Archive for February, 2017

Waters Edge begins work on mega entertainment centre

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka,Waters Edge  Chairman, Chamath De Silva and General Manager, Rohan  Fernandopulle and UDA officials at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Waters Edge Battaramulla broke ground for a mega entertainment centre that will provide recreational and entertainment opportunities for the public.

“The Station at the Edge” will be a one-of-a-kind entertainment hub that brings together sports and entertainment.

Waters Edge Chairman Chamath De Silva said the development project aims to create a recreation, leisure and sports facility on the far side of the water front in collaboration with the Sports Ministry and the Urban Development Authority.

The space will also allow various sports associations and bodies the chance to utilise the area for national and international level sporting events. The centre will facilitate thirty sports including many water sports such as kayaking, rowing and wind surfing among many others. The centre will be segregated into three different categories under extreme sports, leisure sports and kid’s sports.

The main objectives behind the project are to convert acres of land into an area that provides the public with an opportunity to engage in sports and relax while also providing the youth of the country with state-of-the-art facilities to train at.

The project will also feature a unique train running along a rail track consisting of seven carriages that will be converted into kitchens and three passenger compartments revamped into restaurants serving up hawker style street food.

The platform beside the railway track too will be used as part of the restaurants creating a typical train station atmosphere with the hustle and bustle that is commonplace of a Sri Lankan railway station. Ensuring that the restaurant is accessible to all, food will be affordably priced and made fresh daily.A fresh fishmarket is also on the cards.

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Sri Lanka Tourism participates in New York Times Travel Show

Sri Lanka Tourism showed it’s a holiday destination worth visiting by showcasing its local splendour at the New York Times Travel Show, which is the largest consumer and trade travel event in North America.

Officials at the New York Times Travel Show
It gave the US citizens quite a surprise to see the valuable resources which the paradise island had to offer. The New York Times Travel show was held for the 14th consecutive year from January 27 to 29, 2017, at the Jacob K. Javits convention centre in New York City.

Sri Lanka Tourism participated in this mega event in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Embassy in the USA.

The Sri Lankan delegation included Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando, who graced the event giving a boost to promote Sri Lanka as all across the globe as a major tourist destination, along with other officials.

Representatives from the Sri Lanka Embassy in New York included Dr. Rohan Perera and Deputy High Commissioner A.S. Kahn and Dr. Rohan Perera, who is the permanent representative of the UN.

Sri Lanka Tourism was represented by Assistant Director Chameera Peiris with the members of the travel and tourism industry.

The purpose of this participation was to make the US travel agents, travellers and tour operators aware of the destination and also to inspire those who are planning to explore new destinations.

The show was patronized by 28,442 travellers and industry professionals, making 2016 the best attended show in nearly a decade, where Sri Lanka has been a regular member.

The Sri Lankan pavilion was an attractive sight to see with its warm colours, natural bliss, wildlife and its exquisite beaches.

During the event, broachers promoting tour packages were distributed among the visitors, which were compact and attractive, where the participants could flip over the pages being informed about the cultural and natural wonders of Sri Lanka in detail. The finest Ceylon tea as usual was a unique item throughout the whole event.

Deluxe vacations, Eco – Team Sri Lanka, Lanka Holiday Destinations (Pvt.) Ltd, Aitken Spence Travels, Lanka Holidays. Net, Lanka Vacations (Pvt.) Ltd, Ceylon Express I’tnl, Air Wing Tours Ltd, Dammika Travels and Tours and Bernard Tours participated in this event.

In 2016, a total of 54,254 tourist arrivals from the USA were reported, which was a 14.9 percent growth year-on-year.

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Macksons Properties opens hotel Mandarina Colombo

Macksons Holdings opened its first 80-room luxury business hotel Mandarina Colombo on Galle Road Colombo 3. The hotel was opened by the Chairman of Macksons Holdings Milfer Makeen. Mizver Makeen Managing Director, Macksons Holdings, Milfer Makeen  Chairman, Macksons Holdings, Ranga Goonawardena Director and Chef Executive Officer, Macksons Properties.
Macksons Holdings opened its first 80-room luxury business hotel Mandarina Colombo on Galle Road Colombo 3. The hotel was opened by the Chairman of Macksons Holdings Milfer Makeen. Mizver Makeen Managing Director, Macksons Holdings, Milfer Makeen Chairma
The 80-room full service business hotel Mandarina Colombo opened for business in the heart of the business capital Colombo. Centrally located along Galle Road Colombo 3, Mandarina Colombo is strategically placed with easy access to businesses, entertainment hubs, restaurants, healthcare centres and all other places of interest in the city.

Mandarina Colombo is owned and managed by Macksons Properties (Pvt) Limited, a member of Macksons Holdings.

The hotel, the first of its kind by Macksons Holdings, is geared to offer guests a unique hotel stay experience when it comes to both business and pleasure.

Boasting well-appointed luxurious rooms on 11 floors, the hotel offersunobstructed views of the Indian Ocean and the sweeping city skyline and is just 45 minutes away from the Bandaranaike International Airport

“We are pleased to announce the much awaited opening of our first city hotel Mandarina Colombo. We believe we have a splendid property in the centre of Colombo and are looking forward to welcoming our local and foreign guests,” said Milfer Makeen, Chairman – Macksons Holdings.

“We are a diversified conglomerate involved in manufacturing, retailing and property development.

With this newest venture, we hope to make a positive impact in the hospitality industry.”

Macksons Holdings is a Sri Lankan company with diversified interests and known for its renowned brands Multilac and Macktiles. “Our challenge is to introduce a different culture into the hospitality industry,” said Mizver Makeen, Managing Director of Macksons Holdings.

Guests’ needs have been taken into account when it comes to in-room feature and comforts from free High Speed Wi-Fi to complimentary tea and coffee making facilities.

Mandarina Colombo enjoys an enviable swimming pool. The hotel’s rooftop glass-fronted infinity swimming pool, with stunning endless views of the city and the Ocean, is an impressive feature offered to guests.

Like all star-class hotels, Mandarina Colombo offers guests 24-hours security, 24-hours medical assistance upon request and ample parking facilities.

Ranga Goonewardena, Director/CEO of Macksons Properties (Private) Limited, sees the challenges that lie ahead and is keen to turn the company’s first project in hospitality into a resounding success.

“This is an exciting new business and we hope to begin work on the second stage of this venture and expand operations in the near future. Mandarina Colombo is ready to offer guests a memorable stay-experience, one complete with business and pleasure. The property has unique advantages and facilities and we hope we can make an outstanding difference to each and every guest that stays with us,”Ranga Goonewardena said.

The Mandarina Colombo team is strongly committed to upholding the highest standards of quality, service and hospitality as they venture into the hospitality business. They are confident that every guest will stay Mandarina refreshed!”

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Sri Lanka Tourism conquers the Mediterranean at IMTM Travel Fair 2017


Sri Lanka Tourism showcased its splendour in the Mediterranean by participating at the IMTM (International Mediterranean Tourism Market) Travel Fair which was held from 7 to 8 February in Tel Aviv, Israel, amidst a colourful atmosphere. Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Israel H.E.P. Selvaraj, together with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Israel gave full support in making this attempt a success. The 2017 fair was the 23rd edition of IMTM, established in 1994.

The Sri Lankan Pavilion at the fair drew the attention of the visitors with its usual creativity, attractiveness, and the wide range of tourist attractions which Sri Lanka has to offer, such as nature, wildlife, cultural festivals, heritage, ancient cities and monuments which dates back to thousands of years, authentic and mouth-watering Sri Lankan cuisine including herbs and spices which are quite similar to those used in the Mediterranean, also not forgetting a sip of the famous Ceylon Tea.

The Pavilion was declared open under the patronage Minister of Tourism in Israel Yariv Levin amidst the distinguished presence of the Sri Lankan delegation represented by Minister of Tourism Development, Christian Religious Affairs and Lands John Amaratunga, Advisor for the Minister Felix Rodrigo, Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Israel H.E.P. Selvaraj, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramaniam and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Asst. Director Ajantha Rathnayake, by lighting the traditional oil lamp. The Israeli Tourism Minister was also given a token of appreciation by Minister John Amaratunga.

By participating at this fair, the purpose of Sri Lanka Tourism was to showcase the benefits of choosing this beautiful paradise island as a wonderful holiday destination, giving the opportunity of being exposed to a world of magical and serene beauty. It also enabled to promote Sri Lanka Tourism in the Middle East, Sri Lankan products, Ceylon Tea, and one to one meetings with the Israel Tour Operators.

In parallel to the fair, a meeting was held between the tourism ministers of the two nations, ministry officials, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramaniam and SLTPB Asst. Director Ajantha Rathnayake. The discussion included having direct flights between the two countries, promoting tourism and strengthening the bilateral ties further.

10 Travel Agents participated in the Sri Lankan delegation such as Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka, NKAR Travels &Tours Ltd., Shums Holidays Ltd. Amc Holidays Ltd. and Hayleys Tours Ltd. The fair by no means set a platform for them to increase contacts with their Israeli counterparts and develop their business relationships.

The IMTM 2017 is the largest annual professional and official exhibition for the tourism market in Israel which provides global exposure and business and travel opportunities for the tourism sector, in which Sri Lanka has been a regular member. Up to December 2016, 10,391 tourist arrivals has been reported from Israel, while it has showed a 33.4 increase compared with the same period in 2015.

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Cathay Pacific targets Colombo-Australia traffic with Super Special Fares


Cathay Pacific Airways recently launched its Super Special Return Fares in Economy Class starting from Rs. 79,900 including all taxes and surcharges to Australia.

The airline is also enhancing connectivity from Colombo to Sydney with improved connections in both directions from 8 April for the Northern Hemisphere Summer Season. In addition to Sydney, the airline offers convenient connections to Melbourne and also connects to Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns and Perth in Australia via its hub in Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific is offering different fares to cater to different segments including students and migrants. The lowest fares will come with advance purchase and other conditions encouraging potential travellers to book well in advance.

Promotions in Premium Economy class will start from Rs. 169,100 while Business Class from Rs. 305,715. The airline offers fully flat-bed seats in Business Class on its flights from Colombo itself. With flights to six cities in Australia and an increased capacity to Sydney and Melbourne, Cathay Pacific continues to be a dominant player to Australia. The airline is also offering promotional fares to several other destinations in North America and Asia from Colombo in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

Cathay Pacific Airways Sales and Marketing Manager – Sri Lanka and Maldives Vishnu Rajendran said, “We are delighted to be offering our Super Special Fares to Australia which is undoubtedly a very popular destination among Sri Lankan travellers. We are confident that these special fares along with enhanced connectivity, superior inflight products and our signature Service Straight from the Heart will undoubtedly provide an elevated customer experience helping us deliver our brand promise of a Life Well Travelled.”

For more details regarding the special offer, log onto, call Cathay Pacific on 011-2423726 or contact your travel agent.

Cathay Pacific is a Hong Kong based airline operating daily non-stop flights between Colombo and Hong Kong with convenient onward connections to destinations in Asia, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

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Sri Lanka is gifted with tourist attractions


Presentation of the Spiritual Book ‘Pointers to Enlightenment’ to the British High Commissioner by the author Vipula Wanigasekersa

At a recent presentation made to the British High Commissioner, the Deputy and the staff, Vipula Wanigasekera, Senior Lecturer at the NSBM Green University said in his presentation that Sri Lanka’s tourism prospects are high in terms of numbers and yet there is a long way to reach the real high end tourism niches as this requires raising of the entire profile of the country and repositioning the Island as a high end destination in the minds of future travellers. Nevertheless Sri Lanka is gifted with ‘must see’ places for tourists that would continue to bring tourists into the country.

He opined that Sri Lanka should retain and protect the Western European base considering repeat visitors with the brand loyalty while some big markets are showing the increase at a decreasing rate. Wanigasekera’s presentation covered history of Sri Lanka tourism, the current status and future prospects. He also explained the potential in the lessor known attractions which are yet to be communicated to the markets with a campaign targeting small interest groups.


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Gulf Air commences direct flights between Colombo and Bahrain

The Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Kingdom of Bahrain, Dr A. Saj U. Mendis, had a meeting with Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer Maher Salman Al Musallam, last week, to discuss the most efficacious courses of action as well as strategies to augment and to boost tourism in particular and other commercial, economic, investment and trade activities between the two countries. The Gulf Air, the flagship carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, operates five direct flights between Colombo and the Kingdom of Bahrain, thus complementing the flights of Sri Lankan Airlines as well. DFT-19-7
The Chief Executive Officer Al Musallam and Ambassador Dr. Mendis, during the meeting, discussed a myriad of issues ranging from tourism, economic activity including trade and investments, connectivity between and among nations, geo-political and geo-economic dynamics and developments and people to people contact, among others. It is of firm conviction of both the CEO and the Ambassador that the operation of Gulf Air to Sri Lanka would markedly enhance not only tourism from the Kingdom of Bahrain to Sri Lanka, but also other concomitant economic and investment activity, thus benefiting both the countries.

The Gulf Air has placed firm orders for state of the art aircraft and it currently operates 30 aircraft serving over 40 destinations around the world. In year 2015, the tourism from the Kingdom of Bahrain to Sri Lanka was merely 3,000 and last year, the tourism from Bahrain to Sri Lanka has risen to approximately over 10,000. It is strongly envisaged that this year the tourism to Sri Lanka from the Kingdom of Bahrain would reach nearly 16,000 to 18,000, particularly given the fact that Sri Lankan Airlines has almost daily direct flights as well as the direct flights of Gulf Air.

Al Musallam stated to Dr. Mendis that a large number of travel agents and tour operators as well as potential vacationers in Bahrain are keen to travel to Sri Lanka since it offers almost all touristic attractions of any given country. In addition, given the current political milieu and environment in the world, Sri Lanka is very stable and very safe for any foreigner or tourist to travel to almost any location in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Mendis punctuated the fact that a number of reputed international journals and magazines such as ‘National Geographic’ and ‘Lonely Planet’ have listed Sri Lanka as one of the most favoured and desired touristic destinations in the world.

Dr. Mendis also stated Al Musallam that Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT) is hoping to host a mega Road Show to promote tourism from the Kingdom of Bahrain to Sri Lanka in the foreseeable future. He also added that Sri Lanka received well over two million tourists last year and it is the third largest foreign exchange earner of the country behind the remittances of migrant workers and garment sector.

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