President to open Kaduwela – Kadawatha OCH second stage

The second stage of the Outer Circular Highway (OCH) from Kaduwela to Kadawatha will be ceremonially opened by President Maithripala Sirisena next week.

The 8.9 kilometre Kaduwela – Kadawatha stretch of the OCH was constructed to connect the Southern Expressway, the Katunayake-Colombo Expressway and Colombo-Kandy or Colombo-Northern Expressway, to enable motorists using these roads to bypass Colombo to reach their destinations.

Construction of the second phase of the OCH from Kaduwela to Kadawatha began in 2012 at an estimated cost of Rs. 49 billion. The cost included, construction of five overpass bridges and the 250 metre long 6-lane bridge over the Kelani River.

The four-lane Expressway will have three toll office buildings and six toll plazas. This enables motorists to reach Matara from Kadawatha within one and half hours.

The OCH would provide alternate means for the public to reach their destinations without having to travel to Colombo, which could be time-consuming for motorists.

The construction of the OCH had been carried out in three phases.

The length of the OCH will be around 29.1 km starting from Kottawa and ending at Kerawalapitiya, providing an orbital beltway to bypass the city of Colombo and reduce traffic congestion.

The total estimated cost of the project is Rs.136 billion. The first section from Kottawa to Kaduwela was initiated in December 2009 and commissioned last year.

Construction work on the third phase of the OCH from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya, is also progressing successfully.

The OCH was developed as a four-lane Highway with provision for future expansion to six-lanes. The designed speed of the Highway is 100 kmph.

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Sri Lanka Tourism presents ‘Live Trinco’

  • 513 rooms already sold out
  • Homestays and camping encouraged
  • Rave party, water sports, whale watching
  • BBQ with DJs from Switzerland and Germany


The 530 rooms around Trinco and Nilaveli are already booked but camping is allowed

Trincomalee, the beautiful city located in the east coast of the island with its unspoiled beaches, historical sites and the unique hot springs will come alive this weekend starting from 31July Friday to 2 August Sunday with ‘Live Trinco’.

‘Live Trinco’ featuring vibrant music for a unstoppable rave party with international DJs, the typical watersports of Trinco extending to Nilaveli, is linked to the exotic world festival of arts, literature and music and comes to the shores of Sri Lanka in the backdrop of tourism arrivals crossing 830,000 in the first half of the year. This was at a growth rate of 14.6% driven by online dot com companies, fetching $1.3 billion dollars.

The three-day festival presented by Sri Lanka Tourism and Ceylon Four Winds together with strategic sponsors will stage an exciting array of fulfilling experiences in various locations of Trinco,shining a spotlight on the unexplored treasures of beauty, culture and heritage of this city.  The event will revolve around arts, exploringphotography, literature, music, wildlife and conservation, whilstcreating a platform for local talent and engaging international personalities in varied spheres, said Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Dr. Rohantha Athukorala

A back-to-back agenda is planned for this event starting from 31 July and the formal sessions come to a close on 2August.  From wildlife photographic exhibitions, storytelling, water sports, whale watching and BBQs to a rave of stomping, catchy melodies and spherical harmonies of DJs from Germany and Switzerland, ‘Live Trinco’ is expected to be a one-of-a-kind experience for any visitor, local or foreign,” said Athukorala, giving tribute to the strong team that put the event together. This event has already out sold even before its commencement as all 26 registered resorts and hotels are full on occupancy (513 rooms) on the said dates, given the seasonal traffic combined with the event, however home stays and camping are encouraged to give adventure to the youngsters of the city.

Sri Lanka Tourism is excited to be a part of this event as it showcases the multifaceted island as a desirable tourist destination to the potential adventurous traveller and the music-loving youth. This event makes Sri Lanka a hip destination for new age music, contemporary arts and adventure, but most importantly it encourages and contributes towards the community development and wildlife conservation efforts of the area.

“Sri Lanka Tourism is featuring National Geographic personality, creative conservationist Asha Jayto highlight the wildlife conservation aspect of this festival andcombine visits by selected foreign journalists to promote the various activities during the festival in our key markets,” said Athukorala. The very popular musical personalities involved in the rave and beach fest will also create a social media following for Sri Lanka through their Facebook and Twitter fans.

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Boost for Ceylon Tea at World Expo 2015 in Milan

BUP_DFT_DFT-1-18Ceylon Tea recently received a much-needed boost in front of a capacity crowd at the Sri Lanka pavilion at World Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy.  The Expo Milan 201 5 which had its inauguration with much pomp and pageantry on 1 May boasted of 2.7 million visitors during the first month, which was estimated to have easily exceeded three million visitors in the second month (June).  While 70% of the visitors are from Italy itself, the organisers are predicting a total attendance of close to 20 million people by end of the six-month period on 31 October. A capacity crowd of over four million visitors each month is expected to join the Expo during the last two months of September and October.

The Sri Lanka Pavilion was located in the ‘Fruits & Lagoon’ cluster and the Sri Lanka Tea Board combined effectively with the Export Development Board and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau to give a significant fillip for Ceylon Tea at this global platform which had exhibition booths from 141 countries covering all five continents. The distribution company of the gourmet Ceylon Tea brand Mlesna in Italy Vicentini gave the much-needed logistic support at this promotional event catapulting the ‘national brand’ to an apex with a typical Sri Lankan atmosphere.

The ‘Sri Lanka Tea Day’ at Expo Milano 2015 commenced with a liquid tea tasting and sampling session in the morning where three types of Ceylon iced teas namely sour sap flavoured tea, mango flavoured tea and a straight black tea which was distributed to the visitors. Ceylon iced teas were enjoyed and appreciated by the visitors to the Sri Lanka pavilion.  The grand finale was kept for the afternoon session which opened with a mesmerising Kandyan style dance by a Sri Lankan troupe. While the members of the media were invited in advance and separate seating was arranged, the public were escorted by the dance group through a typical Sri Lankan performance.  The keynote presentation at ‘Precious Tea Moments’ was made by Hasitha de Alwis, Director (Promotion) Middle East, Gulf and North Africa of the Sri Lanka Tea Board based in Dubai. While the veteran speaker took the audience through a journey dubbed ‘A Mystery of Ceylon Tea,’ explaining the Sri Lanka tea industry in brief, he drew attention of the participants to an exciting practical session under the theme ‘Diversity in Specialty’.

In that workshop, the audience were served with seven major agro-climatic regional teas of Nuwara Eliya, Uda Pussellawa, Uva, Dimbula, Kandy, Sabaragamuwa and Ruhuna. In the midst of savouring each tea, the speaker explained the unique characteristics of each region to the audience. The practical session was well enjoyed by the participants.  After another excellent performance by the troupe which displayed a tea plucker dance most compatible for the occasion, the opportunity was given to Valeria Vicentini, the agent/distributor of Mlesna Tea, to take the stage and explain the strength and positives of their brand which consists of 100% pure Ceylon Tea.

A question and answer session followed, giving the participants an opportunity to submit all their queries and receive clarification. The Sri Lankan dancing troupe came back to thrill the audience and give them sweet memories of the ‘Wonder of Asia’ and the world-renowned golden brew. The promotion done for Ceylon Tea at Expo Milano 2015 was considered an instantaneous success.

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A tasty feast for the senses: Thai Cuisine Boulevard opens on Queen’s Road


For over 30 years Tasty Caterers has set the standard for delectable, innovative and reliable dining in Sri Lanka. This month, the industry heavyweight will reopen the doors to an old favourite on Queen’s Road under a new guise; say hello to Thai Cuisine Boulevard, expressly designed for an authentic Thai dining experience in the heart of Colombo.
Thai Cuisine Boulevard takes over from The Boulevard, which served fusion cuisine to discerning foodies in the city. The revamped Boulevard serves as the perfect venue for the dining experience that Thai Cuisine Boulevard will offer – sophisticated, innovative and undeniably authentic.
Thai Chef ‘Mama’ popularly known in Colombo’s culinary inner circles and amongst aficionados of Thai cuisine in the city, fronts the restaurant as Head Chef. Utilising specialty ingredients sourced directly from Thailand, Chef ‘Mama’ and her team have devised an elegant menu that includes classics such as Phad Thai, green and red curry and Tom Yum interspersed with dishes such as Thai-style satay, yellow crab curry and king coconut soup.
The restaurant’s interiors, with décor and artefacts sourced from Thailand, were designed by Architect Philip Weeraratne of PW Architects and reflect a contemporary and quietly stylish design ethic. Thai Cuisine Boulevard offers indoor and outdoor seating for up to 100 guests at a time, ideal for large gatherings and events. Guests may enjoy the contemporary Thai ambience indoors or step outside to dine al fresco under the stars, attended to by experienced and thoughtful staff. The restaurant also offers two private dining areas for those wishing for a more intimate dining experience and a waiting lounge that will serve refreshments as diners await their order or tables.
A separate unit based at the restaurant will offer take-away between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., with ‘Tasty’ specialties such as hoppers, kottu and Mongolian available from 4 p.m. Regular Boulevard patrons won’t be disappointed, for the in-house restaurant menu will offer a choice selection from the old fusion menu.
“We’re very excited to open Thai Cuisine Boulevard,” observed Tasty Caterers Founder Kanthi Jayamaha. “Thai cuisine is so popular in Sri Lanka and we’re lucky to have one of Colombo’s most coveted chefs heading our team. I’m also pleased that the restaurant retains something of the old Boulevard charm but with a strong contemporary oriental design.”
Already a popular restaurant choice in Colombo, is it recommended to make a prior reservation by contacting Thai Cuisine Boulevard on +9411 2 055 425.
Over the years, Tasty Caterers has grown to be an instantly recognisable and trusted caterer in Sri Lanka. Reputed for its outdoor catering services encompassing a variety of cuisines such as International, Fusion, BBQ, Mongolian, Oriental, and Sri Lankan, the team is equipped to cater for weddings, cocktail parties, children’s parties, and even small gatherings.
With some of Colombo’s favourite restaurants – such as the Café on the 5th, Crossroads, La Rambla and the trusty Tasty outlet on Fife Road under its belt, Tasty is perfectly poised to venture into experimenting with cuisines beloved by many a Sri Lankan.

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Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Kandalama excel at Culinary Awards

Sri Lanka’s premier beach resort Heritance Ahungalla, emerged as the Most Outstanding Hotel Team in Sri Lanka for the third consecutive time after competing against 2500 participants from both international and domestic star-class city and resort hotels at the 16th Culinary Art Competition which concluded recently.

Heritance Hotels dominated the competition with Heritance Kandalama being adjudged the Best Culinary Team and Most Outstanding Regional Team at the competition.

Organized by the Chefs Guild of Sri Lanka, the culinary competition is part of the industry’s largest food and trade exhibition. Thirty judges from the World Association of Chefs Societies (WAS) officiated at the event. WAS consists of over 10 million chef members from over 91 countries.

Maintaining its reputation for offering the best cuisine in the country, Aitken Spence Hotels won 113 medals i ncluding 28 Gold medals which included 5 Excellence Gold medals and the prestigious award for the Most Culinary Team in Sri Lanka.

There were 24 categories for the medals and the Aitken Spence Hotels medal tally displayed the sheer dominance the resort chain’s chefs had over its competitors in the field. Chef Lalith Gunasekera, Consultant Chef/General Manager, Aitken Spence Hotels and Heritance Hotels who led the team along with Chef R J Hassim, Corporate Chef, Aitken Spence Hotels and Heritance Hotels and Chef Kasun Premachandra, Executive Chef, Heritance Ahungalla whose continuous training and motivation guided the participants, were jubilant along with the teams from Aitken Spence Hotels who collectively won 13 special awards out of a total of 29 special awards.

The special awards included the following: Best Pastry Chef – Chef Jagath Wjesundara, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Bartender Mixologist & Best Beer CocktailMr. Praveen Sampath Fernando, Heritance Ahungalla, Most Outstanding Apprentice – Chef M R D Fernando, Heritance Kandalama, Most Outstanding Artistic Show Piece – Chef Anil Gunawardane, Heritance Kandalama, Best Plated Appetizer – Chef Manoj Peiris, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Dessert Apprentice – Chef Kaveendra Heshan Balathanthri, Heritance Ahungalla, Best 5 Course Dinner – Chef H H K D Dayananda, Heritance Ahungalla, Best Mocktail – Lasitha Lakmini, Heritance Ahungalla, Best High Tea – Mandakini & Dharmasena, Heritance Kandalama, Best Cu l i n a r y Te a m and Most Outstanding Regional Team – Heritance Kandalama, Most Outstanding Hotel – Heritance Ahungalla.

“We constantly strive t o be the best and are firm believers of ensuring that our future generation is provided with the knowledge required to take on the baton when required”, said Gemunu Goonewardene, Director/ Consultant, Aitken Spence Hotels.

“Receiving recognition as the Best Culinary Team is yet another endorsement of our continuous yearn to achieve greater standards. The loyalty, dedication, commitment and teamwork has made this achievement possible and I would like to congratulate the teams on their achievement.” said Chethiya Perera, Joint Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels.

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Govt. signs agreement with Google

The whole of Sri Lanka will be converted into a Wi-Fi zone by March next year providing internet access to those living in all parts of the country through an agreement signed between Global IT giant Google and the Sri Lankan Government at Temple Trees yesterday. The technology has become available through a simple beginning where the State Minister for Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene had a conversation with Chamath Palihapitiya a former Facebook Senior Executive and founder of the investment firm, The Social+Capital Partnership. During the conversation the latter had talked of the latest technology that had been introduced by Google. Later Mr. Palihapitiya together with Mr. Wijewardene, and several other deputy ministers and state ministers including Dr. Harsha De Silva, Eran Wickramaratne and Ajith P Perera had met President Maithripala Sirisena to brief him on the new technology. With the President’s instant approval, the proposal was on the fast track to becoming a reality. It did become a reality yesterday with the signing of an agreement between the Government and The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) Google. Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samarawera who made the keynote address pointed out that from time immemorial Sri Lanka had been connected to the world. Located at the centre of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka’s strategic position straddles the main East-West trade route. However, the same could not be said of modern Sri Lanka and pointed out that there was a single criterion for securing a simple landline connection. Patience. After filling reams of paperwork and running from office to office, one would have to wait for months and years before a telephone line materialized,” he recalled.

Google Vice President Mike Cassidy and Information and Communication Technology Agency CEO Muhuthan Canagay are seen signing the agreement to introduce Raven Aerocstar balloon technology through which the entire country will be made a Wi-Fi zone. Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva and State Ministers Eran Wickramaratne and Ruwan Wijewardene were present at the signing. PIC BY PRADEEP DILRUKSHANA

Sinhala and Tamil journalists can now use Google translated to read each other’s articles in the next few years, simultaneous voice translation between Sinhala and Tamil via smartphones will be the norm

But he said connectivity is not only about engaging with the world. “It can also connect Sri Lankans to each other and to their government. Sinhala and Tamil journalists can now use Google translated to read each other’s articles in the next few years, simultaneous voice translation between Sinhala and Tamil via smartphones will be the norm. Also, to combat corruption and make government services more accessible to citizens, we plan on placing as many government facilities as possible online,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said

State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said this technology would help boost the country’s disproportionate economic growth. Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva who explained the technology said the balloons would be like a bunch of cell towers floating in the air. State Minister Eran Wickramartne said it was essential that the new technology be available to all at an affordable price.

Google Vice President Mike Cassidy said his company’s focus was to connect more people via internet. He said four billion people are still without internet. ICTA CEO Muhuthan Canagay said the new technology would help inter-connect 3500 government institutions which would ultimately create a cross-government platform and would make them paperless. He said focus would be made on introducing privacy laws.

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Sri Lanka Tourism welcomes 1st Sri Lankan Global Rotary President


In the backdrop of tourism visitor arrivals growing by 14.6% as at half year with overall earnings crossing $ 1.3 billion dollars and Colombo City ranked as the highest growth city by Master Card Traveller, Sri Lanka Tourism welcomes one of the top ambassadors for Sri Lanka, Global President of Rotary International K. Ravindran. Ravi takes helm in one of the most powerful service organisations of the world which incidentally has permanent observer status at the United Nations at a decisive time for brand Sri Lanka, when the brand value will exceed the GDP of the country crossing an estimated $ 80 billion, said Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Dr. Rohantha Athukorala, who is also the Commissioner General for Sri Lanka at World Expo 2015.

When a nation’s brand value increases, it has higher potential to attract better quality tourists, stronger export markets and higher value investments as per the latest research insights, Athukorala noted. “We are honoured to welcome the first Sri Lanka Global Rotary President. In each of the countries he visits, at every meeting, the Sri Lankan National Anthem will be sung and National Flag will be raised, which is one of the best top-of-the-mind brand recalls that can be instilled given that the last research done on Sri Lanka shows global awareness at 4%,” said Athukorala.

“We need build the brand equity of Sri Lanka tourism on this platform, culminating in the South Korean finale, which is the annual conference of Rotary where Rotarian Ravi will hand over the reins,” he said.  Sri Lanka is targeting 100,000 visitors from South Korea in the next year, given the strong thrust in play, which will also include attracting investments from the super power ASEAN economy that boasts 14 million outbound visitors last year.

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