Archive for May, 2018

China Guangxi Product Exhibition kicks off in Colombo

  • 3-day event showcases array of investment opportunities

The China Gaungxi Product Exhibition kick-started yesterday, showcasing an array of investment opportunities for all local investors and businesses across the country at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC).

The event is being held from 18 to 20 May. Entrance is free for the public and officials invite all those interested to visit and indulge in Guangxi’s beauty and witness what the city has to offer in terms of both trade and investment opportunities.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen stated: “This event is one of the largest Chinese exhibitions in Sri Lanka and we thank the Government of Guangxi for their keen interest to partner with Sri Lanka. Today’s event is taking place when cooperation between China and Sri Lanka is going in a new path.”

Minister Bathiudeen also noted that the partnership between the two countries dated back centuries and the relationship had continually developed. Sri Lanka-China trade has increased to $ 4.4 billion and with the proposed FDI, the Minister believes trade will continue to grow.

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Sri Lanka Economic and Commercial Counsellor Yang Zuoyuan said: “Guangxi is one of the five ethnic groups of the autonomous region of China and is one of the most cultural provinces of China, having a GDP of $2 trillion as of 2017. China and Sri Lanka have been enjoying good relations and our people are very close to each other. Guangxi is also an important hub in the One Road One Belt initiative and plays a key role among the partnership between the two countries.”

He also emphasised that this exhibition is aimed at uplifting high-level trade and economic partnerships between China and Sri Lanka. Through this they hope to introduce more tea, gems, jewels and other products of Sri Lanka to China as well. Zuoyuan believes that such events will enable the two countries to partner for a brighter future.  The exhibition highlighted the many products that Guangxi has to offer, with 67 stalls featuring items ranging from machinery equipment to food and beverages, arts and crafts, furniture, home-ware, leather, garments and so forth.

Several of Gaungxi’s leading brands such as BL Technology, Guangxi Guanren Trading Co, Guilin Pharmaceutical, Guangxi Wuyi Pipe Industry, Baofull Co, Horis Trading, Eisho Co, Guangxi Harvest Import Export Company, Guangxi Yangli Aluminium, Nanning Weining Market Development and Maolida Trade Development showcased their products at the exhibition.

National Chamber of Commerce Director General Bandula Dissanayake said: “We have on display electrical and tech products, cottage industry products, food and animal products and medicine and health products. We invite all the entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka to get in touch with the buyers and investors to explore the trade opportunities that the exhibition has to offer.”

The good image of Guangxi brands is hoped to be displayed throughout the exhibition so that the entrepreneurs from both sides will view this event as an opportunity to expand their business horizons.

The event is organised by the Department of Commerce of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region China along with Canton Fair Advertising as its Co-Organiser and the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka as event supporters.

Source :


Aitken Spence Travels records landmark 178,000 happy visitors to Sri Lanka

Aitken Spence Travels, the largest inbound tour operator in the country, closed the 2017/18 financial year with a total inbound volume exceeding 178,000 happy visitors to Sri Lanka.

This year’s performance builds on the previous year’s record high of 153,000 tourists, by far the largest number of visitor arrivals handled by any Destination Management Company in the country. Aitken Spence Travels’ growth was recorded at 16% while during the same period the country’s arrivals grew by 7%.

Commenting on the feat, Aitken Spence Travels Managing Director Nalin Jayasundera stated: “This achievement was possible due to our continuous efforts in diversifying to new markets and growing the existing markets by securing new business. I am happy to note our increased visitor numbers resulted in the company recording the highest ever profit thus far. This was due to the excellent teamwork of the staff who ensured that our clients are served with dedication and professionalism coupled with years of experience in the tourism industry.”

“The contribution of our tour operator partners has been significant to the company’s achievements. We place our sincere appreciation for the support extended by hotel partners, airlines and other suppliers for playing a significant role. The 41-year journey of Aitken Spence Travels is built on the ethos of trust and partnerships. We are privileged to have the best practices of TUI, the world’s largest integrated tourism company, and the strength and backing of the Aitken Spence Group,” he added.

Aitken Spence Travels is active in many diverse segments of tourism. The company’s cruise shore excursions business commands market leadership in the country. The cruise business is a growing segment and Sri Lanka has the potential to offer a multi-port offering to differentiate in order to secure future business.

The charter flight operations have been growing and the company has continued to handle charters from the UK, Sweden, Finland and Russia. In 2017/18, together with TUI, Aitken Spence Travels handled a charter from Poland for the first time which operated flights every 10 days. Due to the successful charter operation, TUI will be operating a second charter for winter 2018/19 from Poland.

The company has also made inroads on sports tours handled and has brought many teams from different sporting disciplines. Cricket by far is the most popular but netball, rugby and hockey tours have grown, and the company has made inroads with golf tourism.

As the only award-winning conference organiser, AST’s events unit manages international and local business and consumer events. The event portfolio covers medical, IT, education and consumer trade fairs. Flagship local events such as the Colombo Shopping Festival, Home and You and the Best Brand Show have attracted over 175,000 local visitors per annum. The unit also specialises in handling events in the Maldives.

In addition to giving back to the community in numerous ways, Aitken Spence Travels is among the few companies in Sri Lanka which offsets its carbon footprint across its operations. Visitors continue to place their trust and confidence in the company as they too become part of the organisation’s greater responsibility towards minimising the carbon footprint when participating in tours and excursions designed to have a minimum impact on the environment and nature. Travel Life Certification was secured for the operations, staying in line with global sustainable tourism practices. Since 2015, the company has been handling over 100,000 inbound clients and has not looked back since then. The formula for continuous success has been the commitment of the management and dedication of the staff to achieve a common corporate objective. The company carries out its own promotions in partnership with tour operators to create a stronger demand for the destination.

It is envisaged that the tourism industry and its stakeholders will stand to gain from the proposed digital promotion campaign. It is also important to have a sustained and effective marketing campaign for the benefit of tourism sector stakeholders and the overall economy of the country.

Looking ahead, Aitken Spence Travels hopes to continue to strengthen and build its international market position. The company will continue to shape the tourism industry by pioneering innovation in products and exploring multiple markets, be they Sports, MICE, Cruises, Nature, Luxury, Online and Charter operations.

Source :

Tourism authorities to kick off CNN campaign

Sri Lanka will finally kick off the long overdue tourism promotional drive next week with the initial US $ 650,000 advertising campaign on CNN following the Cabinet approval at this week’s (May 15) meeting, Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga told Mirror Business.

Amaratunga presented the Cabinet paper in this regard at last week’s Cabinet meeting. However, the approval was delayed to this week, following the observations made by a few Cabinet members on the campaign.

Speaking to Mirror Business, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramaniam said that the advertising campaign would commence on CNN early next week for a period of three months.

Sri Lanka did not carry out any major promotional campaign promoting its tourism product for the last four years. Meanwhile, Amaratunga said the US $ 3.5 million worth six-month digital marketing campaign is in the final phase of evaluation by the SLTPB and he’s planning to submit the results of the evaluation to the Cabinet in two weeks, seeking the approval to award the contract to the marketing agencies. Balasubramaniam said the digital marketing campaign is expected to be fully ready to be launched within a month’s time.

The government decided to launch an interim advertising campaign on CNN due to the delay in launching the proposed digital marketing campaign and a global promotional campaign. The CNN campaign received the Cabinet approval earlier this year though without the approval from the SLTPB director board.


The SLTPB board members representing the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and the Hotels’ Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) had objected the CNN campaign while insisting that the government should fast-track the digital marketing campaign as they were of the opinion that the CNN campaign was less impactful.

Following the objections from the industry, Amaratunga decided to get the SLTPB board approval and present a fresh Cabinet paper.

Source :

Mastercard and SL Tourism partner to woo more Indian travellers

  • Discounts on flights, hotel stays and shopping set to give Indians more reasons to visit Sri Lanka
  • Mastercard to support fresh initiative via a pan-India marketing drive 
  • India is the largest source of tourism for Sri Lanka contributing 18% to total tourist number
  • 400,000 Indian tourists envisaged in 2018

Mastercard and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) are offering exciting opportunities for Indian travellers to access the convenience of cashless payments and attractive discounts on dining, shopping and staying in Sri Lanka.

This is part of their ongoing strategic efforts to jointly promote Sri Lanka as a preferred destination in key markets.

Travellers with Mastercard debit and credit cards issued in India will be able to enjoy exciting offers including discounts on holiday packages and air tickets to Sri Lanka booked through partnering travel websites as well as savings of up to 25% at select partner hotels, restaurants and retail stores. Jetwing Hotels, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, AMAN Hotels, Loon Tao Restaurant and Mlesna Tea are some of the hotels that have been partnered with for this campaign.

Supported by a pan-India marketing drive by Mastercard, this collaboration has been set to drum up greater interest in Sri Lanka amongst Indian travellers.

Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga described the move by Mastercard as a welcome development. “I congratulate Mastercard for pioneering this initiative with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau to promote Sri Lanka as the preferred destination for discerning Indian travellers. Be it for leisure, shopping or business, the incentives on offer coupled with the cashless convenience factor would definitely help card users discover more of Sri Lanka. With tourist arrival numbers from India on the rise, this promotion will help consolidate and sustain this growth into the future. Therefore, the Mastercard promotion is a welcome development that will further establish Sri Lanka as India’s favourite travel destination,” he said.

Commenting on this partnership, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramaniam said: “We believe that this new partnership with Mastercard will encourage cross border tourism between India and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is rich in culture and heritage and an attractive destination for both leisure and business travellers. Easy connectivity with short-haul flights from India and a favourable currency exchange rate will serve as the perfect package for travellers.”

Mastercard Senior Vice President, Account Management, Vikas Varma said: “Mastercard is delighted to partner with Sri Lanka Tourism Board to boost cashless tourism and further enhance the Sri Lanka experience. Tourism is a major contributor to Sri Lanka’s economy and given India’s close proximity to Sri Lanka, Mastercard’s market intelligence on the Indian travellers’ spending patterns and strong partnerships with various stakeholders, Sri Lanka can fully harness the potential of cashless payments.”

Mastercard Sri Lanka and Maldives Country Manager R.B. Santosh Kumar said: “Mastercard has been working closely with all stakeholders across the public and private sectors in Sri Lanka for more than three decades. Their local insights together with our suite of world-class electronic payment solutions and global expertise has helped Mastercard deliver greater value to Sri Lankan businesses and consumers. The current campaign that Mastercard is running in partnership with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau, one of its longstanding partners, is yet another way Mastercard continues leveraging the transformative power of digital payments to do so.”

This announcement comes on the heels of the recent positive growth of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. As per a report published by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, international tourism arrivals in Sri Lanka hit a record of 2.1 million in 2017 with a growth rate of 3.20% over 2016. India is the largest source of tourism for Sri Lanka, contributing 18% of the total tourists visiting the country. This year, Sri Lanka is expecting 440,000 arrivals from India, according to an estimate by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

Source :

SL to participate International Tourism Expo in China

Sri Lanka is being invited to participate in one of the largest tourism events in Asia, Guangdong International Tourism Expo in China from September 7 to 9.

International Chamber of Commerce President, Kosala Wickramanayake said that they also hope to woo the Western Province council and even Colombo Municipal Council members to attend this event along with other stake holders of the industry. He said that Guangdong has a very high per capital income and the citizens in the province like to travel to Asia. “There are also good air links to Colombo from China which is also another advantage.”


Aggressor Safari Lodge launched

The Sri Lanka Aggressor Safari Lodge situated close to Wilpattu National Park in the North of Sri Lanka, was opened for business this week with their first group of American Tourists. The total investment for the first stage of the project is Rs. 200 million.

This is the first Safari Lodge to be opened in Sri Lanka for the USA Aggressor Luxury Franchise Group. The lodge has initially opened 8 of what will be 13 Luxury Tented Chalets and Restaurant on approximately 7 Acres of land. The property is separated into 3 Tented Chalets positioned with a swimming pool view at the front of the property, 3 Tented Chalets have scenic river views and the balance have a small teak plantation view. The property boarders the Kalaoya River on one side and a small creek running along a second side of the property. All the Tented Chalets and Restaurant are built on raised polished teak decking and are fully air-conditioned.

The Aggressor Safari Lodge will cater to high-end US and International clients with a 5 to 7 day itinerary taking them on Safari in Wilpattu National Park, Minneriya National Park and Sri Lanka’s Primate Center in Polonnaruwa.

Local Sri Lankan clients can also book and stay at the Aggressor Sri Lanka Lodge on a minimum 2 night package with optional tour packages.

Source :

Cathay Pacific launches Economy Class fare promotion to Australia

Cathay Pacific Airways recently announced Economy Class special fares from Colombo to Australia. Customers can now take advantage of promotional fares starting from Rs. 99,400 (Return/All inclusive) on flights to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Cairns. These promotional fares are valid for sale until 31 May 2018, travel outbound until 31 December 2018 subject to advance purchase restrictions and applicable fare conditions.

Customers travelling in Economy Class enjoy Cathay Pacific’s signature Service Straight from the Heart alongside seats designed with comfort and convenience in mind, delectable cuisine, and an award-winning selection of wines and beverages. State-of-the-art inflight entertainment system, StudioCX presented on personal touchscreen provides the customers with a wide range of entertainment including the latest movies, TV, and music throughout the flight.

“We remain committed to cater to the needs of our customers here in Sri Lanka, delivering them our brand promise of a Life Well Travelled. Our daily non-stop flights from Colombo connect seamlessly to key destinations in Australia via our Hong Kong hub. Customers can now continue to enjoy great comfort and a unique level of service in Economy Class while taking advantage of this promotional offer,” added Cathay Pacific Airways Country Lead – Sri Lanka and Maldives Vishnu Rajendran.

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.

Source :