Posts Tagged ‘Aitken Spence Travels’

Aitken Spence Travels surpasses handling 100,000 visitors to Sri Lanka

Aitken Spence Travels, Sri Lanka’s leading Destination Management Company has surpassed the one hundred thousand milestone of handling visitors to Sri Lanka for the financial year of 2014/2015. This is a significant milestone in the Company’s 38-year history.

“We have continued to grow our business year on year and we are delighted with our results” noted Nalin Jayasundera Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels. “We have shown significant capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions and fuel growth in spite of the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. With these results, we are confident we will continue to have a major impact on the country’s tourism sector. Based on our numbers Aitken Spence Travels continues to be the highest contributor to the government’s Tourism Development Levy in Sri Lanka from amongst all travel companies” he added. Furthermore Aitken Spence Travels is a significant contributor to our partner hotels by providing 248,000 room nights annually, being the biggest supplier of inventory to the Hotels sector.

This achievement further reinforces the company’s number one position in the destination management business and is another feather in the cap of achievements which includes Aitken Spence Travels being awarded the Presidential award for three consecutive years and being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Aitken Spence was the winner of Presidential award for best Professional Conference Organizer (PCO) in Sri Lanka for 3 consecutive years and entered the Hall of Fame as well as being the recipient of Sri Lanka Tourism Award for Professional Conference Organizer. The company was also the proud recipient of the prestigious PATA gold award in 2014 under the Environment – Ecotourism Project category for an innovative excursion program developed together with the Elpitiya plantations.

Looking further Aitken Spence Travels hopes to continue to strengthen and build its international market position. We will continue to shape the tourism industry, by pioneering in terms of innovation in products and exploring markets, quality of the services offered and exceeding customer expectations.



SriLankan takes delivery of second A330-300, re-fleeting expected to power turnaround

SriLankan takes delivery of second A330-300, re-fleeting expected to power turnaround


SriLankan Airlines Friday took delivery of its second Airbus 330-300 continuing an extensive re-fleeting program it hopes will enable it to turnaround to profit from its present loss-making position.

The new aircraft named “The City of Sihagiri ” will be utilised on the major Far Eastern markets of Canton, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, the airline said in a news release.

This latest wide body A330-300 aircraft with superior inflight features and comfort, advanced technological features and enhanced fuel efficiency joins the airline’s existing all Airbus fleet. The fuel efficiency, particularly, is expected to be a major factor in a turnaround.

SriLankan CEO Kapila Chandrasena said, “The induction of another new A330-300 aircraft in to our fleet within a short span of two months is another testimony for our continuous efforts to modernise our aircraft fleet to deliver a superior flying experience for our valued passengers.

“We at SriLankan firmly believe the new A330-300s will be successful chapter for us in operational terms, with the most recently acquired aircraft reflecting a strong customer interest and high seat factors on the routes it has been deployed on to date.

“We have already received very encouraging feedback from our customers expressing high levels of satisfaction on the superior features and comfort of this aircraft.”

The A330-300 powered by twin Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines known for its proven passenger appeal and fuel efficiency is one of the most widely used wide body aircraft in service today.

With the latest arrival of a brand new aircraft and another five to follow during the course of 2015, SriLankan Airlines says it will offer its customers the luxury of completely transformed Business and Economy class cabin interiors.

“Passengers will be afforded a new flying experience whilst satisfying customer demand for increased capacity on the primary routes of the Far East thus enabling the airline to increase passenger traffic, strengthen load factors and improve on market share in leading growth markets of the region and including some of Sri Lanka’s main tourism generating markets,” the news release said.

Affording optimum levels of comfort in the aircraft cabin, this new A330-300 too will configure its layout seating 297 passengers in two classes accommodating 28 in Business Class with flatbed seats and 269 in Economy.  It also boasts of state- of-the- art cabin features, such as the latest Thales Avant Audio-Video on Demand (AVOD) and ambient lighting across both cabins, on-board wireless connectivity and ultra-comfort in seating, it added.

SriLankan said it is the first airline from the Indian Subcontinent to offer in-flight Wi-Fi and mobile phone access, enabling its passengers to stay productive and keep in touch with friends and family at affordable rates while flying.

The airline commenced its fleet renewal programme in October this year with the addition of the first A330-300 to its fleet. SriLankan will also be acquiring eight of the new generation A350-900s, with three due to be delivered in 2016 and a fourth in 2017 and the balance thereafter.


Russia, Ukraine crisis hits SL visitor arrivals

Hoteliers are expecting a good winter season with increased arrivals this year but this is likely to be dampened by a drop in Russian and Ukrainian travellers.

“We are concerned about the situation in Russia and Ukraine because the Russian Rouble is depreciating and destinations that operate in dollars might go to short haul locations,” Aitken Spence Travels MD Nalin Jayasundera told the Business Times.

He noted that the situation has aggravated further since Russian tour operators like Labirint and Solvex-Tourne have gone bankrupt.

According to foreign news agency reports the situation had arisen following the conflict in Ukraine that led to a slide in bookings for overseas trips leaving more than 50,000 Russians stranded overseas.

Unofficial data released by the Russian tourism authority had said in the agency report that the number of Russians travelling abroad dropped between 15-30 per cent, depending on destination, and the number of foreign tourists visiting Russia was down by as much as a fifth from last year.

In Sri Lanka, Russian travellers increased by 69 per cent to 44, 627 for January – August this year from the same 2013 period while Ukraine was down by 7 per cent to 20, 294 in the same period, according to the latest statistics released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
Mr. Jayasundera said Russian travellers usually tour the country during the winter season commencing from November to January and would holiday along the coastal belt for a minimum of a week patronising the 3 to 5 star hotel category.

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Aitken Spence Travels the only DMC to be awarded Gold from PATA

Sri Lanka’s largest Destination Management Company, Aitken Spence Travels will be presented the prestigious Gold Award at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Awards 2014 ceremony, taking place on 19 September, at the Diamond Island City Hall in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh for its ‘Elpitiya Plantations Excursions’ in the Environment – Ecotourism Project category.

Identified from amongst 181 entries from 66 organisations and individuals worldwide, Aitken Spence Travels has been recognised for its concept on tourism innovation and excellence. PATA is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The PATA Awards are presented to outstanding entries in four principal categories: Marketing; Education and Training; Environment; and Heritage and Culture.

“We are pleased to be the recipient of this prestigious award as the only Destination Management Company in Sri Lanka for the 2014 PATA awards.  Aitken Spence Travels is always thinking innovatively while placing importance on sustaining the environment that we operate in. Having developed this culture of differentiating ourselves, this award will inspire us to continue our efforts and fulfill the traveller’s needs,” noted Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels.

The award applauds Aitken Spence Travels for successfully transforming the inconspicuous Elpitiya town – that has originated as a result of plantation industry, to an experiential tourism destination. With emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable practices, ‘Elpitiya Plantations Excursion’ is designed to offer the traveller a memorable experience with its incorporation of activities involving local culture and environment. A trek through the rubber and tea plantation with various native practices such as ‘tapping the rubber tree’ and ‘plucking tea’ contributes to the authentic experience and affirms why the outing is distinctive.

The excursion benefits all segments of stakeholders involved, especially the local community, as a result of healthy interactions between the traveller and the locals. Enriching their livelihood, building strong bonds through cultural exchange of practices has allowed Aitken Spence Travels to place Elpitiya on the map for eco-tourism. With a significant presence in Maldives and fully diversified in to every aspect of tourism, Aitken Spence Travels is the leader in destination management in Sri Lanka. Partnered with the world’s largest name in travel, TUI Travel Plc, and with over third decade of experience, the company is backed by a reputation of being the most professional in the business. With the commitment towards offering sustainable tourism, Aitken Spence Travels is endowed the Carbon Neutral status by the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund and maintains ISO 9001:2008 and 14001:2004 certifications.




Arabian Travel Market opens today

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The 22nd edition, of the Arabian Travel Market boasted with more than nearly 3,000 exhibitors and stand-sharers, from nearly 100 countries will open today at Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre. The event would conclude on Thursday.

Sri Lanka Tourism has been participating at this event since 2003 along with the members of the travel and tourism industry in Sri Lanka and this is our 12th consecutive year of participation at the event with an expected number of 53co-exhibiting industry participants.

Dushan Wickramasuriya from Sri Lanka Tourism who is representing Sri Lanka Tourism said that this year the theme of the event would be wild life as there was a great response from the Gulf for this segment. “In addition this year Sri Lankan Tea board would have a stall providing free tea for any person”, he added.

He said that marketing in the Gulf is very important for Sri Lanka as the market can also target the large expatriate community. “We have being participating for the event for a long time and the results have being pleasing as we see a growth in the excess of 40% last year”, he noted. This annual tourism and hospitality event set to break all previous records with over 2,700 exhibitors, 68 national pavilions, 40 seminar and technology theatre sessions and over 21,000 trade visitors being expected.

The show has grown by 8% since 2013 and will welcome over 2,700 exhibitors, with 420 main stand holders and exhibitors from 83 countries as well as 68 national pavilions.

Record-breaking visitor numbers are also forecasted with over 21,000 local, regional and international industry professionals expected to attend. “89% took an overseas holiday in the last year with India, USA, Turkey, Maldives and France as the most popular destinations, commented Marcello Baricordi, General Manager UAE and Global Accounts Lead at Visa Inc. MENA.

Airwing Tours Ltd, Aitken Spence Hotel Managements (Pvt) Ltd, Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lankan Airlines, Amaya Leisure Plc. (Amaya Resorts & Spas), Andrew the Travel Company Pvt Ltd, Asia Leisure (Pvt) Ltd, Asian Adventures, Autumn Lanka Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, Citrus Leisure Plc, Connaissance De Ceylan (Pvt) Ltd, Crystal Holidays (pvt)Ltd, Diamond Leisure Pvt Ltd, Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka (pvt) Ltd, Eastern Hotel Developers (Pvt) Ltd, (Pigeon Island Beach Resort), Exotic Global Holidays (Pvt) Ltd, Explore Asia Holidays, Gemini Tours & Travels, Get Into Lanka Travels & Tours, Goldi Sands Hotels (Pvt) Ltd / Suriya, Luxury Resort, Hawk Travels (pvt) Ltd, Hayleys Tours, Hilton Colombo Residence, Hilton Hotel Colombo, Island Leisue Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Jetwing Travels & Hotels, Lanka Holidays. Net (Pvt) Ltd, Lanka Vacations (pvt) Ltd, LOLC Leisure Ltd, Luxe Asia & ceylon hotels, cooperation, Madulkelle Hotels & Lodges Pvt Ltd, Mahaweli Reach Hotel, Mandara Hotels / Rozen Tours, Mount Lavinia Hotel, NKAR Travels & Tours (Pvt) Ltd, Pandanus Beach Resort & Spa, Resplendend Ceylon Pvt Ltd (Tea Trails), Royal Holidays ,Serandib Leisure Management Ltd, Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort, Skymark Travels, Sunway Holidays, The Grand Hotel, Taprospa Spas Resorts, The Blue Water Hotel, The Elephant Corridor Hotel, The Galadari Hotel Colombo, The Kingsbury, United Holidays (pvt)Ltd, Walkers Tours Ltd, World Travel Centre Colombo (Pvt) Ltd


Aitken Spence facilitates Stamford School cricket tour to Sri Lanka

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Several visiting teams from Stamford School, Lincolnshire, England will be taking part in a friendly cricket tour of Sri Lanka have arrived in the country and will be here till April 9. The 55-member contingent will be accompanied with their coaches, including former England International cricketer, Dean Headley who is also a cricket professional at Stamford School. The group will be touring the island for a five match series in Kandy and the venues would be international cricketing grounds such as the Asgiriya Stadium and the Pallekele Stadium. The rest of the tour will see the touring teams play at P Sara Oval, De Zoysa Cricket Stadium, BRC, St. Thomas’ College, St. Joseph’s College and Thurstan College grounds.

Dean Hadley, cricket professional at Stamford School stated “The boys are really excited about visiting Sri Lanka as well as the staff, this experience of playing cricket in the subcontinent will always remain with them for the rest of their lives. We are always keen to tour places of different cultures that can offer all-round experiences for the English youth”.

Lions Sports Travel, the specialist sports travel arm of Barefoot Traveler, in collaboration with Stamford School have organised the tour, which will see the teams based initially in Mount Lavinia, before spending two nights each in Kandy and Negombo coupling the tour with education and insights into Sri Lankan History.

The group will visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and the famous Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. The Sports Unit of Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt) Ltd who have handled many tours of this nature in the past is handling the logistics for this tour.

A total of 25 competitively friendly games have been arranged with the assistance of Sri Lanka Cricket against some of Sri Lanka’s leading local school and club teams. The tourists will also participate in a charity drive donating cricket gear to underprivileged young cricketers through the Mahela Jayawardena Foundation.

Lions Sports Travel, Chief Executive Dipan Suwarneraj said, “Our school cricket tours are a great opportunity for students participating from both countries to mix and learn from each other whilst enjoying the fellowship that comes from playing cricket in a competitively friendly setting.”

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Beyond Boundaries conducts exciting ‘Super Chefs’ competition in Matale

Beyond Boundaries, the MICE arm of Eco Team, conducted a live cooking competition on the lines of the popular ‘Master Chef’ program on 21 April 2013 in a popular Spice Garden in Matale.


This activity was conducted for a group of 115 incentive clients from Portugal, brought to Sri Lanka by Aitken Spence Travels. Apart from the cooking competition – where the team was divided into 10 and cooked a chicken curry and a pot of rice – a competition was held to select the ‘Best Nosy Nose’ for each team, where participants had to identify Sri Lankan spices according to their fragrance. The team enjoyed the experience, which was organised by 10 BB facilitators. The event was ‘spiced up’ with live music, where participants took part in a dancing session as a grand finale.
Eco Team/Beyond Boundaries  is the leading service provider of ‘Meetings-Incentives-Conferences-Events’ in Sri Lanka for more than a decade, backed by an experienced management team which has ably handled over 660 programs.
Commenting on the success of event, Eco Team CEO Anuruddha Bandara said: “Beyond Boundaries is a unique and innovative outfit, always thinking outside-the-box, and we work with the Sri Lankan tour operators, adding value to their MICE programs. We, together with the Sri Lanka Conventions Bureau, help them to win bids not only going by the price but also by being innovative and different.” He added that Beyond Boundaries offers tailor-made programs to meet specific client needs and provides a myriad of choices to create an effective platform to deliver value-for-money, refreshingly new and inspiring team building events and activities for incentive programs.

Sri Lanka Convention Bureau  General Manager Vipula Wanigasekera said: “Sri Lanka’s strength in MICE tourism is predominantly reflected in the incentive travel segment which we need to promote aggressively.  Just offering tour itineraries to incentive houses will not make us look different to our competitors in spite of Sri Lanka’s diversity of locations. We are happy that Beyond Boundaries is coming up with creative programs that create many ‘ wow’ factors with fond memories which the participants will take back home and relate to other potential incentive travellers to Sri Lanka. They have actually filled a considerable void in that area.”

Meanwhile, Aitken Spence Travels Chief Operating Officer Tikiri Ellepola said that they had won the contract amidst a heavy competition and expectations from the client were very high. “We stretched ourselves to deliver nothing but the best for this incentive program and when we decided that some kind of novelty had to be provided during their tour, naturally we turned to the best in the industry – Beyond Boundaries . Aitken Spence bas been working with them for over a decade now and they have delivered fantastic experiences all the time. The Matale experience was not an exception; they delivered a really great experience for our clients.” Ellepola added that the venue for the activity was selected in keeping with the sustainable tourism approach the company strongly believes in. “We made sure that the locale community was also benefited,” he added.