Archive for March, 2014

First ever skydiving venture to be launched

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera


Sky Club Ltd, Sri Lanka’s first institution for sky sports, will launch ‘Tandem Parachuting’ which allows ‘adrenalin’ and adventure seeker enthusiasts to experience the thrill of freefall skydiving.

“We plan to launch this in two months,” Suren De Silva, Founder and Director of Sky Club told the Business Times.

Skydiving as a sport is available only in a few countries, due to the level of expertise, experienced personal and year around weather patterns required. Mr. De Silva said that they have on board four of Sri Lanka’s most experienced skydivers/jump masters, possessing the expertise to provide an unparallel, thrilling opportunity to adventure and thrill seekers.


He added that they will also start training towards a United States Parachute Association (USPA) Skydiving License which teaches new jumpers the skills needed to obtain their first skydiving license. A new sky diver can earn the USPA A license in as few as 25 jumps, and most do, he said.

“Our training programme follows the USPA Integrated Student Programme step by step. This is an eight-stage programme of instruction meant to build your skills and confidence together as you study and practice freefall skills, open parachute handling skills, safety and reserve parachute procedures, equipment understanding and operation, aircraft procedures and familiarization with skydiving operations, and the rules skydivers follow to keep the sport safe for themselves and others.” Sky Club, according to Mr. De Silva is the first skydiving and para-motoring company in South East Asia.

“Initially we will start operations in Koggala and will take this project to cities such as Sigiriya, Puttalam, Trincomalee and Kalutara,” he added. Motor-powered para-gliding (para-motoring) is the latest in recreational aviation sports which he has pioneered. “We launched this last year in February,” he said, adding that it’s a risk free and is flown by qualified pilots. There are three types of paramotors; the ‘Foot Launch’ – where the pilot straps the motor onto his back; the ‘Solo Trike’ – when the pilot sits in the small aircraft; and the ‘Tandem Trike’ – a two-seater aircraft which carries a pilot and a passenger to give the experience of a ‘discovery flight’”.

Paramotors take off, fly and land with the aid of a parachute, Mr. De Silva said, adding that it can be fun in the sky operated in a very small area and they fly at a low altitude and at a slow speed enabling the passenger an ideal opportunity to experience the beauty of Sri Lanka.

He added that Sri Lanka also proves to be an ideal location for such a venture because the weather plays a significant role in skydiving and paramotoring.

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Hikkaduwa-based hospitality firm to go public; bets high on Japanese tourists

Bansei Royal Resorts Hikkaduwa (Private) Limited (Bansei), a 38-year old hotel located in the Southern coast is to list shares in its entirety on DiriSavi Board of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) by way of an introduction, before end of March.

To this end, the company has submitted an application to list 53.73 million ordinary voting shares for which the CSE has given approval in principle.

As of March 10, 2014, Delmege Group Managing Director and former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Director General Channa De Silva held 51 percent stake in Bansei Royal Resorts, being the single largest shareholder followed by another 39 percent by Japan based Bansei Securities Company Limited.

The majority shares of the Bansei formerly known as Coral Rock Hotel (Private) Limited was earlier held by investor Nimal Perera, immediate past Chairman of Bank of Ceylon Gamini Wickramasinghe and De Silva.

After Wickramasinghe’s divestment of stake to the Japanese entity, the company was re-named as Bansei Royal Resorts Hikkaduwa (Private) Limited with effect from February 28, 2014. However, Perera still holds 1.66 stake of the hotel.

Despite the ownership, the hotel management is carried out by Hayleys Group through Amaya Leisure PLC in a joint agreement entered in for 3-years from December 2011 to December 2014.

While listing of shares by way of an introduction will not bring additional capital, a source closed to the company said raising fresh capital is very much the objective in the second stage.

Bansei is the third company to be listed in the CSE this year after the Initial Public Offerings by Millennium Housing Developers Limited and Alumex Limited.

Meanwhile the company has made an application to the SEC seeking approval to list shares that were allotted within a 12-month period from the date of the initial listing application and also to waive the lock in period for 218 public shareholders.

The SEC has given approval for both requests, subjected to conditions where one such condition is that the company should ensure that the minimum public holding requirement both percentage and the number of shareholders applicable to the DiriSavi Board is for a period of 6 months from the date of listing.

Further the two main shareholders Bansei Securities Company Limited and De Silva have provided an undertaking to the SEC that they would not divest their shareholding to the public for a period of 12 months, subsequent to the date of listing.

During the year ended March 31, 2013 the company’s top line grew by 161 percent Year-on-Year to Rs. Rs.77.6 million while its bottom-line turned a positive Rs. 5.4 million with an earnings per share of Rs.7.43.

The 34-room resort located in prime beach land on the Hikkaduwa strip is betting their future growth on the Japanese tourists and continued positive growth trajectory in the Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.

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Sri Lanka’s first ‘open zoo’ to open in March

Feb 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka Department of National Zoological Gardens says that the island’s first open zoo at Pinnawala will be opened next month.

The first phase of the Pinnawala open zoo in a 48-acre land adjacent to the famous Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Kegalle district will be opened to the public from March 2014.

The Pinnawala Zoological Gardens will consist of two zones – ‘Sri Lankan’ and ‘World’. The first stage, ‘Sri Lankan’ part constructed at a cost of Rs. 577 million will have native animals of Sri Lanka such as deer, leopards and alligators.

The open areas for these animals have already been constructed and the front area of the zoo will be completed in February. The zoo will have a special open section displaying the free-roaming Sri Lankan leopard.

The animals are to be brought to the new Pinnawala Zoo from the Dehiwala Zoo.

The second phase of the project will be constructed to house foreign species.

After long delays, the plan for the open zoo was accelerated when the Ministry of Economic Development took the Department of National Zoological Gardens under the Ministry.

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Sri Lanka Tourism to target more German tourists at ITB

More than 60,000 visitors came to find out about the wide-ranging information on offer from exhibitors and providers of niche market products.

Sri LankaTourism will use ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel show beginning today and ending on Saturday to woo more German tourists to Sri Lanka while SriLankan Airlines will use the event for networking and surging alliances.

The theme of this year’s Sri Lankan stand is nature, culture and adventure and great emphasis will be laid on depicting its culture and also the country’s wildlife. For this a mammoth replica of the entrance to the Yapahuwa Kingdom has been erected at the entrance to the Lankan stall. Sri Lankan Airlines will also host a press conference on day two for the international media. The ITB Berlin is an international media event.

In 2013 about 6,000 journalists attended the world’s largest trade show for the travel industry out of who about 1,500 came from abroad. In addition to the industry’s leading trade magazines, business and travel journalists from 80 countries reported on the latest travel trends and products.

More than 60,000 visitors came to find out about the wide-ranging information on offer from exhibitors and providers of niche market products. For the first time, visitors at the weekend were able to book their tours directly at ITB Berlin. A poll among visitors revealed that one in three intended to book a trip.

ITB Berlin is the leading trade fair for the worldwide travel industry. In 2013 a total of 10,086 companies and organisations from 188 countries exhibited their products and services to 170,000 visitors, who included 110,000 trade visitors.

Subsequently ITB Asia was held in Singapore from October 23 to 25, 2013 at Suntec Singapore. With this three-day trade show and convention ITB Asia provides an ideal platform for the Asian travel market.

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