Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Govt. invites bids for ferry transport system in Colombo

The Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLRDC), under the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, has called for tenders for the first leg of the proposed ferry transport system in Colombo.

The project will be implemented as a public-private partnership.

As detailed in the 2016 Megapolis transport master plan, several of Colombo’s inland waterways will be utilized for passenger ferries whereby commuters and recreational users may travel across various parts of Colombo, avoiding the traffic and enjoying the scenic views.

The first phase will be a service from Wellawatte to Battaramulla.

A ferry service from Colombo Fort to Union Place in the Beira Lake, as well as from Mattakkuliya to Hanwella, along the Kelani River, is also in the pipeline, as are potential other routes such as the Hamilton Canal towards Negombo.

The tender process—which is open to both international and local investors—is being supported by PPP advisors from the Netherlands government, under a government-togovernment technical assistance initiative.

SLLRDC will be the lead agency for the project.

The service along the Wellawatte-battaramulla canal is expected to be operational in early 2018, and the Beira Lake ferry to be operational within the year as well.


The secrets of Zinc Journey Sigiriya uncovered!

01Holding within her the mysteries and lore of centuries past, where dancing damsels, pools in the sky, structural wonders and resonating poetry spoke of grandeur never experienced before, the mammoth red hued colossus rises high from surrounding jungle against the tropical blue sky, every inch the queen of her environ.

This is Sigiriya, believed to have been formed from magma of an extinct volcano, the Lion Rock sitting 370 meters above sea level and home to the ingeniously crafty parricidal self-proclaimed King Kasyapa, whose eye for beauty is as synonymous as his eye for engineering.

It is within this esoteric beauty that Zinc Journey Sigiriya gazes up at the regal magnificence of a rock that remains integral to the history of this boutique property, speaking of tales past and journeys trod, ever since the British decided that this location would be their ideal home away from home.

Zinc Journey Sigiriya epitomises the artful blend of Sri Lankan hospitality with the elegance of colonial convention. It is an ideal combination that articulates the history of the Sigiriya Rest House as was its genesis and the contemporary persona gained from an international hospitality chain, whose brand philosophy for Zinc Journey is all about a ‘unique experience’. That unique experience begins no sooner a Sri Lankan welcome is bestowed upon you; a warm smile and hands clasped with ‘Ayubowan’ wishing you long life.

Enter the spacious lobby, minimalist in décor but elaborate in tasteful detail. Harboured almost secretively is a sprawling expanse of green where birds and bees regale stories as a gastronomic journey of multi-course cuisine flavoured for East or West is served with aplomb. This is where the colonialists’ love for good food and wine is well ingrained, carried forward centuries later in the very spot they may have played cards, smoked their cigars and enjoyed a hearty meal of luscious appetisers, delightful entrées, robust mains and a delectable dessert accompanied with a glass of the best. This is a canvas that Zinc Journey Sigiriya’s team of experienced chefs and highly-trained service cohort paint with style and flavour.

The comfort of the rooms knows no bounds. Delightfully cosy, each of these 20 rooms is each designed to relish the bygone architectural facet of a Sri Lankan home – the verandah, while inside, it’s luxury defined. Air-conditioned of course, the king sized beds with its Egyptian cotton bedding and linen, wall mounted LED TV and a well-appointed bathroom that expresses details of indulgence with its handcrafted toiletries reflects the allure that Zinc Journey boutique properties have garnered around the world.

But it is the magnetic charisma of that beautiful monolith that gives Zinc Journey Sigiriya the ultimate edge. From nearly everywhere in the property, the Sigiriya Rock can be seen in all its splendour. And hence it is no surprise that way before Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948 from the British, colonialists scouted this beautiful little island nation in a quest for the most scenic locales in which to rest their weary heads on their travels across the length and breadth of the country.

These locations, popularly known as ‘Rest Houses’ were ideally not only to give travellers some respite but also to ‘rest the horses’ and it could be reasoned that it was ‘rest horse’ that eventually became ‘rest house’. Rest houses soon became ingrained within the hospitality culture of the country, used by the elite and later by the higher echelon of the public sector, where travel was compulsory and comfort imperative. One could surmise that the rest house culture is surely the genesis of the buoyant hospitality industry that now makes Sri Lanka one of the hottest destinations in the world.

At Zinc Journey Sigiriya, it’s the mystery of that majestic rock that yet holds the guest in awe. Steeped in history that speaks from the beginning of civilisation, the secrets held within the rock and the vestiges of the grand palace which was the haven of one of the most cruel yet clever ‘kings’ in the country, yet remains enigmatic. Some of his actions are recorded while others are shrouded in folklore as is the tale that Kasyapa, the son of King Dhatusena’s consort, drove away a group of hermits who had made the rock their home since the 3rd century BC.

But history does record that the young King may have had a touch of insanity stemming from fear, a hunger for power and a weakness of the flesh (he’s believed to have had 500 wives and concubines). That madness for power led Kasyapa to wall up his father to die a slow and painful death and seize the throne which belonged rightfully to his brother, Moggallana, who fled to India but later returned.

It is in fear for his life that Kasyapa ran to the monastery and decided that this rocky plateau would protect him. An ensuing battle saw Kasyapa, abandoned by his armies, commit suicide, though not before leaving an engineering and artistic legacy of extensive network of fortifications, vast landscaped gardens, yet functioning ponds, canals and fountains and the rock itself from which was hewed a colossal stone lion as the palace gateway which gave the rock its name, Sihagri, later called Sigiriya, with its canvas of world famous frescoes and 8th century poetry inscribed mirror wall.

It is this legacy of an ancient king, colonial habits, travellers’ tales and tangible wonderment that is well-entwined into the life and times of Zinc Journey Sigiriya. Whether you are adventurous, spirited, enthusiastic, relaxed, eco-oriented, a gastronomic connoisseur or avid historian, this boutique property is about authenticity, genuine hospitality and unique experiences. That’s the Zinc Journey ethos – one to be lived and to be experienced.

Zinc Journey Sigiriya is a Joint Venture of Ceylon Hotels Corporation and C G Hotels and Resorts.03

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Sri Lanka-Nepal discuss direct flights between Colombo and Kathmandu



A meeting between Ambassador of Nepal to Sri Lanka Professor Bishwambher Pyakuryal and Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.

Attention was drawn to widen diplomatic ties between the two countries during this meeting. Discussions were also focused on reintroducing direct flights between Colombo and Kathmandu.

Foreign Minister Karunanayake and Ambassador Bishwambher further discussed about widening commercial activities between the two countries and way and means to strengthen the exchange of cultural programs.

The Ambassador of Nepal who congratulated Karunanayake on his new appointment stated that his country would extend assistance for the future development of Sri Lanka.

In responding to the Nepali Ambassador, Karunanayake stated Sri Lanka always praises the diplomatic cooperation extended by Nepal Government to Sri Lanka.

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SriLankan Airlines adds three Indian destinations

New services to Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Coimbatore

SriLankan Airlines will further strengthen its position as the largest foreign carrier into India with the launch of services to three more cities – Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Coimbatore – in July 2017, increasing to 14 the number of cities in the vast Indian market.

Accordingly services to Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Coimbatore commence on July 8, 12 and 16, respectively.

SriLankan currently operates 108 flights per week to Chennai, Trichy, Trivandrum, Mumbai, New Delhi, Gaya, Madurai, Varanasi, Kochi, Bangalore and Kolkata.

SriLankan Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer Siva Ramachandran said, “We are leveraging on our vast network in India to offer travellers to and from India increased opportunities to connect to our destinations throughout the Middle East, the Far East and the Indian Ocean region.The new routes would allow more Indian travelers to enjoy the experience of Sri Lanka’s many tourist attractions.”

“The island’s tourism industry has witnessed a tremendous rate of growth in recent years, with over two million visitors in 2016, a growth of 14% over the previous year. India, the largest tourism market to Sri Lanka, accounted for 356,729 visitors to the island in 2016, and 110,891 in the first four months of 2017.”

“We are also commencing daily nonstop services to Melbourne from October 29th this year, which will provide rapid connectivity between Australia and key Indian cities in our network.”

Indian travellers would also be able to enjoy seamless connections to the popular island resort nation of the Maldives, where SriLankan is also the largest airline. It is also the only airline operating to Gan Island in the southern part of the island chain, as well as to the capital Male.

The addition of Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Coimbatore will increase SriLankan’s global route network to 104 cities in 48 countries.

Coimbatore will be SriLankan’s fourth major destination in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where it already serves Chennai, Madurai and Trichy.

Hyderabad is the capital of southern India’s state of Telangana and is a major centre for the country’s technology industry; while Visakhapatnam is a port city and industrial centre in the state of Andhra Pradesh, on the Bay of Bengal.

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30 reasons to visit Sri Lanka

My lifetime dream of visiting Sri Lanka had finally come true. Last month, my photographer and I were on the island, for one magical week. I have a lot of memories, photos and stories, and more important, I have more reasons to come back. Because one week is not enough to explore and discover the fabulous universe of Sri Lanka.

If you never intended to visit Sri Lanka, you should think to travel to this wonderful, tropical island from the South of India. Why? Let’s see… 1. We had two perfect flights with SriLankan Airlines, from KL to Colombo, and then to Dubai. The airline’s team spoiled us with amazing traditional food, cocktails, Ceylon tea, beers and fruit juices and we took some great pics with them. 2. Colombo is a colonial-exotic city, with crazy traffic and generous people. We choose Cinnamon Lakeside, a 5-star hotel in the center of the city, with a beautiful apartment and a stunning terrace with lake views. Every morning I watched a dozen of pelicans flying and landing on the water – a picture that is not easily to forget. 3. Sri Lanka has the most friendly people in the world. Lots and lots of smiles on the streets, spontaneous conversations, and a magical sense of pride and love for their country. I love that! 4. In Sri Lanka, you became a kid again

and enjoy every moment. 5. The sunsets are from soft pink to purple, and the air is full of sea and Frangipani scents. Magic! 6. Local food and chefs are surprising. From fresh seafood to the elegant cocktails at the club, and to the traditional (comfort) dishes at the restaurants. 7. The Ceylon Tea is one of the best in

the world! 8. The nights are magical, and we enjoyed a boat trip on the lake with food, drinks, and music. 9. Near our hotel we found the largest Casino from Sri Lanka, where you can play even small sums of money, just for fun! 10. Colombo is a hot, mesmerizing city. From the craziness of tuk-tuks, to the kindness of people, from the amazing food to the wonderful colonial hotels, from the heat of the days to the starry nights, we loved everything in the capital of Sri Lanka. 11. If you travel by car, like we did, please ask the driver to stop along the way, to see these wonderful statues and temples of Sri Lanka. 12. From Colombo to Bentota is an easy ride of 2 hours. Here, we stopped at the Bentota Beach by Cinnamon, to refresh and drink a traditional fruit juice. 13. Bentota beach is absolutely spectacu

lar! 14. The hotel (and the island) is children friendly, you will find in here everything you need, very kind people and a lot of activities for little ones. 15. When we left, we found out from our driver – Jagath Chandra (an amazing storyteller) that it was a holiday, so we stopped at a beautiful temple and participated in a Buddhist ceremony. 16. Meditating a couple of minutes under this magical sky is the best thing you can do for your mind and body. The island has a strong healing energy. 17. Back on the road, we saw along the way some out- of- this- world beaches, with white soft sand and turquoise waves. 18. We arrived in Hikkaduwa at noon, and we checked- in at Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon, a wonderful all-inclusive resort, on the beach. 19. For three days, we relaxed in this magical garden, we fed the squirrels, and we listened to the ocean. 20. In our morning strolls, we’ve discovered amazing white beaches. No tourists, just the sound of the waves. Magic! 21. We ate a lot of fresh seafood and other

traditional dishes. 22. In the evening, we went to the Pool Bar to have a drink ( ok, maybe two:) or stood inside, on our sea-view terrace. 23. The nights were for fun, at the

Tranzcend – the main bar of the hotel. 24. After 3 days on the beach, we were just not ready to go. We wanted more of this 🙂 25. If you have a long holiday, I recommend you visit Kandy, Mirissa Beach, Sigiriya and Dambulla Cave Temple. 26. Try the divine fruits of the island, the coffee, and the tea. And, please, visit a tea and a cinnamon plantation. The scents are amazing! 27. In the south, you will find the Yala National Park. Take a jeep safari to the park, you will have the adventure of your life. 28. Sri Lanka is a well-known destination for weddings and honeymoons. You can have a ceremony on the beach, in the mountains or a wedding in the wilderness. 29. Before your flight, try the Serendib Lounge at the Bandaranaike International Airport – it’s an exotic, relaxing space with kind and smiling people. You can have food and drinks and even a shower. 30. After an amazing week on the island, we took off into the sunset, had a wonderful dinner in the sky and landing safely in Dubai with memories for a lifetime. (Courtesy The Huffington Post,

pics by Vlad Semen

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Green light for five-star La Forteresse

La Forteresse (Private) Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of Dhammika Perera-controlled Fortress Resorts PLC, will go ahead with its planned five-star property in Mirissa.

An application for the necessary approvals has been filed with Sri Lanka Tourism Development Bureau and the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) and the company has already invested Rs. 364 million during FY16/17 towards the acquisition of land for the new hotel project.

The planning work on the property has already been completed in addition to land clearing and geographic investigations, according the Fortress Resorts’ latest annual report.

Additionally, architectural and structural engineering plans have also been completed and necessary applications have also been filed for water and electricity facilities.

Meanwhile approvals from the BOI have already been completed while Tourist Board officials have completed their initial reviews of the proposal as well as on-site reviews. Hence an official expressed confidence that the next phase of development will commence on schedule during the coming financial year.

The new venture will comprise a 66-room luxury resort featuring five-star class facilities and amenities set on a stunning piece of land on the popular Mirissa coastal region.

In recent years in particular, Mirissa has witnessed a remarkable transformation into a bustling new tourist hot-spot and we are extremely confident of the potential that this location will have to create another unique resort featuring the same seamless brand of tropical elegance for which the Fortress Resorts and Spas have become internationally renowned, the report said.

The Fortress Resort will also be closing operations from June 12 to July 25, 2017, as part of its ongoing renovation programme, which will see the complete reconstruction of our existing lobby to feature a timber finish and we will also use this time to modify the interior to add a further 30 rooms. (IH)

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First DoubleTree by Hilton upscale resort to open in Weerawila next year

  • KDU Adventures invests over Rs. 6 b to build 140-room resort Firm bullish on tourism, eyes three more hotel projects

  • KDU Group keen to list on CSE in the next five years Hilton says committed to contribute to SL’s travel and tourism

By Charumini de Silva

Global hospitality giant Hilton yesterday sealed a historic management agreement with KDU Adventures Ltd. to open its first iconic upscale 140-room DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarana Resort next year, with an investment of Rs. 6 billion.

The latest signing brings the current tally of Hilton pipeline hotels in Sri Lanka to seven properties, while this will be the first operating DoubleTree by Hilton property in the country.

The family-owned KDU Adventures Ltd. is a subsidiary of the KDU Group, which is the country’s largest tea producer with interests in hydropower, is now taking a bullish view on tourism and diversifying into it.

In a statement issued to mark the signing of the landmark agreement, Hilton Asia and Australia Senior Vice President Development Guy Phillips said: “As tourism in Sri Lanka continues to grow, expanding our footprint in developing towns, including Tissamaharama, supports our mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by being in destinations where our guests want to travel. The signing of DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila demonstrates our commitment to fill the existing gap of an international accommodation in the area, giving a clear first-mover advantage in offering our award-winning hospitality to both international and domestic tourists.”

KDU Group Chairman Saman Upasena said it was a mere idea of his to diversify into the tourism industry considering its growth potential in the country.

“We are privileged that a global leader like Hilton has agreed to manage Rajawarana Resort, which will be ready for operations early next year,” he added.

DFT-19-1KDU Group Chairman Saman Upasena (center left) and SEA and India Hilton Operations Vice President William Costley exchange the Agreement. Also present from left: KDU Group Deputy Chairman Thushan Upasena, KDU Group, Group Chief Executive Officer Susantha Pinto, Hilton Development Asia Director Kieran Bestall and KDU Group Director Deelaka Upasena – Pic by Ruwan Walpola

He was also upbeat about the developments taking place in Hambantota within the next few years as the Government has plans to build an industrial zone, where many foreign companies will set up their manufacturing bases.

Upasena also hinted that they aim to diversify into more sectors in the future and become more proactive in the corporate arena.

“Sri Lanka has always been an important market for us,” said Hilton’s Vice President of Operations, South East Asia and India William Costley, adding: “ We are grateful and humbled by the confidence and strength of our brands and really excited to work together and combine our expertise into the development of hospitality in Sri Lanka.”

He said the inking of this management agreement was another example of Hilton’s latest focus in finding the right strategic partners to do business with and expand their portfolio, in the right locations with the right brand.

“I am confident that this relationship will further develop as we identify other strategic locations in the country to expand Hilton and KDU’s portfolio of hotels,” he added.

Furthermore, he pointed out that DoubleTree by Hilton Rajawarana Resort is ideally placed for both domestic and international travellers and will be ready for operation in Q1 of next year.

Costley said Sri Lanka was an amazing country of diversity which was unique in Asia and globally and commended the country for attracting two million tourists last year and earning over $ 2 billion.

“Tourism will be an important, if not the most important, industry of Sri Lanka,” Costley said and expressed confidence in the country achieving the target of four million tourists by 2020.

Noting that all of Hilton’s brands are leaders in their respective segments, he said: “Today Hilton is among four of the top five global brands under development. More than one in five hotel rooms under construction globally is a Hilton branded hotel. Hilton wants to be the most hospitable company in the world by creating experiences for our guests, meaningful opportunities for team members, high values for owners and most importantly we want to give a positive impact to every community.”

Hilton was one of the first international hotel brands to enter Sri Lanka in 1987 and Costley reiterated that it was committed to contributing to the country’s growing travel and tourism sector as well as its social and economic progress.

KDU Group CEO Susantha Pinto told Daily FT that the firm has thus far invested around Rs. 4 billion and with the completion of the second phase total investment will be over Rs. 6 billion, which is funded internally by the company.

In addition to the property in Weerawila, he said the firm is now looking at three more hotel projects — a city hotel in Colombo and a lake front property in Dambulla, which they expect to brand under the umbrella of Rajawarana.

“In another five years’ time we are planning to list the company on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) to raise additional funds and to further expand the company,” Pinto added.

DoubleTree by Hilton Senior Vice President and Global Head Dianna Vaughan, in a statement, said: “With a fast growing, global portfolio of more than 500 upscale properties, they were delighted to award their award-winning DoubleTree by Hilton brand as it is gaining traction in Sri Lanka. The DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila will mark the fourth upcoming DoubleTree by Hilton property in this emerging market. As the first upscale hotel in Weerawila, we look forward to delivering exceptional experiences to guests beginning with our signature, warm DoubleTree Cookie welcome.”

Located in the town of Tissamaharama, the resort currently consists of 80 rooms, including three suites and a Presidential Suite, with plans to expand to 140 rooms in the near future. The spacious and elegant banquet hall is ideal for the perfect celebration, be it a wedding, family gathering or corporate event. Located in close proximity to the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, DoubleTree by Hilton Rajawarana Resort is centrally located within the reach of prominent tourist attractions in the vicinity, including the Sooriyawewa International Cricket Stadium, Udawalawe, Yala and Bundala National Parks, the Kataragama Temple, Kirinda and Wedihitikanda.

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