Need for extensive study on tourism carrying capacity highlighted

„Tourism Ministry secretary highlights need for study on tourism carrying capacity „Says results of such study could lead to major change in tourism policies going forward
„Govt. expects to attract 4.5mn tourists by 2020 compared to 2.05mn in 2016

Sri Lanka will require an extensive study on the country’s tourism carrying capacity, a top government official told Mirror Business recently, amid the ongoing government plans to attract higher volumes of tourists to the country.

From left: Tourism Development, Land and Christian Affairs Ministry Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa and Minister John Amaratunga during a recent press briefing in Colombo 
“We will require a big study. Not only Beruwala but also Sigiriya is overcapacity and Yala is overcapacity,” Tourism Development, Land and Christian Affairs Ministry Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa said, when asked how the government will deal with Beruwala and southwestern areas overcrowded with tourists.

Reports of elephant attacks on tourists and safari jeeps running over animals in Yala have highlighted the dismal situation prevailing over the country’s most popular national park.

Although the private sector in the past had speculated that the country’s carrying capacity could range between 4.5 and seven million tourists, academics have warned that given the current level of development in Sri Lanka, the carrying capacity may have already been exceeded.

According to the World Tourism Organisation, the tourism carrying capacity of a country takes into account the number of tourists a country can accommodate without causing harm to its physical, economic and socio-cultural environment and also without reducing the quality of satisfaction of a visitor.

While the country’s main tourism zone ranging across the south and west coasts is now saturated with hotels—claiming over 70 percent of the country’s established hotels— innovations such as Airbnb have expanded the carrying capacity physically, while putting greater pressure on the socio-cultural environment.

Spreading tourism development into less popular areas could increase the country’s carrying capacity, although success would hinge on the ability of Sri Lanka to create and market new or existing minor tourism attractions more successfully.

Sugathadasa said that a study could result in a major change in Sri Lanka’s tourism policies.

“In the study, if we find that our carrying capacity is 1.5 million, then we will have to see how we can attract 1.5 million highspending tourists,” he said.

The government is hoping to attract around 4.5 million tourists by 2020 compared to 2.05 million the country attracted in 2016, although a slowdown in hotel construction recorded in the latest available figures of 2015 is pointing towards the private sector working with estimates which are somewhat lower.

Sri Lanka has to conduct a study and make its decision soon, since according to research, it is more difficult to convert a highly entrenched mass-tourism destination into a high-spending premium destination, compared to developing a destination from the ground-up as a premium destination.

Some industry experts have been advocating Sri Lanka to follow the example of Bhutan and limit the entrance of tourists to the country based on the expenditure they are guaranteed to make in the country, while others have pointed out the long-term adverse impacts to Sri Lanka’s national image if the youth and budget segments are alienated.

The effects of alienating certain tourist segments are fresh in the minds of Sri Lankans, since the hotels and restaurants in some popular tourist areas either refuse to or are reluctant to serve the locals.

The government has recently been seen taking nascent steps to promote sustainable practices—which could increase the carrying capacity for Sri Lanka—although a more firm commitment by the state is yet to be seen.

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

Hilton Hotels conveys Lankan expansion, promotion to Ravi K in Washington

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Following the landmark deal by Hilton to manage six more hotels in Sri Lanka, senior management of the Hilton met visiting Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in Washington DC on the sidelines of the ongoing World Bank and IMF meetings.

Senior Vice President of Hilton Jonas Neihardt met with Minister Karunanayake, facilitated by Nisha Biswal, Senior Advisor of Albright Stonebridge Group, to brief on measures being taken by this renowned global hospitality company of the United States to strengthen its market footprints in Sri Lanka and to discuss initiatives for further expanding its presence in Sri Lanka, described as one of the most sought-after destination in the world, at present.

The discussions centred on how Hilton Group could not only manage more hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, but as to how the Group can promote Sri Lanka as a destination among American public, and worldwide.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/611138/Hilton-Hotels-conveys-Lankan-expansion–promotion-to-Ravi-K-in-Washington#sthash.61inAi9n.dpuf

SriLankan Airlines aims to boost Middle East market

SriLankan Airlines, will be making fresh forays into the Mideast region through its presence at the Arabian Travel Market which opened in Dubai, UAE yesterday (24 April).DFT-1-52

The airline, a member of the oneworld airline alliance, said the region is one of its significant source markets, speaking at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

The airline is uniquely positioned to serve as a seamless connector between the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Far East and Southeast Asia, as a result of its strategic location and strong route network, a statement said.

The Indian Ocean carrier has traditionally benefited from carrying tourists and expatriates between the Middle East, Sri Lanka and the sub-continent. With demand increasing, SriLankan Airlines has now enhanced its services to the region, with daily flights to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat, Bahrain and Kuwait, it said.

The airline is also looking at increasing connectivity to other parts of the Arabian Gulf depending on demand.

With demand increasing, SriLankan Airlines has now enhanced its services to the region, with daily flights to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Muscat, Bahrain and Kuwait. The airline is also looking at increasing connectivity to other parts of the Gulf depending on demand.

“The Middle East continues to be one of our most important markets and being present at the ATM allows us to network and interact with the majority of tour operators, travel agents and other stakeholders and present them with our latest offerings,” said Desiree Premachandra, Country Manager of SriLankan Airlines in the UAE.

The airline, which is known for its excellent standards of in-flight service and seamless transit operations at its hub at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, will also look to further leverage its membership of the oneworld alliance and work with other partners to increase traffic across its network.

“We are an airline with a unique set of advantages, being located in the tourism paradise of Sri Lanka and having strong networks and traditional ties to India, the Middle East and East Asia, which we are looking to capitalise on to grow our presence further as a leading player in this sector,” Premachandra added.

SriLankan Airlines today flies an all Airbus fleet, which includes the sophisticated A330-300 and A320neo aircraft connecting to 100 destinations in 47 countries (including codeshare operations).

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/611244/SriLankan-Airlines-aims-to-boost-Middle-East-market#sthash.jB2y0ANU.dpuf

Government expects to bag US$ 4bn from 2.5mn tourists this year

„Arrivals need to record 22% annual growth to meet target
„Last year’s arrivals grew only 14%; this year arrivals have grown 3.4%
„Govt. banks on promotional campaigns running into billions to achieve growth

By Chandeepa Wettasinghe

Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities are hoping to attract 2.5 million tourists and generate US$ 4 billion in foreign exchange for the country this year, backed by a short-term Rs.500 million digital media campaign, which is currently being planned.

“Last year, we ended up close to US$ 3.5 billion and this year we should reach about US$ 4 billion if all goes well and there’s no world war and disruption. And that is an estimated figure. There may be more,” Tourism Development, Land and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said. He added that the government is aiming to attract 2.5 million tourists, compared to the 2.05 million tourists that visited the country last

year. This is an expected annual growth of 22 percent, compared to the 14 percent growth in 2016.

So far in 2017, tourist arrivals have grown by just 3.4 percent compared to the same period last year, due to the partial airport closure resulted by the revamping of the runway of the country’s main international airport in Katunayake.

“Of course in the first two months we had the issue of airport disruptions, and pulling out Srilankan (Airlines) from popular destinations, but nevertheless we see the trend is now increasing again,” Amaratunga said.

The airport in Katunayake became fully operational after the runway refurbishment in the first week of this month.

Amaratunga had initially set a goal of 2.5 million tourists for 2016, although the target was revised down to 2.2 million later. Arrival targets for both 2015 and 2016 were not achieved.

The absence of a coordinated destination promotional campaign, coupled with global terror attacks may have contributed to Sri Lanka failing to meet its targets in the past 2 years. However, word of mouth and the usual efforts of the government and the private sector contributed towards the growth of tourist arrivals at a diminishing rate, a trend which has persisted since 2010. Leading private sector hospitality industry figures have also been observed to endorse the overly ambitious targets of the government instead of advising for more realistic goals.

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramanium explained that Sri Lanka must utilize social media tools such as Instagram and Facebook, as well as leading bloggers in the social media sphere to promote the island as an attractive destination in order to boost arrivals. He said the proposed social media campaign will focus on Europe, China, India and the Middle East and they will be targeted in different phases.

Balasubramanium went on to say that the campaign will cost between Rs. 300-500 million, and a capable media agency will soon be selected through calling expressions of interest. “This will be in the short-term. What we have after this is the global campaign (which) will be running for 3 years up to 2020, and that I think amounts to a Rs.3 billion campaign.” Tourism Development, Land and Christian Affairs Ministry Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa chipped in, saying that a Rs. 800 million media plan is also being formulated.

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

Theme Resorts invests Rs. 450 mn in ‘Ayurvie Retreat’ Weligama

Theme Resorts and Spa in a bid to expand their local foot print will be opening ‘Ayurvie Retreat’ hotel in Weligama soon.

Chandra Wickramasinghe, Founder and Chairman, Theme Resorts, said that the group have invested Rs. 450 million for this project. “We have also obtained some dollar financing for this project.”

He said that the ‘Ayurvie Retreat’ Weligama is a luxury boutique retreat offering authentic Sri Lankan Ayurvedic experience.

He said that they have 22 deluxe rooms and two suites which are equipped with a large balcony and other modern amenities like rain shower, wifi, and mini herbal bar. Suites offer Jacuzzi, Private dining and a home theatre system. Guests also have the choice of selecting their room with a preferred colour according to ayurveda themes.

The ‘Ayurvie Retreat’ Weligama was launched to the world market at the recently concluded ITB travel show in Berlin.

“We got a very good response for the hotel,” said Chamin Wickramasinghe, Director and CEO .

Theme Resorts and Spa also owns and operate, Kithula Tissamaharama, Maalu Maalu Resort & Spa, Passekudah, Aliya Resort & Spa, Sigiriya, Mountbatten Bungalow, Kandy, WildTrails, Yal and Scottish Planter Glendevon Bungalow.

Maalu Maalu Resort & Spa is the first resort to have been opened in Pasikuda and has been in operation since May 2011.

Source : http://dailynews.lk/2017/04/19/business/113492/theme-resorts-invests-rs-450-mn-%E2%80%98ayurvie-retreat%E2%80%99-weligama

Chinese fine-dining restaurant to open in Colombo

Mainland China is a brand new facility with an investment over $500,000 on a 140-seater exclusive restaurant space located in Colombo 07 and will open doors in Colombo in July 2017.

The very best of Chinese cuisine comes to Colombo, as the renowned international Chinese fine-dining restaurant chain, Mainland China, will open its first outlet in Sri Lanka in July this year.

With over 48restaurants across India, Bangladesh, Tanzania and Qatar, Mainland China is renowned for its authentic and exclusive Chinese delights, dished out by some of the finest Chefs from all over China. Sri Lanka is the latest addition to Mainland China’s menu of destinations, whilst the company is also opening outlets in the United States, Dubai and London in near future.

Mainland China is the flagship brand of Speciality Restaurants Ltd. and their venture into Sri Lanka is in partnership with Cusino (Pvt) Ltd. who will be responsible for building and promoting the business throughout the country. Speciality Restaurants is an Indian-based, Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange listed award-winning international restaurant group with 123 outlets that specializes in variety of cuisines.

Founder and Managing Director of Speciality Restaurants, Anjan Chatterjee, said, “We are delighted to venture into Sri Lanka to add further flavour and value to its changing landscape. Colombo is fast becoming an international city offering great promise and atmosphere. We are proud to become a partner of this transition, and extend the footprint of our flagship brand to Sri Lankan diners.”

Director of Cusino (Pvt) Ltd., Fazal Noordeen, said, “Mainland China will further enhance Sri Lanka’s fine-dining experience, and present a range of unique, truly-authentic flavours from the farthest regions of China. It brings us immense please to partner Speciality Restaurants in its venture into Sri Lanka, and we look forward to working hand-in-hand to transform epicureanism and food-culture in the country.”

Source : http://dailynews.lk/2017/04/18/business/113351/chinese-fine-dining-restaurant-open-colombo

Oceanfront Condos in Nilaveli: A slice of paradise to call ‘home’

Languidly lying just about 14 kilometres north of the city of Trincomalee, Nilaveli is home to a long stretch of beach with pearly white coral sand and shallow waters that allow one to wade out to the sea for hundreds of feet in some areas.

Cradled on the lap of a virgin sweep of beach here, Oceanfront Condos is a hideaway from the rest of the world, a place where gurgling waves wake one up to day upon day of sun-kissed bliss.

The very first beachfront, serviced, luxury and leisure apartments of its kind in the island, Oceanfront Condos, homes 81 condominiums in total. The first phase of the apartment contract is to be completed by September 2017; this means the event of handing over the keys to its owners is almost at hand.

Boasting of large living spaces that blend with its gorgeous natural surroundings, with each condominium enjoying views of the Indian Ocean from both the living and bedrooms, the condos are an ideal investment for a discerning few who understand the necessity to have a home away from home, a home to just throw the feet up and unwind by the beach.

What makes the model of Oceanfront Condos’ operations convenient is that once the apartment is purchased and furnished by the owner, the company acts as a facilitator for condominium rentals. While the owners go about their life, the company manages and lets out the condominiums on rent, thus enabling the owner parties to earn an additional income from their holiday beachfront homes.

Oceanfront Condos features a swimming pool, a gymnasium and a café within its precincts. It is also comfortably located, just a 20-minute boat ride away from the Pigeon Island Marine National Park with its jewelled coral gardens and 300 types of reef fish that makes it a snorkelers’ and divers’ paradise.

Oceanfront Condos’ close proximity to Trincomalee makes it a viable hub to visit. Its natural harbour, Konesvaram temple and Fort Frederick are some interesting sites here.

Another attraction, of course, is whale watching at the harbour. The potential buyers are invited to visit the property and its fully furnished show apartment this holiday season, to inspect and explore the value of this Nilaveli beachfront investment.

Located on a beautiful slice of paradise flaunting vibrantly coloured sunrises, Oceanfront Condos offers intimate moments with nature, blissful solitude and a hassle-free opportunity to earn an additional income. Do not miss the opportunity to reserve your very own apartment with the best view of the ocean.

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