Archive for May, 2015

Five Aitken Spence Hotels enter TripAdvisor Hall of Fame

Five Aitken Spence properties from Sri Lanka and the Maldives have entered the prestigious TripAdvisor Hall of Fame having being recognised for its consistent high performance in customer reviews.
The world’s largest travel site recognised Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Prestige Water Villas, Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, Heritance Kandalama and Heritance Tea Factory for obtaining the Certificate of Excellence for the fifth consecutive year.
Nine Aitken Spence Resorts received the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. The Certificate of Excellence is awarded to properties that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on the travel review site.
In addition to the hotels recognised in the Hall of Fame, Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi, Adaaran Club Rannalhi, Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara were awarded Certificates of Excellence for its ability to continuously deliver on a superior customer service experience.

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“We have always strived for excellence and have nurtured a reputation of exceeding guest expectations. The recognition received by the resorts bear testimony to the exceptional service and memorable experiences that guests receive from our iconic properties. I would like to congratulate the resorts on their achievement and encourage them to maintain the standards set and continue to exceed expectations,” said Susith Jayawickrama, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotels.
TripAdvisor enables travellers to plan and book the perfect trip and offers advice from millions of travellers and a wide variety of travel choices. The site’s potential reach is 340 million unique monthly visitors and more than 225 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4.9 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions.
Aitken Spence Hotels manage a portfolio of hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman. Its premier brand in Sri Lanka, Heritance Hotels & Resorts, operates a portfolio of five unique properties in scenic locations across the island while its award winning properties in the Maldives operate under the brand Adaaran Resorts.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/425103/Five-Aitken-Spence-Hotels-enter-TripAdvisor-Hall-of-Fame

Aitken Spence PAT up 6.6% to Rs. 4.9 b in FY 15

Blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC yesterday announced its profit after tax in the financial year ended on 31 March 2015 has increased by 6.6% to Rs. 4.9 billion.
Profit before tax amounted to Rs. 5.7 billion a growth of 4.9% over the previous year. The diversified Group’s annual revenue rose a marginal 0.7 percent to Rs. 35.3 billion whilst earnings per share declined by 2.5% to Rs. 8.82 for the financial year.
“Although this year has been a difficult year in terms of performance, it must be noted that while riding the wave of external challenges, we have turned inwards to strengthen ourselves to reap the opportunities of the future. We are thus optimistic about the future growth of the Company,” said Aitken Spence PLC’s Chairman Deshamanya D.H.S. Jayawardena.
“Aitken Spence has recorded another year of resilient performance. Diversification held the Group in good stead in 2014/15, to grow amidst challenging global economic conditions and intense competition,” Aitken Spence Deputy Chairman and Managing Director J.M.S. Brito said.
The revenue of the tourism sector for the financial year grew by 5.1% to Rs. 17.8 billion whilst recording a profit before tax of Rs. 4.2 billion and a profit after tax of Rs. 3.7 billion, a decline of 2.2% and 1.2% respectively, for the year.
The decline in tourism sector bottom line was mainly due to the decline in profits from hotels in Sri Lanka and overseas which was primarily attributable to the adverse impacts of the global political and economic climate. The company owns and manages a chain of hotels in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India.
The Group’s destination management segment performed remarkably well. Aitken Spence Travels is Sri Lanka’s largest destination management company which during 2014/15, became the first and only company to handle 100,000 tourists to the country within a financial year.
“The coming year will be an exciting one for the sector, as we add Heritance Negombo to our portfolio and also expand capacity at The Sands, Kalutara by 91 rooms. Construction of the RIU Hotel in Ahungalla is well on target and we are excited by the possibilities offered by our partnership with RIU, and its parent company TUI,” added Brito.
Annual revenue for the Maritime Logistics sector increased by 3.9% to Rs. 7.7 billion whilst profits before tax increased by 4.3% to Rs. 735 million and profit after tax increased by 8.1% to Rs. 614 million. The Maritime and Logistic sector experienced weaker performances from the freight forwarding and the logistics segments whilst overseas investments performed well.
Strategic Investments sector’s profits surged during the year, with profit before tax swelling by 207% and profit after tax rising by 341% to Rs. 613 million and Rs. 509 million respectively. However, the sector reported a year-on-year decrease of 6.4% in revenue to Rs. 15.2 billion mainly due to the reduction in revenue from the power segment. The sector’s printing and garments segments have reported exceptional performances.
The Company expanded the garment sector’s production capacity by up to 40% during the period under review, by commissioning a new environment-friendly production facility in Koggala. The plant was built in four months and will create 750 jobs once in full operation.
The Plantations segment reported outstanding results driven by an efficient diversification initiative. The Power generation segment also showed an increase in profits compared to the previous year due to the sale of two idling power plants which resulted in a lower cost of maintenance.
Services sector reported a revenue of Rs. 1.1 billion for the financial year which was a growth of 15.1%. The sector’s profit before tax stood at Rs 132 million, a decline of 38% compared to the previous year. Profit after tax reported a drop of 52% to Rs. 83 million.
Except for insurance, elevators and property businesses, the other segments within the sector recorded disappointing performances. The relatively nascent information technology segment accounted for a significant share of the losses in this sector. The company has addressed the poor performance by restructuring the company, which is expected to lead to a better performance in the next financial year
With a history spanning 150 years, Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s leading and most respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South Pacific. Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983, it is an industry leader in hotels, travel, maritime services, logistics, power generation and printing, with a significant presence in plantations, apparel, financial services, insurance and information technology.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/425303/Aitken-Spence-PAT-up-6-6–to-Rs–4-9-b-in-FY-15

Tourism revenue targets US$ 3 billion

Sri Lanka expects a revenue target of more than US$ 3 billion from tourism in 2015.

This is with the anticipation of 1.5 million to 1.8 million tourist arrivals this year, tourist industry sources said.

Tourism the fourth largest foreign exchange revenue earner for the country, touched the US$2.5 billion revenue mark in 2014. In addition the industry also for the first time in history passed the 1.5 million tourist arrivals for 2014 recording 1,527,153. This is a 19.8 percent increase as against the previous year of 1,274,593 during 2013, industry sources said.

Tourism Minister Naveen Dissanayake said at the inaugural ceremony of the 10th Hotel Show Colombo 2015 that this year they are expecting more than 1.5 million to 1.8 million tourist arrivals because a lot of countries have confidence in the government.

“We are now working closely with tourist industry sector persons and its stakeholders to ensure good practices for the sector. Therefore tourist industry sector persons and other stakeholders take decisions in consultation with each other for the benefit for the industry,”Minister Dissanayake said.

Source : http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=business/tourism-revenue-targets-us-3-billion#sthash.3U8dw7qm.dpuf

Shangri-La launches ‘One Galle Face’ upscale contemporary collaboration

  • Opens floor for potential investors from today
  • Targets foreign investors, expatriates and expanding class of influential Sri Lankans
  • Commends support extended by all stakeholders

 

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By Charumini de Silva

Hong Kong-based leisure group Shangri-La Hotels and Resort yesterday confirmed that One Galle Face, the upscale contemporary collaboration of Shangri La Hotel, Residences, Office and Retail project, will be completed by 2018 with a total investment of $ 608 million.
The Residences at One Galle Face consists of twin tower 50-floors and is tailor-made for discerning investors with 406 residential units and 16 penthouses, offering eight duplex and eight simplex units. The minimum price of a square foot is marked at $405, targeting foreign investors, expatriates and the expanding class of influential Sri Lankans.
The project is also strengthened by a bullish property market that has maintained consistent growth for years.
“Already a few apartments have been sold internally to the owners, while it will open to the public from today. There has been a great response from the time of the advertisements. Yesterday itself we received more than 200 inquiries from potential customers,” a company official said.
Commenting on the business environment in Sri Lanka, he said that the company had been working smoothly in Sri Lanka since its entry and commended the support extended by all stakeholders.
Each apartment is wrapped with lush landscaping and tastefully decorated with tranquil interiors. There are two bedroom units (1,727 sqft), three bedroom units (2,260 sqft), four bedroom units (2,760 sqft) and four bedroom deluxe (3,555 sqft). Combining convenience with class, a supermarket and cinema, world-class shopping, dining, parking space for over 700 vehicles are also available.
Redefining Colombo’s skyline and its living spaces with the luxurious and exclusive residences, the multinational luxury hotel group would bring its expertise and flawless execution to One Galle Face.
An international grade A office tower is another dimension of the One Galle Face real estate development aimed at providing corporate clients the best Colombo has to offer in one perfect package of efficiency and elegance.
“We are pleased to offer this incredible opportunity to be part of an iconic development project that will redefine cosmopolitan living in Colombo. Shangri-La is a company celebrated the world over its unique lifestyle spaces that merge all the different aspects of comfort living flawlessly. We are very excited to launch this project in a city as vibrant as Colombo, especially given its impressive tourism growth potential,” said Neluka de Alwis Head of Sales and Marketing (Residential).

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/424327/Shangri-La-launches-%E2%80%98One-Galle-Face%E2%80%99-upscale-contemporary-collaboration#sthash.L47eFzM1.dpuf

Sri Lanka shines at largest MICE fair in Frankfurt

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In pursuing the tourism policy of attracting high end clients, emphasised by the Tourism Minister Naveen Dissanayake, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau is currently taking part at the IMEX MICE travel fair in Frankfurt which is identified as the most effective promotional event for MICE especially for incentive travel.

The largest MICE travel fair in the world opened on 19 May in Frankfurt recording the highest number of stands exceeding 3,500 exhibiting companies representing over 150 countries at Messe Frankfurt from 19 to 21 May.  With over thousands of hosted buyers from all over the world, demand from buyers to attend the show from across the world has never been higher. Hosted buyer attendance from long-haul markets including Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa is forecast to be particularly strong alongside the thousands of buyers due to attend from Europe and Germany.

Sri Lanka pavilion was placed in a strategic location in the Asia section attracting a quest for a number of inquiries in addition to the pre scheduled appointments which is key feature at IMEX. Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) which led the Sri Lankan MICE industry was seen busy handling all appointments with buyers. The press conference on Sri Lanka is also scheduled during the event.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/423165/Sri-Lanka-shines-at-largest-MICE-fair-in-Frankfurt

14,270 visitors experience Sri Lankan treasures: Expo 2015

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“World Expo is hosted every five years from a different country, the aim being to promote industrial and technological progress worldwide. It attracted 14,270 visitors as at 16 May where the treasures of Sri Lanka have been experienced leading to new partnership between Sri Lanka and the world,” said Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala.

The Sri Lanka pavilion is unique with the top seven institutions of Sri Lanka under one roof that includes EDB, BOI, Tea Board, Sri Lankan, Craft Council, National Gem and Jewellery and Sri Lanka Tourism branded One Island: Thousand Treasures.
“The first month dedicated to tourism led to the Minister of Tourism and Sports visiting the Expo 2015 exposition that resulted in a 1.3 million business secured for Sri Lanka by way of 8,000 visitors charter established with a lifestyle vacation destination company that gave Sri Lanka a head start with the total cost covered and the positive cash flow of Rs. 96 million coming into the country in the first year of operation. We are working on an ROI based investment strategy,” said Athukorala. Each of the institution’s chairmen and ministers will attend Expo 2015 in the next five months.

‘Ceylon Tea’: The world finest ethically produced tea

Ceylon Tea has been prized for its unique flavour, colour, strength and character, which cannot be readily found elsewhere. The humidity, cool temperatures, sunshine and rainfall (two monsoons) in the country’s central and southern highlands are conducive to the manufacture of unique quality teas. Tea plantations are scenic and pristine. Tea is grown, handpicked and processed in an artisanal process, unchanged for over a century.

Sri Lanka is one of the quality orthodox tea producers and suppliers to the EU region by complying with the quality parameters, food safety requirements and MRL stipulated by EU. The Sri Lanka Tea Board along with the Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka facilitates all manufacturers of tea in Sri Lanka to comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to ensure an end product of high quality made tea to the consumers.

Ceylon Tea is reputed as the ‘cleanest tea in the world’ in respect of pesticide residues due to these stringent controls. When you reach for a cup of Ceylon Tea, you’re not just refreshing yourself; you’re also helping refresh and renew an environmental resource critically important to all life on earth.

The sapphire capital of the world

The legacy continues, as Sri Lanka still holds the crown for producing world class gemstones. Welcome to the ‘Rathna Dveepaya’ or the ‘Gemmed Island’; and be mesmerised by the beauties unearthed every day.

Sri Lanka is blessed with over 70 varieties of coloured stones out of 200 found in the world and is among the five most important gem-bearing nations of the world. Notably, Sri Lanka’s major strength is the ‘Ceylon Sapphire’. The country’s breath-taking natural heritage comprises of varieties of gem minerals, which includes: blue, pink, yellow and golden sapphires, star sapphires, rubies, star rubies, Alexandrites, cat’s eyes, spinels, aquamarines, topaz, zircons, garnets, moonstones, quartz and many more.

The ethical sourcing destination for apparel in the world

The ethos of Sri Lanka Apparel epitomises the synergy between ethical brands and apparel made in Sri Lanka. ‘Children have no business in our business’ is just one of the principles governing this industry ethos. Our ethical sourcing and sustainable development practices aim to empower women and support their communities through poverty alleviation and offering opportunities for education and personal growth. With the development of sustainable eco-friendly solutions to apparel manufacturing, we have endeavoured to make the ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ label synonymous with quality, reliability and social and environmental accountability.
A supermodel shows off Victoria’s Secret’s latest line backed by design excellence; an Olympic swimmer cuts through the water, his evolved Speedo swimwear taking him closer to gold and glory; a six month-old baby grins as she tugs on her, comfy Baby Gap t-shirt with a look that screams ‘Picture, please!’. Sri Lanka clothes the world, redefines industry frontiers, and connects global super brands such as Victoria’s Secret, GAP, Liz Claiborne, Next, Jones New York, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Pink, Triumph, Ann Taylor, Speedo, Abercrombie & Fitch, Land’s End, Marks & Spencer, and Intimmissimi.

The finest Ceylon Cinnamon in the world 

Cinnamon is the most important spice commodity among the spice sector. People in ancient Sri Lanka used cinnamon for many purposes such as, medicine, spice, perfumery material and soft drink. At present the cinnamon is widely used in bakery products, pharmaceutical preparations and cosmetics worldwide. Cinnamon exports in primary form as well as in the value added form such as cut pieces, powder form and crushed form. Cinnamon is considered as a unique product exporting from Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is the world largest producer and exporter of Cinnamon to the world. Cinnamon has originated in Sri Lanka and it has unique characteristics, which can be branded under GI protection. Accordingly Ceylon Cinnamon introduced to the international market as a branded product namely ‘Pure Ceylon Cinnamon’ which reflects a combination of several intrinsic characteristics of Cinamomum Zylanicum.

Tourism: 8 wonderful experiences in 8 wonderful days 

Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean offers palm fringed beaches, cool climate, misty mountains, an array of waterfalls, beautiful tea gardens, historic temples and cities, sight of mighty elephants, stealthy leopards and giant blur whales. Also experience the Sri Lankan hospitality, the pristine, heritage, thrills, wild, bliss, scenic, essence and festive wonders.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/423411/14-270-visitors-experience-Sri-Lankan-treasures:-Expo-2015

Sri Lanka should be converted into Ayurvedic medical centre serving the world: Amunugama

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 Sri Lanka should be converted into an Ayurvedic medical services centre that renders services to the world.  The required background in this regard is available in Sri Lanka, stated Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Higher Education and Research.

“In the present world an extraordinary attention is drawn to the alternative medical approaches. We should take proper advantages from this opportunity. Our syllabuses should be updated in line with the updating of international syllabuses. Then it would be not an issue to compete with the world,” he stated at the meeting held at the Minister’s Office awarding the appointment letters of the newly-appointed Board of Management of the Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurveda Institute.

The Minister further stated: “We believe that the number of tourists that exceeds 2.5 million at present would be increased more than the country’s population in the future. Today, in Singapore, too, there are more tourists than the population. Increasing tourists that visit the country is a very favourable factor for the development of the country. The service that can be provided for the tourists through Ayurvedic medicine is enormous. Tourists are very keen on this. In India, this method is developing rapidly.  With that, we too can develop this sector.

“The best and the only remedy for this is to expand the education and the updating of syllabuses. Further, I believe that the students who are studying this subject should be equipped with knowledge on Sanskrit language; especially Ayurvedic teaching texts such as Indian Charaka Samhita are written in Sanskrit language. Similarly, I propose that the Ayurvedic experts with traditional specialist knowledge should be assigned to the teaching activities of the children.

“Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurveda Institute, which was founded by Pandit G.P. Wickramarachchi with his unobstructed courage, need, and dedication, has become a degree awarding institute, today. On the way forward to make Sri Lanka the hub of Ayurvedic medicine, the minor conflicts of opinion and issues between individuals and institutes should be forgotten. It should not be forgotten that our final objective is to do something good on behalf of the country and the world.

“I can remember that in the early days too, there was a discussion among some Ayurvedic medical practitioners as ‘mishra’ and ‘amishra’ (mixed and non-mixed). On that situation, Dr. Lenora, with an unobstructed effort, paved the way to give opportunities to 200 doctors to earn the degree at Kolkata in India. I would like to recall that incident as a great sacrifice at that moment. Whether to use the stethoscope and other instruments or not should not be an issue to worry about. You can come into agreements, made conclusions and decisions in this regard. The final objective should be to convert our country into an international centre of Ayurvedic medicine.”

The gathering included Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Research, Piyasena Ranepura, Secretary to the Ministry, and Prof. Mohan De Silva, Chairman University Grants Commission.
Appointees included Dr. Buddhika Liyanage, Prof. S.G. Ranasinghe, Dr. Tharaka Prasad Hendawitharana, Prof. L.R. Jayasekara, Vinayakantha Wickramaarachchi, C. Maliyadda and R.K. Ranaweera.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/423567/Sri-Lanka-should-be-converted-into-Ayurvedic-medical-centre-serving-the-world:-Amunugama