Archive for July, 2018

UL completes acquisition of final Airbus Neo aircraft

SriLankan Airlines welcomed its newest and final addition to the Airbus A321 Neo fleet. The aircraft arrived from Hamburg via Abu Dhabi on July 29, 2018. Religious observances were held yesterday morning at the engineering A320 hangar in Katunayake to bestow blessings on the new aircraft before it embarks on its maiden commercial flight. SriLankan Airlines now has six Airbus Neo aircraft and 27 aircraft in total in its fleet with the newest acquisition.



Vivanta By Taj Bentota Re-branded as Taj Bentota Resort & Spa

Vivanta By Taj Bentota Re-branded as Taj Bentota Resort & Spa with effect from 1st August, 2018 due to be in line with the overall re-branding the Vivanta brand of the Taj Group of hotels in India.



Damro opens Rs. 12.5 b Marino Mall and Beach Hotel

From left: HNB Managing Director and CEO Jonathan Alles, Damro Deputy Chairman R. P.  Lahiru  Ramanayake and Samsung Sri Lanka Managing Director Hanbae Park at opening of the Marino Mall and Beach Hotel at Colombo 03 – Pix by Ruwan Walpola

Family-held Damro Group made its biggest and bold move yesterday, by opening a mega Marino Mall and Beach Hotel in Colombo 3, a venture involving a staggering Rs. 12.5 billion investment.

Accessible from both Galle Road and Marine Drive, Marino Mall consists of 150,000 square feet of shopping complex and food court, among other facilities, offering a unique experience to customers and visitors.

The facility includes the plush, five-star Marino Beach Colombo, a 300 star-class room hotel. The design, concept and interior work of the hotel was done by Damro Group, famous for the popular furniture brand, which also handled the construction of the mega venture.


Yesterday marked the soft opening of the Marino Mall and Beach Hotel, construction of which began in June 2013. Officiating as special guests at the opening were Damro bankers and partners. Low profile Damro Chairman Damith Ramanayake, Deputy Chairman R. P. Lahiru Ramanayake and Marina Mall Managing Director Prasanna Kodippili were also present.

The compound includes a Marino Mall Sea View Food Emporium, comprising 10 outlets marketed as an ideal place to enjoy fine cuisine from different regions of the world, including Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese, Western and other Asian cuisine.

A popular attraction is likely to be the Marino Mall 9D cinema, which is sure to catch the excitement of the public, as the customers not only see but also feel what they see. The Marino World has state-of-the-art entertainment offerings, including virtual reality games and other adventure games.

The Marino Mall shopping options include Diliganz, Dirali, Embark, Jia Moda, Waves, Exclusive Lines, Nayana Salon, Paris Boutique, Jewel Court, Insoles, The Treasury Chest, The Macaron Magazine, Shree Devi Batik, Ximi Vogue, and Privilege Hub.

The Marina Mall also has office space which some leading corporate brands have already reserved, including Dell EMC Demo Centre and Hybrid Hoes.


Sri Lanka shows its potential for water based activities at the Marine Diving Fair in Japan

Industry participants

Sri Lanka’s participation at the Marine Diving fair held from April 6th to 8th in Tokyo, Japan was another important attempt to highlight its potential in the tourism sphere. The colourful Sri Lanka stall depicting the water sport activities and underwater images attracted many Japanese visitors, curious to know what Sri Lanka has to offer with its pristine beaches, and many water based sports activities including whale watching, surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Sri Lanka participated at the fair in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Tokyo, and industry stake holders specialized in water based tourism activities, namely Tour Blue (Pvt) Ltd and Club Waskaduwa (Pvt) Ltd. Kalpa Gunasinghe, Market officer, (Japan) represented SLTPB at this event.

Apart from water sports and water based activities, Sri Lanka offers a large number of marine resources around the country which may not yet have been exposed to the world. They include different varieties of exotic underwater flora and fauna and shipwrecks in the southern coast, which dates back to world war II and as well as to colonial era. The islands’ strategic location in the Indian ocean offers unique opportunities to promote the Sri Lanka as one of the major marine based tourist destinations in the Indian ocean. The coastal areas and the natural harbours are valuable natural resources with the Marine eco system which are highlighted aspects in promoting Sri Lanka as a Marine based tourist destination.

Japan is an important source market for Sri Lanka, and conducting promotional activities like these will further enhance the growth of the tourism sector and create a platform for the industry members to expand their business network with Japan.

Having a look at the Sri Lanka brochures

The Marine Diving Fair is conducted as an annual event since 1993, with the aim of popularizing water based activities. The fair has now become much larger, and holds international events in Asia. Over the years, watersports have gained popularity throughout the world and Sri Lanka has become a favourite hotspot for water based activities.


The Marine Diving fair is supported by Japanese government and over 200 exhibiting companies from 50 countries and regions, including diving resorts,

Tourism Boards, Airlines, Hotels and Manufacturers participated at the event. The total number of visitors for all three days were recorded as 50, 598, which highlighted the fair as an important event in the annual Japanese tourism calendar.

Sri Lanka’s participation at the Marine Diving fair 2018 will create positive benefits for the Sri Lankan travel industry, enabling to attract Japanese travelers interest in water based tourism activities. During the month of March, tourist arrivals from Japan has recorded 14,586, which is an 8.4 % increase compared with the same period last year.

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Sri Lanka among top five fastest growing tourism markets

GlobalData has ranked Sri Lanka as the fourth fastest growing tourism market in the world.

Iceland, Japan, Hungary, Sri Lanka and Chile have been listed as the top five fastest growing tourism markets in the world for the period between 2017 and 2021.

GlobalData’s ‘Tourism Potential Index’ provides a ranking of 60 major developed and emerging markets around the world to assess potential growth opportunities in the tourism sector.

The list is compiled using a ranking based on forecast average annual growth in international arrivals, and the forecasts are based on factors such as capital investment, GDP and disposable income in main source markets.

Sri Lanka, which came fourth on the list, has obtained a score of 52.8 while achieving a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.7%. The score of Iceland, which topped the list, stands at 39.1 with a CAGR of 11.7%.

GlobalData has also assigned star ratings to each of the 60 nations surveyed, ranking them in terms of tourism potential from very low to very high. The star rating is based on four elements of potential: significance (20%), competitiveness (20%), attractiveness (35%), and convenience (25%), to give an overall percentage score out of 100.

No country achieved a five-star rating this year, an accolade awarded to Singapore and Switzerland last year, which were both said to have “very high potential” with few barriers to expansion or demand.

Sri Lanka is the only four-star rated country in the top 10. GlobalData says Sri Lanka is “expected to experience fast growth in the future”. It also said Sri Lanka is “investment-friendly and has improved its road and air infrastructure significantly”.

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Sri Lanka’s first international mall ready for grand opening

The Mall at Colombo City Centre is currently putting on its final touches before opening its doors next month. Following the early topping out of Colombo City Centre in April 2018, the Mall was fast-tracked for completion in August 2018, and is now set to welcome its first visitors to the country’s first integrated lifestyle destination of its kind. This also includes 16 high-end brands that will make their debut in Sri Lanka, along with the country’s first-ever gourmet supermarket, and a multitude of other exciting features befitting of the Mall’s futuristic outlook.

“We are ringing in a new age of lifestyle for the urban fabric of Colombo,” said Colombo City Centre CEO Anand Sundaram. “The combination of world-class retail, international cuisine, and state-of-the-art entertainment, will make the Mall on par with some of the best found around the world, offering an unforgettable experience that the denizens of Sri Lanka’s capital have long deserved.”

With 200,000 square feet of high-end brands spread over 5 floors, the Mall at Colombo City Centre will be Sri Lanka’s largest shopping destination. Foreign shopping trips are set to become a phenomenon of the past, with the presence of several international names such as Apple, Body Shop, Nike, Swarovski and more, available at a convenient location for the residents of Colombo. Several local brands such as Abans, Colombo Jewellery Stores, ODEL and Spa Ceylon will also be present at the Mall, alongside the specialty gourmet supermarket, which will be operated by Cargills Food City.On one end of the Mall’s 5th floor, Food Studio, Sri Lanka’s first food atrium, will feature several world cuisines, including Indian, Japanese, Portuguese, Singaporean and Sri Lankan, in addition to an island bar that overlooks the historic Beira Lake. The other end will be home to Sri Lanka’s first multiplex cinema by Scope Cinemas, with 6 screens that use the latest technology and equipment, to deliver an international-level experience found nowhere else in Colombo.

A highly anticipated addition to the capital’s fast-developing skyline, Colombo City Centre is Sri Lanka’s first BOI-approved mixed development project, slated for completion in early 2019. The $180 million joint venture between local retail giant, Abans, and Singapore-based Next Story Group, is one of Sri Lanka’s largest foreign direct investments in recent times, and rises 47-storeys above the heart of the city. Honoured as the ‘Most Promising Mixed Use Development’ by CMO Asia, ‘Asia’s Greatest Brand’ by AsiaOne Magazine and ‘Upcoming Mall of the Year’ among several other accolades by the Golden Globe Tigers, Colombo City Centre is a multi-award-winning skyscraper, dedicated towards transforming Sri Lanka’s capital into a global metropolis with the first integrated lifestyle complex of its kind. This includes Sri Lanka’s first international mall with high-end brands, a 700-seat food court and 6-screen multiplex cinema, the upscale NEXT Hotel® with 164 keys, and 192 luxurious residential units designed to offer unmatched views of the city, the Beira Lake, and the Indian Ocean.

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Travel Voice launches travel magazine

Travel Voice, a dedicated media platform for travel trade, launched their first travel magazine recently at the office of Minister John Amaratunga in Colombo.

Travel Voice Media was formed as a collective of tourism professionals and enthusiasts to address the demand of digital and printed news platforms in the booming Sri Lankan tourism industry and to bring tourism to the attention of all Sri Lankans.

Initially formed as ‘Tourism Club’, an informal gathering of tourism enthusiasts in 2015, Travel Voice became a duly registered news medium for travel trade by launching Sri Lanka’s first news website dedicated to travel,

Travel Voice’s web presence, along with strong social media platforms, will bring the pulse of tourism to all Sri Lankans. While aiming to educate Sri Lankans about this exciting industry and its latest news, the initiative also aims for everybody to benefit from the tourism opportunities and to contribute to making Sri Lanka a top global tourism destination.

Travel Voice also welcome Sri Lankan youth to join hands with their young team as volunteers, where they can discuss their travel industry dreams.

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