Yala Park closed for a month due to drought

Yala National Park will be closed for one month starting from September 7 as a result of the extremely low waterfall in the area, Wildlife Conservation Department spokesperson Hasini Sarathchandra said.

“The bookings of bungalows would not be allowed for local and foreign visitors during this time. The park will re-open again on October 6, provided rains being experienced during this time. However, it should be noted that last year too the park reopening following the dry season had to be extended as the drought had continued to effect the availability of water for the animals to survive,” Sarathchandra said.

“During the period of closure, maintenance work on bungalows and the park would be carried out. As the Yala Sanctuary was always overflowing with visitors, closing the park for a short period during the dry season is the usual practice because of their breeding period to allow the wild animals to rest,” she said.

The Yala National Park was the most visited and the second largest National Park in Sri Lanka. It encompasses an area of about 1,260 square kilometres, while also attracting visitors in their thousands, which had contributed the highest revenue to the Wildlife Department, she said.

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

Austrian Airlines inaugurates winter flights to Sri Lanka

Austrian Airlines, the flagship carrier of Austria, is expanding its long-haul service in the tourism segment by adding Sri Lanka as a new destination to its network.

Starting from 27 October 2015, Austrian Airlines will offer flights once a week to Colombo, namely on Tuesdays, the airline said in a release. Austrian Airlines will operate a Boeing 767 for its flight service to Colombo, a distance of about 7,450 km. The flight from Vienna to Colombo will take about nine hours and 10 minutes. “In addition to the Maldives and Mauritius, Sri Lanka is yet another destination in the Indian Ocean,” explained Chief Commercial Officer of Austrian Airlines, Andreas Otto. “In this way we are increasingly focusing on long-haul tourist destinations which are particularly in demand during the winter months.”
Sri Lanka is mainly of interests to tourists who want to enjoy the local culture, relax on the beaches or get to know the country and its people within the context of an active or adventure holiday, the airline said.

Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority Director General H. M.C. Nimalsiri said direct service from Vienna to Colombo was a result of bilateral talks between the Civil Aviation Authorities of Austria and Sri Lanka held at Bali Island on Indonesia in November 2014. According to the official, the service will greatly help boost Sri Lanka’s tourism industry since most Austrian tourists prefer to spend their holidays around beaches in coastal areas. The airline will offer the service during the winter season and the round trip airfares start at EUR 679, including taxes and charges.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/463105/Austrian-Airlines-inaugurates-winter-flights-to-Sri-Lanka#sthash.xgWeycMU.dpuf

Aitken Spence Travels attracts nature and adventure tours from Spain


Intensive marketing of Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for nature and adventures tours by Aitken Spence Travels has attracted a leading specialized tour operator from Spain to send two tourist groups to Sri Lanka this month. The groups’ tours in Sri Lanka were handled by Aitken Spence Travels, Sri Lanka’s leading destination management company.

The Spanish tour operator who specializes in nature and adventure, offers such tours to most parts of the world from Spain. Its Product Manager said “Sri Lanka and its people have been a beautiful surprise. We are confident of moving more clients to the country in the coming months”.

With the commitment towards offering sustainable tourism, Aitken Spence Travels is endowed the Carbon Neutral status by the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund and maintains ISO 9001:2008 and 14001:2004 certifications.

Source : http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/aitken-spence-travels-attracts-nature-and-adventure-tours-from-spain/

Sri Lanka Tourism, Tea Board and SriLankan Airlines quest for Guinness Record

  • 3000 kg of black tea to  be plucked 
  • 35,000 cups of tea to be served at Esala Perahera 
  • Guinness World Record attempt to be featured at global travel fairs
  • New global advertising campaign in the making

Sri Lanka will attempt to claim a Guinness World Record by plucking 3,000 kg of tea at the Pedro Estate, with the help of 200 foreigners, and serving 35,000 cups of tea at the Esala Perahera. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala said this feat would put the country on the world map. “This must be supported by the launch of a global branding and promotional campaign on tourism after a lapse of six years which is now at a ‘shortlist’ stage where the top seven global advertising agencies are in the running,” he emphasised.

01-3“Sri Lanka Tourism will cross the $ 3-billion net receipts in 2015 and the new advertising campaign will help Sri Lankan positioning on the proposition of the DNA – diversity, compactness and authenticity which will help the overall objective of attracting the $ 250-dollar tourists rather than just going after arrivals,” said Athukorala.
The private sector partners of the Guinness record bid are Basilur, the global tea brand and household business brand, Maliban, which will be the new ethos of the Government on the Private-Public-People partnership to building brand Sri Lanka,” he said.  “Research indicates that when a country’s brand value pegs up the quality of investments increases while the quality of the tourists that it can attract also increases while the export market country mix also tends to change which is what Sri Lanka needs to do.”

At the ‘World’s Largest Tea Party’ Sri Lanka Tourism will invite foreign guests from key countries such as India, China, UK, Germany, Italy, Russia, Middle East, Australian and United States as well as nations from the Scandinavian region.  “To be part of the event which will be linked to social media that takes the story to the key markets so that we can get on the news of the world. Earlier this month Sri Lanka Tourism launched a unique global competition where the best 20 online videos submitted will get a 365-day holiday whilst a weekly direct mail themed ‘message in a bottle’ has been touching the key global media, designation marketing companies ( DMC’s) around the world. In the key markets, we do focus below the activations by way of road shows branded ‘One island, thousand treasures’ while also being in person with the private sector in the key travel and trade fairs globally under the theme ‘8 wonderful experiences in 8 wonderful days’,” said Athukorala.  “We will extend the Guinness Record to the world by way of the ‘Ceylon Tea Boutique’ concept which is in every exhibition that we take part globally which costs us over a Rs. 1 billion annually,” he added.

Athukorala stated that Sri Lanka had garnered over a million tourists in just seven months at a growth of 16.8% as at the end of July 2015 and July spiked to 31.2% growth in visitors, which was interesting given that China became the top source market.
“However, the dominance of the informal sector accounting for 49% of the arrivals which is approximately 7.3 million room nights must be addressed as we are launching a 200 million digital marketing campaign with the best online organisations that must help the formal sector that support SLTPB with the funding required for aggressive marketing,” commented Chairman Athukorala.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/462087/Sri-Lanka-Tourism–Tea-Board-and-SriLankan-Airlines-quest-for-Guinness-Record#sthash.A2MouuQj.dpuf

All set for Kandy Esala Perahera

Arrangements have made to conduct the Kandy Esala Perahera after a series of meetings with top officials of Government and Non Government organizations under the guidance of High Priests of Asgiriya and Malwatta Chapters and Diyawadana Nilame of Daladamaligawa and Political Authorities, said High Priest and Parivenadhipathi of Asgiriya Maha Vihara Pirivena Naranpanawe Ananda Thera.

Sanitary facilities, health facilities, convenient places to watch the perahera and transport facilities for visitors will be provided. Kandy Police will deploy around 3500 Police officers to maintain peace in the city.

The Kap Planting ceremony will begin on August 15 with four Devalas. The first Kumbal perahera will be held on August 20 and continue up to August 25.

Randoli Perahara will continue up to August 29.

The Perahara will end on August 30 followed by the water cutting ceremony at the Gatambe Mahaweli river.

Source : http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/all-set-kandy-esala-perahera#sthash.0VIUlhYb.dpuf

Cathay Pacific Airways celebrates new flight schedule with travel agents


Cathay Pacific Airways recently celebrated the introduction of daily nonstop flights from Colombo to Hong Kong with staff and travel agents.  The top performing travel agents of 2014 and the upcoming agents of 2014 in both the passenger and cargo sectors were awarded for their superior performance and dedication throughout the year 2014.

Classic Travels Ltd., Hemas Travels Ltd. and Mackinnons American Express Travel were named the top three travel agents for 2014 under the passenger sector.  Certificates of recognition, under the same category were awarded to George Steuart Travel Ltd., The Traveller Global Ltd., Gabo Travels Ltd., Aitken Spence Travels Ltd., 2nd Chance Travels Ltd., Metro Travels & Tours Ltd. and Go Holidays Ltd. Findmyfare.com received an award as the upcoming agent with the highest growth from 2014 to 2015.

In the cargo freight agencies category, Expo Freight Ltd., Freight Links Ltd. and TL World Ltd. received awards as the top three performers with seven other agencies receiving certificates.  Under the upcoming agents, in the cargo category, IML SCS Lanka Ltd., Expelogix Ltd. and Wings Logistics were recognised for their valuable services.  J Lun Logistics Ltd. clinched the award as the best perishable exporter.  Cathay Pacific continues to grow its network of over 200 destinations and aims to continue providing value added services for their loyal customer base.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/457289/Cathay-Pacific-Airways-celebrates-new-flight-schedule-with-travel-agents#sthash.4nkPHEBY.50WzVtQu.dpuf

Aitken Spence to open Browns Beach this year

Aitken Spence Group’s Browns Beach Hotels PLC will be commencing operations of its Negombo resort during the financial year 2015/16, Group Chairman Harry Jayawardene said in his annual review.

The long standing plan for the company was that it would rebrand the hotel to Heritance Negombo to bring the 143-room luxury property within the portfolio of the successful Heritance brands ofAitken Spence.

The Browns Beach Hotel was started in 1970, and Jayawardene had earlier said that renovating or upgrading the hotel to match future tourism trends would not be cost-effective.

Therefore, the old hotel was demolished, and the new resort construction was started with an initial capital injection of Rs.2.1 billion through a rights issue in 2010.

Jayawardene controls 90.91 percent of Browns Beach Hotels through various subsidiaries.

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


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