‘Dancing’ fountain in Matale

Grand Mountain Hotel, the first 5-star resort in Matale was recently opened by President Maithripala Sirisena. Owned by businessman and Deputy Minister of Plantation Industry Lakshman Wasantha Perera, a stand-out feature in this 100-room property is the first-ever musical fountain in a Sri Lankan hotel. Similar to the world-famous Dubai Musical Fountain at the Dubai Mall, the musical fountain ‘dances’ and ‘curves’ to music.

Source : http://www.sundaytimes.lk/171203/business-times/dancing-fountain-in-matale-271350.html

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IRONMAN to help sports tourism growth

With the Government setting an ambitious target of over 4.5 million tourist arrivals by 2020, Sri Lanka Tourism has been looking at opportunities to boost the country’s appeal, one of which is the burgeoning market of Sports Tourism. In this regard, Sri Lanka Tourism has partnered with Pro-Am Serendib (Pvt) Ltd to host the world’s top multi-sport event brand IRONMAN in the country.

The event is expected to directly benefit Sri Lanka’s economy by as much as US$ 4 million, while driving economic activities through increased employment and activities of local industries.

According to the World Tourism Organization, Sports Tourism is one of the fastest-growing sub-sectors in the travel industry, valued at US$ 600 billion. Sporting events have the potential to draw large crowds of spectators from around the world, resulting in an inflow of foreign income for the hosting country, while also giving the host the opportunity to entice these visitors with its additional offerings.
As such, IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo has the capacity to transform Sri Lanka into Asia’s foremost sports tourism destination, as hosting such an event will allow Sri Lanka to differentiate itself from other Asian destinations. At the same time, its rugged natural environment gives it the potential to become the adventure capital of Asia, paving the way for similar events by creating content for Sports Tourism marketing, capacity for event infrastructure, competency in terms of event management and international marketing, and confidence with user and stakeholder endorsements and strategic associations.

The IRONMAN 70.3, which is a qualifying round for triathletes to participate in the IRONMAN World Championship 2018 in South Africa, will take place in Colombo on 25 February 2018 with a
1.9 km sea swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.2km run to be completed by athletes within an 8.5-hour period.
The event aims to contribute to Sri Lanka’s tourism revenue in 2018 and beyond with an international product for the ‘affluent traveller’ market. It can have a significant effect on city hotels and urban lifestyle businesses in Colombo during 2018/19 by drawing in over 2,000 affluent tourists for five days, estimated to occupy 1,000 rooms per night. It will also draw tourism to several parts of the country, estimated to engage roughly 5,000 rooms per night.

“We are excited about this as we expand our portfolio of races, especially in South Asia, where the number of IRONMAN athletes is growing every year,” said IRONMAN Asia Managing Director Geoff Meyer. “We have been looking for the right partner to start our first event in South Asia and we are excited to work with Pro-Am Serendib (Pvt) Ltd to organize a great race in Colombo.”
The IRONMAN Triathlon is the top user-based sports brand in the world, according to the Global Triathlon Website, with a history that spans 37 years and over 260 events across 44 countries. However, none have been held in the South Asian region; making Sri Lanka the first in the region to host this event in 2018.

So far, over 470 athletes have registered, with 1,200 family and friends confirmed from 53 countries to attend the event. A minimum of 300 liaison officers and 100 officials from Sri Lanka will be trained to officiate, receiving training from experts while gaining international exposure within the country itself. This will build local capability and capacity to host international sporting events in Sri Lanka.

The event will also include a four-day expo with cultural activities that will be a part of the event to enhance the Sri Lanka brand. This expo will showcase Sri Lankan handicrafts, gems, jewellery, handloom products, spices and tea. It will also have the capacity to promote environmentally sustainable tourism, as IRONMAN events are environmentally-friendly and leave little or no carbon footprint.
Pro-Am Serendib stated that it was hopeful that IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo would become an annual event, putting Sri Lanka on the global triathlon map. The company hopes to hold a number of activities to promote the sport of triathlon in Sri Lanka, to eventually achieve at least 20% local representation at the event. The organizers claimed that the recent marathon, swimming and cycling events held on a smaller scale had revealed the market was ripe for an event of this magnitude. The goal is to make Sri Lanka the destination of choice for IRONMAN events in Asia, overtaking the Philippines, which is currently the leading destination in Asia for IRONMAN events.

Source : http://www.ceylontoday.lk/print20170401CT20170630.php?id=35213

Sri Lanka’s civil aviation gets PPP wings soon

Sri Lanka’s domestic air services will be developed in compliance with international standards with the involvement of the private sector under a Public Private Partnership model, top official sources said.

Foreign and local air service operators are to be attracted for the improvement of local services under this new initiative, a senior official of the Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry told the Business Times.

The Civil Aviation Authority has been directed to formulate a request for proposals for this purpose in consultation with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) unit of the Treasury.

Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry will regulate air service operators’ standards and the fares to be levied by them.

When this matter came up for discussion at the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) meeting, it was decided that domestic services should be open to foreign and local competitors alike.

Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva noted that his ministry has decided to develop domestic airports for the use of civilians and identify the airports that need further development.

The World Bank has agreed to provide funding for the development of civilian airports, he disclosed.

It has stepped in to guide the Sri Lankan Government’s development of its domestic aviationsector, and to determine the potential for involvement by the private sector into the industry,

An “Options Study for Private Sector Participation in the Development of the Domestic Airports Sector in Sri Lanka” was commissioned by the PublicPrivate Infrastructure Advisory Fund (PPIAF) of the World Bank.

The study has been carried out by a team consisting of members from the World Bank and ICF Consulting Services Hong Kong Ltd with active participation from the Sri Lankan Government.

With the exception of Mattala International Airport ( MIA) (which was only commissioned in 2013), the remaining 14 domestic airports were previously owned and operated directly by the government before being transferred to the CivilAviation Authority, and subsequently AASL.

These airports were all utilised by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) during the country’s civil conflict. The SLAF is the operator of most of these airports; there are also civilian aviation services run by private sector operators on a small scale.

There are a number of companies offering plane and helicopter charter services to several airports, such as Cinnamon Air, Helitours, Simplifly and Air Senok.

Inbound tourism is expected to grow from 1.5 million in 2014 to 5.4 million in 2035, and translated into number of tourist passengers (counting in and out airport movements) at BIA airport of 3.1 million (in 2014) and 10.8 million (in 2035). Further growth is expected

from Sri Lankan travellers and passengers in transit, the study revealed.

Most of the growth is expected to be driven by tourist demand. Demand from Sri Lankan nationals is expected to grow from 2.5 million in 2014 to over 5.2 million in 2035 which is in line with projected growth in GDP per capita in Sri Lanka.

The potential domestic aviation activity is expected to rise from a base level of 135,000 airport passengers in 2014 to 307,000 in 2021, before declining to approximately 198,000 in 2024 as improvements in road networks come in place.

Thereafter, the consultants forecast that domestic aviation growth will resume, provided there are no further significant improvements in surface connectivity towards some 350,000 passengers by 2035.

The analysis suggested that five airports have the highest level of development potential: Bandaranaike International Airport – in order to facilitate direct transfers for international passengers arriving into Sri Lanka; Mattala International Airport – in order to capitalise on existing infrastructure assets and to enable continued growth within Sri Lanka’s most popular tourism region; Sigiriya Airport – in order to provide easier access to key tourism destinations within the ancient cities region; Hingurakgoda has been identified as alternative airport in the region, Batticaloa Airport – in order to provide quicker access to Sri Lanka’s east coast and upcoming tourism destinations in the region; and Jaffna Airport – in order to provide quicker access to the north of the country.

Source : http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx#

Aitken Spence wins ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2017’

Aitken Spence PLC won the coveted ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2017’ an annual event organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the country’s premier business chamber to recognise sustainable champions of the local corporate world, while Hatton National Bank PLC and Cargills (Ceylon) PLC became the first and second runner up of the competition, respectively.

The awards ceremony was held last night at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo amidst a gathering of 350 top corporate executives. Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Kenichi Suganuma attended as the Chief Guest of the event while David Bent, a global expert on Corporate Sustainability delivered the keynote address.

Top Ten Corporate Citizens: Aitken Spence PLC, Hatton National Bank PLC, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, Nestle Lanka PLC, Access Engineering PLC, Singer Sri Lanka PLC, People’s Leasing & Finance PLC, Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., National Development Bank PLC and MAGA Engineering Ltd. were recognised as the Top Ten Corporate Citizens of the year during the awards night.

Category ‘B’ winners: In the meantime, Access Engineering PLC won the Less than Rs. 15 billion Annual Turnover ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2017’ offered under ‘Category B’,  while Citizens Development Business Finance PLC became the First Runner Up of the said category.

Category Awards: Under Category Awards, Access Engineering PLC won a category award for Corporate Environmental Management, MAGA Engineering Ltd. was awarded for Environmental Integration, Hatton National Bank was recognised for Environment Beyond the Business, Aitken Spence PLC won two category awards for Employee Relations and Community Relations, respectively.

Further, Nestle Lanka PLC was honoured for Customer Relations, Nations Trust Bank PLC for its work on Governance, Sirio Ltd. was awarded for Financial Performance and the Bank of Ceylon for its efforts in Economic Contribution.

Triple Bottomline Awards: Aitken Spence PLC also won a Triple Bottom Line Award for its work on Environmental Sustainability, Nestle Lanka PLC was recognised for its contribution made towards Social Sustainability, while Bank of Ceylon was awarded for its actions on Economic Sustainability.

Sector-Based Sustainability Champions: The Sector awards were won by Access Engineering for the Construction Sector, Hatton National Bank PLC for Finance Sector, Nestle Lanka PLC for Manufacturing sector, Aitken Spence PLC for Diversified Holdings while Sri Lanka Telecom PLC won a ‘Sector ‘award under the ‘Other’ category.

Best Sustainability Project Awards 2015: Under the Best Sustainability Project Awards, Hatton National Bank PLC was awarded for its project on ‘HNB Powers up with Green’, Citizens Development Bank Business Finance PLC for the contribution it made via ‘Green Ninja – CDB Quiz Master 2017’, while Premium Exports Ceylon Ltd. was recognised for its ‘Arunella Waste Management’ Project.

Merit Certificates: Cargills (Ceylon) PLC was given a Merit Certificate for its ‘Cargills Sarubima Project’, Access Engineering PLC was awarded a Certificate for its project on ‘Fabrication and Distribution of School Furniture’, while Citizens Development Bank Business Finance PLC won a Merit Certificate for its project on ‘Act Early for Autism Awareness Campaign’ and Bogawantalawe Tea Estate was recognised for ‘Fair, Green and All Inclusive’.

Best Presented Application: The award for the Best Presented Application was won by Nestle Lanka PLC.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/front-page/Aitken-Spence-wins–Best-Corporate-Citizen-Sustainability-Award-2017-/44-644258

Intellectual Property to help develop tourism sector: WIPO Study

By Skandha Gunasekara

Proper use of the country’s Intellectual Property (IP) tools coupled with a better branding strategy for Sri Lanka tourism would help the island achieve its sustainable development goals, a study by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recommended.

The study suggests the island’s tourism sector could potentially contribute 25% to the GDP if the country pays adequate attention to marketing with the use of IP, as opposed to just selling its products and services.

It proposed that Sri Lanka adopt an effective tourism promotional strategy for destination branding with a combination of different brand elements, brand names, URLs, logos, symbols, characters, spokespeople, slogans, jingles, packages and that these all could be protected under several IP rights, namely trademarks, copyrights and design rights.

Moreover, events and cities could also be promoted by adopting branding strategies that are protected by the trademark law of Sri Lanka.

IP resources should also be used to realise and promote the untapped potential of Sri Lanka’s natural, cultural and archaeological heritage sites. Branding of cultural heritage sites by using appropriate trademarks or collective mark regime would add value to cultural goods and services while ensuring the IPs are protected.

In addition, the Ayurvedic sector should be promoted as well as the Ayurveda sector was one of the fastest growing segments of the global tourism landscape. Branding of Ayurveda through trademark law, in particular the certification mark regime, would add value and provide needed credibility by conforming to international standards.

The study further recommended that IP tools could be used to create competitive Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) by registering the trade name of the hotel/restaurant which would add value to these enterprises. A new design for a small hotel, home-stay, tree house, eco-lodge or rest stop could be protected by design rights and the IP system could therefore promote local competition in tourism sector.

IP rights could also be used as collateral and IP-backed loan schemes could be implemented for the benefit of cash strapped, tourism oriented Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.

The study also called for an institutional capacity building program in IP, tourism and cultural institutions and that well designed training programs, including workshops and seminars to support institutional capacity building (with key institutions such as the National Intellectual Property Office, NSF, the Inventors’ Commission and cultural centres), could ensure that institutes are protected, promoted and IP rights are enforced in a more efficient and effective manner.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/travel-tourism/Intellectual-Property-to-help-develop-tourism-sector–WIPO-Study/27-643371

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion 2017 in Sydney, Australia

The Sri Lanka Food and Cultural Festival – 2017, a Sri Lankan Tourism Consumer Promotional Event which was jointly organised by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Sydney and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, was held at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour from 25 to 26 November.

An event of this nature was held in Sydney for the first time and it was a great success with the presence of Sri Lankan Travel Trade as well as a large number of Australian visitors who enjoyed Sri Lankan festival environment at this event.

The main objective of this consumer promotion was to create awareness among Australian travel community that Sri Lanka is now most preferred destination for leisure and holidays.

Major activities took place at this two-day festival which included the exhibition and sale of Sri Lankan products, tasting of Sri Lankan food and Ceylon Tea, performances by Chandana Wickremasinghe dance troupe, question and answer sessions with giveaways, video presentation on Sri Lanka, distribution of promotional materials and selling of tour packages by Sri Lankan Travel Trade at the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Pavilion.

The event attracted a large audience of business community, professionals, media, tour operators and general public including Australians as well as Sri Lankan expatriates. It generated awareness among Australian travellers enabling them to choose Sri Lanka as a top destination to make their next visit.

Four Sri Lankan restaurants based in Sydney put up food stalls selling a variety of Sri Lankan cuisine. Consulate General office in Sydney organised a stall for Ceylon Tea and promoted liquid tea sampling through the courtesy of Sri Lanka Tea Board. In addition, seven trade stalls were put up by Sri Lankan companies based in Colombo/Australia exhibiting/selling Sri Lankan handicrafts, batiks, paintings, ethnic SL food, gems and jewellery, etc.

The event was officially inaugurated by Damien Tudehope, State MP, Epping and two other Members of Parliament namely; Kevin Conolly, State MP, Riverstone and Hugh McDermott, MP, Member for Prospect also joined at the opening ceremony.

Travel Road Show and Business Networking at Hyatt Regency in Sydney

Subsequent to the two-day consumer promotion, a Business Networking and Tourism Road Show was organised for a 35 member Travel Trade Delegation from Sri Lanka on 27 November at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sydney. 150 invited participants including NSW based outbound travel operators, wholesalers and retailers attended the Networking Session followed by cultural performances, raffle draws with giveaways over dinner. Rhonda Piggott, Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was the chief guest at this function.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/travel-tourism/Sri-Lanka-Tourism-Promotion-2017-in-Sydney–Australia/27-644643

Edelweiss to open new direct flight between Zurich and Colombo

Edelweiss, Switzerland’s leading leisure airline and sister company of Swiss International Air Lines, is further expanding its route network to Asia. From 3 November 2018 the airline will offer seasonal flights between Zurich and Colombo.

An Edelweiss Airbus A340-300 will fly twice weekly between Zurich and Colombo connecting the two cities directly. The new connection allows Swiss and other European tourists to reach Sri Lanka with ease and in comfort.

“Sri Lanka and its countless leisure activities are very popular among Swiss tourists” says Bernd Bauer, CEO of Edelweiss. “Swiss vacationers tend to spend more time and money than visitors from other countries. Our flights will bring approximately 11,000 visitors to Colombo each year, generating an annual economic impact of more than $ 32million.”

As well as opening Sri Lanka to Swiss and other European visitors, the new route offers a convenient direct flight for travellers from around Colombo to the heart of Europe, with many onward flight options from Zurich to other European cities and world-wide destinations with Swiss International Air Lines.

The route will be operated with an Airbus A340-300 seating314 passengers. Edelweiss Business Class is equipped with 27 fully lie-flat seats and a state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system with HD touchscreens.Economy Max encompasses 76 comfortable seats with six inches more legroom, more recline and many other amenities. The 211 seats in Economy Class provide for a relaxing flight and offer an inflight entertainment system that also features HD touchscreens. For more information regarding the Edelweiss product visit http://www.flyedelweiss.com.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/travel-tourism/Edelweissto-open-new-direct-flight-between-Zurich-and-Colombo/27-644642