several companies in the group as well as holding the position of Racing Manager for Mayfarm Lodge Ltd., which owned a stable of 130 thoroughbreds. This gave Wood the opportunity to experience firsthand, the problems that owners and trainers face in preparing their valuable horses to race. In 2003, Wood returned to the sport where his passion lies when he was appointed as the Chief Investigator for Queensland Racing. More recently, to expand his racing experience in the international arena, Wood held the position of Chief Integrity Steward for the Royal Western India Turf Club in Mumbai and most recently as the Director of Racing and Chief Stipendiary Steward for the Bangalore Turf Club.

Wood is noted for his integrity and for being a fair and fearless adjudicator with a no nonsense attitude towards those who breach the rules of racing.

Sinclair Marshall who takes up the position of Thoroughbred Riding Instructor and Stipendiary Steward is a dedicated, energetic professional specialising in the thoroughbred racing industry. He held the position of stipendiary steward and riding instructor and track-work jockey at the Bangalore Turf Club up to the time of his appointment in Sri Lanka and his specialty is building skills to establish trust and credibility and represent the jockeys’ community with the turf authorities of India at all levels.

Leadership, breaking in of young horses, preparing juveniles for racing, stable management, conducting of meetings and enquiries, training, educating and mentoring young jockeys, are just some of Marshall’s skills.

During his tenure as President – Jockeys Association of India he was given the mandate to govern the welfare of 400 members of the association, providing professional representation at racing enquiries and appeal hearings at all racing centres throughout the country. He was President of the Jockeys Association of India for more than 26 years as well as the international representative for the Jockeys Association of India at the 2000 International Jockeys Association conference in the UK and 2008 in South Africa.

He assisted one of India’s leading horse trainers in preparing horses for the upcoming races, including riding track work every morning, whilst supervising all aspects of stable management. He has over 40 years of race riding experience having ridden for various leading and successful trainers across the country at all racing venues in India. Marshall has ridden in both England and Macau, for a brief stint, ridding 983 winners out of around 4000 rides. He has ridden eight derby winners across the country and several 1000, 2000 guinees and graded races, and in total 38 Indian classic winners.

He was champion jockey several times in the Bombay, Pune, Madras and Mysore Turf Clubs under the guidance of these two renowned names in the global world of horseracing and the experienced Royal Turf Club committee. It is the aim of the club to elevate and uplift the standard of horseracing in Sri Lanka to new heights and bring back the traditions of this gentlemanly sport.

Source :–aims-to-boost-sports-tourism#sthash.mimmqlET.dpuf

Amari Galle Sri Lanka on track to open in late 2016


Construction of Amari Galle Sri Lanka is progressing on schedule, with the resort on track to open in late 2016. This upcoming opening marks the introduction of the Amari brand by ONYX Hospitality Group to Sri Lanka, and follows on the success of two earlier openings in the country – OZO Colombo and OZO Kandy. All three hotels are owned by Sino Lanka Hotels Ltd., headed by Bob Kundanmal and managed by ONYX Hospitality Group.
Located in the south western coastal region of Sri Lanka, approximately 90 minutes by car from the capital city of Colombo, Galle offers a variety of historical and cultural features, including the famous Galle Fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by the Europeans. Amari Galle is located on a beautiful beachfront site, a short distance north of Galle Fort.

The property will have 172 rooms and suites, all featuring direct sea views. It will also present an extensive multi-tiered pool deck with direct beach access, Amari’s signature Breeze Spa, two restaurants, banquet facilities and a fitness centre.

On this development, ONYX Hospitality Group President and CEO Peter Henley said: “We are strategically expanding our presence beyond Thailand across the Asia-Pacific region, and excited to introduce our flagship Amari brand to Sri Lanka. Tourism in this country is thriving, and there is growing interest amongst international travellers to Galle. We are proud to be in partnership with Sino Lanka Hotels and Bob Kundanmal on their third ONYX property.”

Sino Lanka Hotels Ltd. owner Bob Kundanmal added: “We are very excited to be launching an established hospitality brand like Amari in Sri Lanka, and that construction is on schedule. This new resort will complement our two other OZO hotels in Colombo and Kandy, in helping meet the projected demand for new hotel rooms in Sri Lanka, contributing to the country’s ongoing economic growth.”

Amari is the centrepiece of the ONYX portfolio of brands and reflects the warmth and energy of an evolving modern Asia. Proud of its Asian roots, Amari creates memorable experiences that embody the spirit of local culture, as well as enhance the renowned traditions of Asian hospitality. Every Amari property shares the flavours and textures of its setting. So, whether travelling for business or pleasure, guests will discover contemporary spaces alive with energy and facilities designed to be shared with family and friends.

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Sri Lanka Tourism attracts foreign spectators to 2016 Duruthu Perahera


Kelaniya Perahera also called Duruthu Perahera was successfully concluded at Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya on 22 January attracting nearly 500,000 local and foreign spectators.

Duruthu Perahera is one of the important cultural rituals taking place annually in Sri Lanka. The origin of the perahera goes back to 1927 when Don Walter Wijewardene started it. Duruthu Perahera conducts in Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya which is the place where the Lord Buddha presented at his third visit to Sri Lanka. This has huge potential to attract foreigners who love Sri Lankan culture and tradition.

The perahera was officially commended by handing over the sacred casket of relic to Chief Basnayake Nilame, Dhammika Attygalle by the Chief incumbent Ven. Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangarakkitha thero, under the guidance of the President of Dhayaka Sabha Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Three devala peraheras namely, Lord Vibhishana, Lord Vishnu and Lord Kataragama were followed by the scared relics. Visitors were standing in front of the temple from early morning to see this grand event. Sri Lanka Police supported with a well-planned traffic control to ease traffic congestion.

Large number of tourists from various countries visited to enjoy the event as a result of well-structured promotional campaigns conducted by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotional Bureau. There were many historical, cultural and traditional events included, many local dancers, drummers and singers were given the opportunity to exhibit their talents in front of local and foreign spectators including the diplomats and distinguish guests. This year Kelani Perahera supported to increase the foreign earnings through ticket sales.

The foreigners were facilitated with comfortable roofed seating arrangements, delicious food and beverages. Sri Lanka Tourism became successful in promoting 89th Duruthu Perahera among local and international culture lovers.

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