Archive for June, 2016

Caravanning: A New Approach to Holidaying

Camping out is one of the most exhilarating experiences in life. Moving away from home and having the freedom to live at a picturesque location of choice with nature at the door step is novel and exciting. But of course the wherewithal and amenities for this kind of living should be readily available to transform living outside your home into a comfortable and superlative experience.

The concept of caravan tourism has gained immense popularity across the globe owing to the freedom and flexibility it provides, while holidaying at a low cost. A caravan is an ‘all in one’ vehicle that makes it a unique tourism product and promotes group tours to a variety of destinations regardless of available hotel accommodation.

Go Outdoors Lanka has so far established 16 Caravan parks around the country in collaboration with exotic resorts, luxury villas and private own lands. All caravan parks are located in tourist hot spots and most beautiful, breathtaking scenic locations with easy access to tourist attractions of cultural heritage, beaches, wildlife & hill country. Our Caravan Park offers all required facilities as well as option of number of activities based on the respective location.

Based on the Fiat Ducato 3500 chassis, the Autoroller 746 boasts a spacious 6ft rear u-shaped lounge which is ideal for relaxing as a family after a busy day and can easily convert into a sleeping area in the evenings, with either two singles or a large double bed. To the middle there is a spacious and well equipped galley kitchen and washroom, with separate shower cubicle. A double dinette to the front seats 6 for dining and has 4 belted travelling seats. This area will also transform in the evenings into a double bed. Above the cab you will find a large roof light, which provides invaluable natural light into the vehicle and maybe the opportunity of some star gazing for the final sleeping area, consisting of a generous Luton double bed with plenty of head height and privacy curtain.

The Zefiro 690G offers the best of both worlds with its compact size, just under 7 metres, incredibly spacious external garage space and plenty of living space for up to 6 people. This moderately sized motorhome is the ideal choice for relaxing family holidays and outdoor fun. The well designed galley kitchen is fully fitted with a gas oven/grill, 3 gas hobs and large 150 litre fridge as well as plenty of storage space for all your kitchen essentials. The modern bathroom is opposite the galley kitchen and has a separate shower cubicle Sleeping for 6 people is spread over 2 generous fixed double beds and a dinette which can easily convert to a double bed or large single bed.

Based on the Fiat Ducato chassis, the Zefiro 269p is perfect for couples who are after a little more space and luxury, offering the ultimate layout with a comfortable island bed and generous lounge area. The modern kitchen is fully equipped with all the essentials, including a gas oven/grill, 3 burner hob and large fridge with freezer compartment. The shower and toilet are separated, designed for both practicality and usability. Towards the front of the vehicle is the spacious lounge area, which seats up to 5 comfortably around a central dining table. The dinette table can also be easily converted to a single bed.

 

Partial closure of the Colombo Airport from January to April 2017

The Airport Authority of Sri Lanka (ASSL) has confirmed that the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport will be closed for 8 hours from 0800hrs to 1630hrs effective 6th January to 6th April 2017. There will not be any arrivals or departures during this time.

Furthermore, clients extending to the Maldives, need to be booked on UL 101 CMB/MLE if they have reserved resorts with a Sea plane transfer. If not they will not be able to travel to the resort on the same day and will require alternate accommodation in Male or Hulu Male.

AASL to handle BIA’s ground handling activities

On a recommendation of the Sub-committee on Economic Affairs, ground handling activities of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) will be handed over to the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL).

Consequent to this recommendation, all ground handling activities at the BIA, currently performed by SriLankan Airlines, would be transferred to the AASL.

With this transition, all employees currently engaged in ground handling activities of SriLankan Airlines will be retained by the AASL.

However, it was reported that a protest is being carried out against this decision by SriLankan Airlines trade union activists.

Source : http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=2016/06/27/local/85764

All tourist hotels to be classified

All tourist hotels registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) will be required to become classified under the latest regulations, the SLTDA officials said yesterday.

From left: SLTDA Standards and Classifications Director Chandana Wijeratne, SLTDA Director General Malraj Kiriella and SLTDA/SLTPB Chairman PaddyWithane Pic by Pradeep Dilrukshana“All tourist hotels in the country will have to be classified,” SLTDA Standards and Classifications Director Chandana Wijeratne said.

Currently there are 344 hotels registered with the SLTDA, of which only 113 have been given a star classification.

The Extraordinary Gazette No. 1963/28 finally legislated the classification standards this April, which had been drafted hand-in-hand with but failed to be legislated with the Tourism Act No.38 of 2005.

Until now, a classification standard created in 1966 was in operation. While the gazetted system has almost no amendments from the draft in 2005, SLTDA Director General Malraj Kiriella said that managing to legislate the new classification standard after a lapse of 11 years was a great improvement.

“Now we have to maintain these standards because the tourists today are looking at quality,” he said.

Stars are granted under classification standards based on a combination of minimum requirements and an additional point-based system on nonmandatory criteria.

The new standards include points awarded for environmentally sustainable practices and good treatment of hotel staff, which has garnered approval from industry experts.

It is learnt that several hotels which had been classified as five-star under the outdated standards had been downgraded, as they had failed to gain enough points due to inadequate environmentally friendly practices and staff benefits.

This included hotels from one of the largest leisure groups in the country which has made environmentally friendly practices one of its marketing cornerstones.

Meanwhile, Kiriella said that the boutique hotels too would require classification. However, this could result in ultra luxurious boutique hotels which have five-star facilities and services getting a one-star classification due to not meeting the requirements for a minimum number of rooms or other small technicalities. The new legislation also requires hotels to be reclassified every three years, compared to a lifetime classification in the past, while the hotels which are not following the regulations, falsely advertising star classifications or failing to pay licensing fees will receive a Rs.100,000 penalty.

“We will be setting up an enforcement unit to track down any infractions,” Kiriella said.

A five-star hotel will have a registration fee of Rs.25,000 and a licensing fee of Rs.10,000, while a one-star hotel will have a Rs.5,000 registration fee and a Rs.2,000 licensing fee.

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

Srilankan suspends flights to Paris, Frankfurt

„Says two routes making losses amid stiff competition
„Last flight to Frankfurt on October 30
„Last flight to Paris on November 6
„London to remain as gateway to Europe
„ME, Indian subcontinent and East Asia remain focal markets

National carrier Srilankan Airlines yesterday said it would be suspending its operations to Paris and Frankfurt from winter 2016 as the two European routes are continuing to incur losses amid stiff competition from the Middle Eastern (ME) carriers and drop in airfares.

Accordingly, the last flights between Frankfurt and Colombo (UL 553/554) will be operated on October 30, while UL 563/564 of November 6, 2016 will conclude the operations between Paris and Colombo.

The airline said it had been made clear to them that the government would no longer fund continuing losses.

“Addition of capacity to the Colombo market particularly by the Middle Eastern carriers, accompanied by a drop in airfares in European markets has seen the contribution of the European network drop in comparison to the other routes,” Srilankan said in a statement.

The airline added that the situation had been further exacerbated by the depreciation of the euro against the dollar.

While the drop in fuel prices has contributed to the airline’s improved performance, this benefit has been significantly eroded with the airline’s revenues declining for the financial year ending 2015/16 compared to the previous year.

Srilankan

Srilankan operates daily flights to both Doha and Abu Dhabi and has a codeshare relationship with Etihad and Qatar through which it hopes to continue to provide onward connectivity to the European destinations it has been serving via Paris and Frankfurt.

London will remain Srilankan’s gateway to Europe, where the airline has deployed its state-of-the-art A330-300 fleet for daily non-stop operations, providing a greater comfort and an enhanced flying experience to its passengers.

The airline also said the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and East Asia would remain its focal markets, where it would continue to explore its potential for expansion.

In a separate development, Mirror Business learns that the ground handling operations by Srilankan at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) have been instructed to be handed over to Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited.

A letter to this end from the prime minister’s office has already been delivered to the airline, Mirror Business further learns. An email inquiry by Mirror Business sent to Srilankan Airlines in this regard still remains unanswered.

Sources at Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited told Mirror Business that they would continue to obtain the services of Srilankan officials to carry out the ground handling operations at BIA to ensure no job cuts at Srilankan.

They said the transfer of operations was carried out to comply with the regulations that require a company 51 percent owned by the government to perform the ground handling operations at BIA.

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

Badulla to get domestic airport

Badulla is to get a new domestic airport to promote tourism and encourage agriculture exports, as approved by Cabinet last week.

Except Uva and Sabaragamuwa Provinces, all the other provinces have domestic airports. A minimum of six hours is required to travel on land from Colombo to Badulla and the duration for air transportation is about 25 minutes.

Establishment of a domestic airport in the district will help in promoting the tourism industry in the region and to improve economic crops cultivation for exportation. The proposal made by Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silvato establish a domestic airport at Bandarawela in Badulla Districtwas approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

 

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/551443/Badulla-to-get-domestic-airport#sthash.0pRsTmrz.dpuf

‘Incredible India Roadshow’ launched in Sri Lanka

Text & Pix By Gitika Talukdar

Incredible India launched a new tourism drive in Sri Lanka by introducing the ‘Incredible India Roadshow’ at the Taj Samudra in Colombo on 23 June in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and High Commission of India and its sub-offices overseas.

During the roadshows the local Sri Lankan tour operators had an opportunity to interact directly with tour operators from India and share thoughts and best practices, analyse trends and plan future strides. The scope to present new products, expand business horizons and networking was beneficial to all the participants.

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A total of 250 local tour operators participated in the program, along with 15 private tour operators from India. The participants received a good opportunity to obtain interesting information about India, especially in relation to the tourism industry, with industry representatives providing a wide range of information. High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha and Minister of Tourism John Amaratunga formally inaugurated the show by lighting the inaugural lamp. Addressing the gathering, Sinha said that India was pursuing a re-invigorated neighbourhood policy of ‘Neighbourhood First,’ which puts a premium on greater connectivity, stronger and mutually beneficial cooperation and deeper ties with its neighbour.

“There is also recognition that neighbours have the first claim on India and Sri Lanka is amongst our closest and dearest neighbours. India and Sri Lanka have experienced an exhilarating renewal of democracy in recent times,” he said.

With the aim of further increasing tourism between the two countries, the first meeting of the joint working group on tourism was held in April 2015 in New Delhi, where developing a Ramayana Trail in Sri Lanka and a Buddhist Circuit in India were discussed. Adding to this, he said India would introduce Buddhist tourism and medical tourism along with Ayurveda, agro-tourism, cinematic tourism, etc. Religious tourism under Buddhist tourism will be visa free. India and Sri Lanka are working towards the resumption of ferry services between Colombo and Tuticorin and between Talaimannar and Rames-hwaram, which will make travel easier. Another proposal is to operate a cruise/ferry service between Colombo and Cochin in Kerala. Railway connectivity will also be introduced very shortly, he added.

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On travel between the two countries, he said India and Sri Lanka already enjoyed close connectivity by air with 154 flights a week from Colombo to eight destinations in India.

However, given the anticipated rise in tourist arrivals both ways, more flights will be added along with the international airport in Trincomalee.

Referring to education in recent years, he said India had been attracting a growing number of Sri Lankan students for tertiary education and offered a more affordable alternative to other countries without compromising on quality. Prominent Indian institutions of excellence are interested in investing in Sri Lanka, provided the necessary legislative framework is put in place.

Tourism Development Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa told the audience that both the countries were joining to form bilateral, regional and multilateral arrangements to optimise benefits and collaboration and cooperation had become mantras for success rather than confrontation and conflict.

The keynote speech at the event was delivered by Ministry of India Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi. Presentations were made by

State Government of Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary to Government (Tourism) Neerabh Kumar Prasad and Madhya Pradesh Tourism General Manager J.M. Mathew on tour plans and packages.

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Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/551230/-Incredible-India-Roadshow–launched-in-Sri-Lanka