Archive for March, 2016

Sri Lanka releases aggressive island promotion campaign to attract more French tourists

Untitled-2It is not only the richness of nature, culture, heritage or golden palm beaches that made over 86,000 French travellers visit destination Sri Lanka in 2015. It is more about the authenticity of our nation, warm hospitality and most importantly keeping our soul of tradition that makes Sri Lanka very special for the French visitors.

Sri Lanka Tourism has setup plans to undertake a series of promotional campaigns with a number of prolific French media companies and travel agents in order uplift destination awareness across France. At the beginning of year 2016, several French production companies have visited the island to create number of French TV programs on the Sri Lankan soil.

During the month of February, French TV production company ‘Electron Libre’ has arrived to film a destination promotional program about Sri Lanka as one of the episodes of their ‘Open Skies’ documentary which will be broadcasting via popular mainstream French TV Channels ‘TV5 Monde’ and ‘France 5’. The filming tour went on over 11 days by including various parts of the island including the capital, Ratnapura, Ella, Polonnaruwa, Jaffna, Mannar and Negombo.  The 52 minute documentary has covered nature, culture, landscapes and portrait of the people. A special drone camera has been used to capture astonishing bird eye views of the island and TV5 is expected to offer in detail a description about destination Sri Lanka to their target audience group which will mainly be families. Sri Lanka Tourism together with Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and The Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) has offered the maximum support to this promotional media tour.

In the same month, Shine France Production Company (part of the British Shine Group television production companies), also arrived in Sri Lanka to film the French adoption of popular American televised series called ‘Running Wild’. The original program, which is achieving audience records in the USA, has recently been introduced around the world. For the French adaption of ‘Running Wild’ famous South African Explorer Mike Horn had the task of accompanying celebrity French singer and songwriter Matt Pokora to enjoy an extraordinary experience of adventure and survival.

The program covered the areas of nature, wildlife and authentic luxury accommodation sector in Sri Lanka. The Running Wild France program will be broadcast via the third most watched television network in the global French-speaking world called ‘M6 Channel’. The 110 minute long adventure program with two consecutive episodes on Sri Lanka is due to broadcast in September.

In addition to media coverage Sri Lanka Tourism has taken steps to address the French outbound tourism industry by taking the lead with the supporting arm of Sri Lankan airlines to welcome 20 leading travel agents operating in France during the month of February.

The group consists of some of the global market leaders in tourism business, including TUI-France, Thomas Cook, Kuni France, Nouvelle Frontier. The trade familiarisation program was arranged in collaboration with key associations of the tourism industry and covered established as well as emerging attractions of the island. After the tour, a B2B session was held with over 52 local Destination Management Companies and hoteliers. This has been a great opportunity for Sri Lankan inbound travel agents and other ground handling suppliers to expand the business opportunities within the French market.

As the nation which contributes the third highest tourist arrivals (consecutively, 64,388 arrivals in 2013, 78,883 arrivals in 2014, 86,126 arrivals in 2015) from Western Europe, France, the outbound tourism segment is a very important touch point to Sri Lanka. By recording all time high tourist arrivals at the end of the year 2015 with 1.8 million tourists, Sri Lanka Tourism is expected to surpass a 2.5 million milestone by the end of 2016 with over 103,000 French tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/533885/Sri-Lanka-releases-aggressive-island-promotion-campaign-to-attract-more-French-tourists#sthash.KyZBE6Es.dpuf

Emirates extends online check-in to 48 hours before departure

Below-lead-2-mobile-check-in-SEmirates has extended its online check-in to 48 hours before departure, from 24 hours, effective immediately. Customers around the world can check in online on both desktop and mobile devices from 48 hours to 90 minutes before flight departure.

The increased lead time offers customers greater flexibility in choosing their seats, and reduces waiting times at the airport as they would already have their boarding passes before arriving at the airport. Passengers can then drop their luggage at online check-in counters before heading straight through to immigration and security.  For flights to and from the United States, while online check-in is available 48 hours before departure, boarding passes will only be issued 24 hours in advance.

“We have always taken into account feedback to improve the customer journey and the extension of online check-in is a result of that. By allowing check-in from 48 hours before departure we are providing our customers added flexibility to choose their preferred seats for a more comfortable journey. This is just one of the many initiatives we are implementing to enhance our customers’ experience online,” explained Alex Knigge, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Marketing & Brand (Digital).

The earlier check-in window will also enable more seamless communication with customers should there be unexpected flight delays or disruptions. For members of Emirates Skywards, the airline’s frequent flyer programme, the extended check in time will also mean better availability of upgrades.

In addition to online check-in services, the airline also operates car park check-in facilities around the clock at its hub in Dubai.  Customers can choose to check in and drop their luggage at the car park check-in facilities from 24 hours to six hours prior to departure easing the crowds during peak travel periods. Alternatively, customers travelling out of Dubai can choose to drop their luggage at one of the 46 dedicated bag drop counters in Economy Class or separate counters in First Class and Business Class at Dubai International Airport from six hours to 90 minutes prior to departure. An additional 10 bag drop counters are available in the dedicated USA flight check-in zone. As a result of these initiatives, customers can look forward to shorter queues at the various check in and bag drop points.

The extended check-in window is one of many features on emirates.com that aims to improve the customer experience. Another feature is the recently introduced ‘Hold my fare’ option, which gives customers the opportunity to hold their reservations and lock in competitive Emirates fares for a nominal fee. This feature has now been extended to 72 hours.

Emirates customers can easily plan and manage their flight booking, accommodation and transport rentals on emirates.com.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/533889/Emirates-extends-online-check-in-to-48-hours-before-departure#sthash.MZNMJi71.dpuf

Sri Lanka launches aggressive campaign to attract more French tourists in 2016

At the beginning of year 2016, several French production companies have visited the island to create number of French TV programs on the Sri Lankan soil.

During the month February, French TV production company ‘Electron Libre’ has arrived to film a destination promotional program about Sri Lanka as one of the episodes of their ‘Open Skies’ documentary which will be broadcasting via popular mainstream French TV Channels ‘TV5 Monde’ and ‘France 5’. The filming tour went on over 11 days by including various part of the island including the capital, Rathnapura, Ella, Polonnaruwa, Jaffna, Mannar and Negombo.

The 52 minute documentary has covered Nature, Culture, Landscapes and portrait of the people. Specialdrone camera has been used to capture astonishing bird eye views of the island and TV5 expect to offer in detail description about destination Sri Lanka to their target audience group where mainly will be families.

Sri Lanka Tourism together with Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and The Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) haveoffered the maximum support to this promotional media tour. In the same month, Shine France Production Company (part of the British Shine Group television production companies), also arrived to Sri Lanka to film French adoption of popular American televised series called ‘Running Wild’.

The original program, which is achieving audience records in the USA, has recently been introduced around the world. For the French adaption of ‘Running Wild’ famous South African Explorer Mike Horn had the task of accompanying with celebrity French singer & songwriter Matt Pokorain a part of the Sri Lanka as at the heart of nature to enjoy an extraordinary experience of adventure and survival. The program covered the areas of nature, wildlife and authentic luxury accommodation sector in Sri Lanka.

The Running Wild France program will be broadcast via the third most watched television network in the global French –speaking world called ‘M6 Channel’. The 110 minutes long adventure program with 2 consecutive episodes on Sri Lanka is due to broadcast in September 2016.

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

First Safari Park opens in Hambantota in deep South

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Sri Lanka’s first Safari Park at Ridiyagama in Hambantota in the Southern Province opened Monday (28 March) for the local as well as foreign tourists. The 500-acre park provides an environment for the animals to roam freely within the park.

Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrema Perera accompanied by Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa, Deputy Minister Sumedha Jayasena and Hambantota district parliamentarian Chamal Rajapaksa declared open the park for the public.

The construction work at the first Safari Park in the island started in 2008 under the direction of The National Zoological Department. The park, being built under two phases, covers an expanse of about 500 acres. It also contains a public entertainment zone extending to about 69 acres. Four of the park’s six zones will be reserved for carnivorous animals while the remaining two zones will be set apart for the herbivores. Two zones of the carnivore section will be exclusively reserved for the dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, and leopards. The first phase with the African Lion Zone, Sri Lanka Elephant Zone and World Zone was opened today. The Lions were released to the African Zone Saturday. The animals can move freely in the park.

African, Asian, Australian Zones and a small animal kingdom will be built under the second phase.

A special bus service will be available for the tourists to move around the park. The park consists of all facilities such as animal hospitals, internal road network and vehicle parks. Waste disposal methodologies have been introduced to protect the environment.

The Safari Park constructed at a cost of Rs. 1.6 billion is seen as an avenue to attract more tourists to the island and a boom to the tourism industry.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/533684/First-Safari-Park-opens-in-Hambantota-in-deep-South#sthash.Bbs5tlk2.dpuf

Taban Air charter from Iran visits Sri Lanka

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A charter carrying 180 passengers travelling from Iran to celebrate the annual Norouz festival touched down in Sri Lanka on 18 March. The Taban Air charter was welcomed with water cannon on its maiden flight to Katunayake International Airport following a lapse of five years.

Aitken Spence Travels, the country’s largest tour operator handling over 120,000 pax annually has undertaken the ground operation and itineraries for Iranian holiday-makers travelling in this charter.

The arrival marks the fruition of continuous destination marketing efforts made by Aitken Spence Travels to reintroduce Iranian tourists to Sri Lanka even though the market was down.  Traditionally Iranians take their annual holiday during the Norouz festival which is a nation-wide Iranian celebration just like the Sinhala New Year in Sri Lanka.

Aitken Spence Travels has proactively undertaken initiatives to open up new market segments for destination Sri Lanka having designed attractive tour itineraries centred on heritage, beaches and shopping which appeals most to Iranian travellers. Aitken Spence Travels have successfully created a niche for themselves in this revived market that is creating greater potential for increased arrivals in the future.

“We are really pleased that our marketing efforts and activities have paid off from the Iranian market. Considering that a charter is making its way to Sri Lanka after a lapse of over five years, we believe that this is a market that will grow further. In the eyes of the international travellers, Sri Lanka is a very safe destination to travel to. Today with the peaceful environment prevailing in the country, the destination has diversity to offer a wonderful holiday experience at extremely competitive prices. Aitken Spence Travels has always looked at different markets with the bigger picture in mind and we are happy that our efforts are generating positive results,” commented Aitken Spence Travels Managing Director Nalin Jayasundera.

The group is set to explore the many cultural experiences on offer in the hill capital of Kandy prior to indulging in the luxurious Sri Lankan beaches and making shopping trips in Colombo.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/533678/Taban-Air-charter-from-Iran-visits-Sri-Lanka#sthash.PnM6Hil2.dpuf

Anantaya Chilaw – A luxurious wedding destination

Anantaya Resort and Spa, the luxurious island getaway located along Chilaw’s pristine coast, is now making strides as a popular destination for weddings, attracting guests from around the world.

Within just two years in operations, Anantaya has already become a most sought-after venue for meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) for both local and overseas business travellers. Its popularity as an ideal wedding destination has increased tremendously during the recent year due to the many facilities and services offered for the convenience of couples searching for a romantic island getaway for their weddings. The resort’s pristine location surrounded by breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean and the Chilaw lagoon, has also made it a choice destination for those looking to tie the knot in tropical Sri Lanka.

Among the many overseas couples who have picked Anantaya as their wedding destination, Kanwal Selhi and Abhijit Satwalekar were the most recent to fly in with parents and friends from various parts of the world to hold their wedding ceremony in Sri Lanka amidst the stunning backdrop of Anantaya Chilaw. The Punjabi style wedding of the couple commenced with the Vatna ceremony, followed by the traditional Mehendi ceremony, Prasad and Choora Ceremony and Sangeeth Night, converging exotic music, customs and flavours in a celebration of festivities.

The event culminated with a grand lunch served with traditional and fusion cuisine that combined elements of different culinary traditions served by the master chefs at Anantaya. This was combined with a range of creative and tasteful concoctions offered by the professional mixologists at the resort.

With a stunning location and a dynamic and experienced team led by the Resort Manager Dev George, Anantaya is geared to make any dream wedding a reality, whether it’s a stylish private ceremony or an exotic and extravagant event. With many such overseas clients choosing Anantaya as their wedding destination, the resort has become an ideal luxury venue with tastefully decorated indoor settings and scenic outdoor locations to choose from.

“Getting recognition as a t op international wedding destination is a tremendous achievement for Anantaya Resort and Spa. This is an area mainly dominated by other countries in Asia, although Sri Lanka has so much to offer as a tropical destination, especially for t hose European travellers planning for an exotic wedding,” commented Laugfs Leisure CEO Roshan. R. Perera.

“Anantaya has already been recognized as a top MICE destination in the region and we are proud to further build on our reputation as a luxury destination for weddings,” he added.

Anantaya Resort and Spa, Chilaw, is the first of a chain of resorts under Laugfs Leisure Limited, a subsidiary of Laugfs Gas PLC. The resort offers ‘infinite’ luxury and tranquillity coupled with breathtaking views of the lagoon and sea with 87 spacious, star-class luxury rooms. Having commenced operations in 2014, Anantaya has already been recognized i nternationally with various awards and accolades including the Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice of Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Sri Lanka and the Booking.com 2014 Award of Excellence.

Laugfs is one of the largest diversified business conglomerates and a trusted name in Sri Lanka. Founded in 1995, Laugfs today has expanded across 20 industries, both local and overseas, establishing a strong presence as a leader and pioneer in the power and energy, retail, industrial, services, leisure, logistics and real estate sectors. With over 4,000 employees and an annual turnover exceeding Rs.28 billion, Laugfs continues to expand and empower millions as a trusted Sri Lankan brand.

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

Sri Lanka Tourism holds promo at Sydney Opera House

GIFTED BY DILMAH TEA TOGETHER WITH THE SRI LANKA TOURISM BROCHURES WERE HANDED OUT TO THE PATRONS BY THE STAFF OF THE SYDNEY OPERA

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The Pearl Fishers Opera in Australia is famous amongst many tourists around the world. The Pearl Fishers Opera is famous for the duet which has been performed by many world-renowned opera singers such as Placido Domingo and Andrea Boccelli.

A promotional campaign arranged by Sri Lanka Tourism in collaboration with the Consulate General for Sri Lanka in Sydney was successfully completed at t he Joan Sutherland Theatre of the Sydney Opera House recently during the final performance of the Pearl Fishers Opera, which was played t o a packed house of 1500 patrons.

Thousand packs of Ceylon tea gifted by Dilmah Tea together with the Sri Lanka Tourism brochures were handed out to the patrons by the staff of the Sydney Opera House. The Pearl Fishers teaser was shown on widescreen TVS in the lobbies of the Opera House which too was a great promotion for Sri Lanka as a destination as the backdrop of this opera was of Ceylon and the cast wore colourful saris and costumes of ancient Ceylon.

The Sydney Opera House staff and that of the Consulate General for Sri Lanka in Sydney carried out the promotion with precision. The logistics involved were arduous and the stringent requirements of the Opera House management were met very satisfactorily. The Pearl Fishers Opera will be performed in Melbourne in May 2016.

Australia is a key market for tourism and in the 12 months to December 2015, tourist arrivals were at 57,940 which was a 7 percent increase year-on-year.

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