Cirque Lanka

More than 15 performers on stage, live music, drummers, traditional masks, acrobats, aerial acrobatics and fire effects. Cirque Lanka is the unique theatrical project which combines traditional Sri Lankan drums and dances with European New Circus. All this in the most beautiful open air theater in Sri Lanka – in Viharamahadevi Open Air Theater.

Program of the stage play is created under the leadership of European theater directors and is approached by the best Sri Lankan and European artists. Together we create one hour long show that combines a traditional Sri Lankan dances and music with „High artistry and poetic circus“. This causes an unusual symbiosis which will be very attractive for audience and completely original. The performance also maximally respects the traditions of Sri Lankan culture.

We are working on 120 shows. Every night from 1st December do 31st March visitors are going to see the unique performance based on Ramayana Story. Visit us in the largest and the most beautiful park in the heart of Colombo where you can enjoy great coffee, tasty snacks and free Wi-Fi. We are opening from 1st December 2016, every show starts at 7.30 pm.

The project has the official support of HE John A. E. Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs and Hon Malraj B. Kiriella, Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.


Agent FAM Tour of Alpitour Italy


Alpitour, a leading tour operator in Italy, together with Aitken Spence Travels Ltd. has organised a FAM Tour to Sri Lanka for leading Italian travel agents. They will be visiting the Cultural Triangle, Kandy and the West Coast. These travel agents will gain firsthand information about the product on offer and the tourism potential in Sri Lanka during their visit. On their return they will aggressively promote Sri Lanka as a destination – Pic by Airport Correspondent Kumarasiri Prasad

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November arrivals up 16% amid higher European tourists

Increased interest from Europe helped prop tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka this November up to 167,217, a growth of 16 percent year-on-year (YOY), which would still be inadequate to reach the ambitious government targets set for 2016.

Unlike the corresponding month last year, when it took over the top spot as a regional market, South Asia was pushed down to the second largest regional market with 46,319 tourists, growing at 12.1 percent YOY.

Indian visitor levels grew by just 2.8 percent YOY to 30,148, while arrivals from the Maldives increased 21.5 percent YOY to 9,948 tourists. Arrivals from Pakistan grew 41.3 percent YOY to 2,869 tourists.

Arrivals from East Asia increased 12.7 percent YOY to 31,586 tourists, with Chinese arrivals growing just 10.5 percent YOY to 18,590 tourists after experiencing double that growth throughout the rest of 2016. The Japanese market expanded 7.5 percent YOY to 2,702 visitors.

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Sri Lanka Tourism kicks off underground campaign in UK train stations


Sun kissed beaches, lush greenery, an ancient and exquisite culture and heritage: exactly what a holiday maker would want. Sri Lanka is a country blessed with all the resources that any ordinary traveller would need. As the key institution in Sri Lanka to promote Sri Lanka worldwide, Sri Lanka Tourism is carrying out various activities to promote Sri Lanka as a high-end tourist destination. At the moment, it has taken a new step of promoting underground advertising campaigns in order to create consumer awareness amongst the travel community on Sri Lankan tourism products and about the country itself.

The campaign was launched on 7 November 2016, in parallel to the World Travel Market (WTM) 2016 in UK. The campaign is scheduled to continue till January, for a period of three months. This effort was made a reality by implementing an underground train and rail advertising campaign which made a huge impact and attracted the travelling public in UK. The eye-captivating underground metro boards made UK nationals astonished as they waited for a train or passed by.

British travellers like to have a goodtime and a holiday experience which is worthwhile. The campaign was carried out by advertising in 15 panels in 10 stations, including Greenpark, Baker Street, Holborn, Leicester Square, Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Westminister, with a theme for each station and panel. London has one of the largest urban transport networks in the world, therefore a large number of people gather daily to fulfil their transportation needs. Sri Lanka Tourism has captured an ideal way of getting attention from the UK public in promoting Sri Lanka.

The advertisements included images depicting the vibrant multi-ethnic culture, diverse landscape including pristine beaches, and wildlife including elephants, leopards, and whale and dolphin watching, to create a spectacular picture of Sri Lanka as a beautiful island paradise. Up to October 2016, tourist arrivals from UK recorded a hefty sum of 154,356 which showed a significant increase compared with the same period last year.

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SLTDA recognises six star hotels


By Charumini de Silva

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) last week awarded six hotels in the country with a star rating in an effort to bring service levels to international standards.

Kingsbury, Heritance Negombo, Grand Kandyan and Shangri-La Hambantota Resort and Spa were recognised as five star hotels, while Cinnamon Red was recognised as a three star hotel. Mirage Hotel was awarded with two stars.

According to the Extraordinary Gazette No. 1963/28, all registered hotels in the country should be classified on a star class basis with every registered proprietor responsible for complying with the minimum requirements for all categories of hotels specified in the rules for minimum capacities and facilities of tourist hotels.

Hotels will be reclassified every three years and during this time each establishment would be allowed the use of the approved symbol for that particular classification along with the name of the hotel.

Speaking at the event Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga emphasised the importance of standardisation of hotels, noting that the tourism sector has been recognised as a thrust industry for economic development.

While congratulating the hotels that received star classification, the Minister urged them to maintain standards, insisting that if they offer a value for money service it would increase repeat tourists and attract new visitors.

Hotel Classification Committee Chairman Tissa Warnasuriya told the Daily FT that they have visited 57 hotels and shortlisted 24, six of which were awarded star classification, with another three recognised as boutique villas.

“It is a tedious task. The major roadblock in implementing regulations was the absence of accurate data on unregistered hotels as it was not mandatory to register under the Tourist Board previously,” he added.

He said that out of the 24 hotels that were shortlisted, those unselected had a few shortcomings that needed to be rectified before a star rating could be awarded. However, Warnasuriya was hopeful to award at least ten more shortlisted hotels before the end of the month.

Amaratunga called on four to five star hoteliers to conduct continuous in-house training programs as to address the skill gap faced by the industry. The Minister also requested hotels to partner with Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) through a public private partnership (PPP) as it would add more value to the training programs and certificates on offer. Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Paddy Withana commended the private sector for holding the industry together during difficult times and for driving industry growth.

Noting that Sri Lanka has enough people to cater to increasing demand, Withana stressed that training was necessary boost the industry further.

Pix by Ruwan Walpola

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SriLankan becomes first international airline to fly to Gan Island


SriLankan Airlines consolidated its traditional positioning as the largest airline operation in the Maldives, by commencing services to Gan Island yesterday. Thus SriLankan Airlines will become the only airline to operate international flights to Gan International Airport, with four flights per week.

Accordingly, Gan Island operations will facilitate visitors’ travel to any destination in the world via SriLankan Airlines’ global route network with 102 destinations in 47 countries and 1,000 destinations under the oneworld alliance.

Gan is the most populated island in Addu Atoll (also known as Seenu Atoll), the southernmost atoll in the Maldives. SriLankan flights will depart from Gan on every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday Gan at 9.05hrs, arrive in Colombo at 11.25hrs. Hours; depart Colombo at 7.01hrs and arrive in Gan at 8.20hrs.

The commencement of services to Gan is part of the recent strategic shift by SriLankan to heighten its focus on its network in South Asia namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and in the Middle East Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman, and the Far East including Japan, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. Gan is one of 11 new destinations in the Asia-Middle East region to which Sri Lanka’s national carrier is commencing services in the fourth quarter of 2016.

SriLankan provides rapid connections through Colombo to its global network, including over 100 weekly flights to 11 cities in India, and a wide range of destinations in the Far East and the Middle East. On the way, passengers can enjoy SriLankan’s modern fleet and a service which provides passengers with comfortable seats, state of the art entertainment systems, excellent in-flight cuisine, and flight attendants famed for their warmth and caring.

SriLankan’s office in the Maldives is located at SriLankan Airlines Ltd., C/o ACE Aviation Services Maldives Ltd. H. Thuniya Building (2nd Floor), Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Henveiru, 20066 Male,

Republic of Maldives.

It can be reached on tel +9603333668, fax: +9603333669, email: Operating hours are Sunday to Thursday (9:00hrs to 18:00hrs), Saturday (9.00hrs to 15.00hrs), Closed on Fridays.

SriLankan is also part of oneworld’s network of more than 1,000 destinations in 160 countries.

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Tourism Fest to dazzle Colombo


With the festive season just around the corner elaborate plans are being made to transform the city of Colombo into a Tourism Wonderland from 20 to 23 December this year.

Sri Lanka Tourism under the guidance of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs is planning the second edition of Tourism Fest which took the city by storm last December. The idea behind this unique event is to portray Sri Lankan food, culture, gems, handicrafts, tea, shopping and entertainment at one venue during the height of the tourist season. According to sources at Sri Lanka Tourism, this year’s Tourism Fest will be a bigger and better version of last year.

Tourism Fest 2016 will be declared open by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Tourism Development, Christian Religious Affairs and Lands, John Amaratunga on 20 December while President Maithripala Sirisena will preside at the closing ceremony on 23 December at the Independence Arcade in Colombo, which is the venue for the four-dayevent. A host of VIPs and diplomatic community are expected to visit the Fest during the four-day event.

Tourism Fest is a concept of Tourism Development Minister, John Amaratunga who having realised the absence of any organised tourism related event during the festive season when city hotels are filled with foreign tourists, decided to organise a multi-day event bringing together all tourism stake holders. The event is complemented with nonstop entertainment by armed forces bands, choral groups and cultural shows providing both local and foreign tourists a memorable experience.

Meanwhile in order to enliven the ambience in the city, the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs has requested the corporate sector to light up their buildings during the festive season. As a result, Colombo is expected to dazzle during Tourism Fest 2016 creating a lively atmosphere that will rival the trendiest cities in this part of the world.

“My intention is to organise calendar based events so that visitors to the country will know that there is plenty of entertainment during their visit. I have heard many tourists complaining that there is not much to do when the sun sets in the city. Events of this nature will provide much needed entertainment for tourists while also promoting our tourist attractions,” said Amaratunga explaining the rationale for Tourism Fest 2016.

Among the entertainment acts billed to perform during the four-day fest are the Army, Air Force and Police Bands, various choirs singing Christmas carols, groups conducting nativity plays and various cultural shows. A fireworks display is set to dazzle the environs of Independence Square while a specialkiddies’entertainment area will keep the youngsters thoroughly entertained while the adults grab bargains at the shopping bazaar featuring some of the best known global brands.

To add spice to the proceedings, Tourism Fest will feature food and beverage stalls by leading hotels and restaurants in Colombo with live demonstrations of different cuisines giving visitors an opportunity to learn and experience the culinary aspects of Sri Lanka. The international cuisine on offer will include Mongolian, Arabic, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Korean, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Indonesian and specialty desserts at a nominal rate. In addition, the Sri Lanka Tea Board will feature a tea tasting centre with a display of the many varieties of tea available in the island.

One of the main attractions for tourists will be an exposition of Sri Lankan culture and heritage presented by Central Cultural Fund showcasing photographs, artefact replicas and books. The Gem &Jewellery Authority will also be organising an exhibition on Sri Lankan gems with a sales outlet as well. The Zoological Department and the Department of Wild life will have exhibitions on the wildlife and zoological gardens of Sri Lanka. It will be a unique experience for those interested in wild life.

A special double decker shuttle bus service organised by ‘Colombo City Tour’ will be available from selected Colombo hotels daily to and from the venue with live carols on board.

Tourism Fest 2016 will create a Sri Lankan sense of celebration and spread the spirit of the season among locals, tourists, the diplomatic and expat communities while providing a unique platform for tourism promotion.

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