Posts Tagged ‘Sri Lanka’

Ceylon Tea to engage new markets to confront prevailing challenges


A tea plantation near Kandy. Ceylon Tea became a casualty of reduced buying from the Middle Eas

Director General, Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) Anura Siriwardena said last week that the SLTB is currently exploring the possibility of marketing tea in 25 countries.

This move comes at a time when the Colombo Tea Auction continued to record minus results with western, high-grown, and low-grown tea recorded minus price levels compared to 2014, presenting a real challenge.

The new market being explored would include China, Japan, the US and other destinations, where Ceylon Tea could be conveniently accessed for enhanced consumption. Sales strategies expected to be explored would include expanded sales destinations. Allocated funds to implement these expansion plans would amount to Rs. 3 billion. These plans would be implemented towards the latter part of 2015.

Would this spell disaster in the short run? John Keels Holdings (tea brokers), did not think so. CEO, JKH, (tea brokers) Sudath Munasinghe said such vicissitudes did test the tea industry in the past; ‘but we survived.’

Commenting further he said Russian buying and the Middle East market saw reduced demand. He agreed this was worrying but reiterated that the sales operations were not in serious trouble. At least not as yet.

The Russian Ruble depreciated because of their Ukraine problem. Plunge in oil prices reverberated worldwide, but Ceylon Tea was a casualty because of reduced buying from the Middle East.

What of Pakistan and their consumption of Ceylon Tea? Munasinghe said he agreed Pakistan was one of our major buyers, but shifted their buying loyalties to Kenya. Particularly because Kenyan tea was cheaper. Pakistan buying of Ceylon Tea dwindled to just 1.5 %.

Would President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent visit to Pakistan see any significant improvement to their tea-buying? He said answers to that question could not be given right away, but talks between both leaders resulted in improved bilateral relations.

Currently we cannot not identify if tea is on Pakistan’s agenda; but positive developments could be expected.

With US and EU sanctions easing on Iran, we could expect more buying from Iranian buyers in the coming weeks.

The Asia Siyaka Weekly Tea Update too did not contradict reduced market trends for Ceylon Tea, but extended their research to other tea auction centers. Reporting on Mombasa auctions, the report said although sales were adequate, prices were down comparatively. India was reeling under the phenomenon of bad weather. India was not distinctly dependent on tea-buying countries, because of its substantial internal consumption.

The tea sales average at all elevations declined. Inclusive end March, prices averaged Rs 415.64 per kilo.



Aitken Spence Brings Brazil’s Leading Tour Operators to Sri Lanka

Twelve leading tour operators and destination promoters from Brazil arrived in Sri Lanka last week on a week-long familiarization tour sponsored by the country’s largest destination management company, Aitken Spence Travels.


Aitken Spence Chairman Harry Jayawardena meets the Brazilian Tour Operators.

The tour is being jointly organized by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Brazil and Aitken Spence Travels. The operators visiting Sri Lanka are amongst largest members of BRAZTOA, the umbrella organization of travel companies in South America’s largest nation, Aitken Spence Travels said in a news release.

“Brazil is one of the emerging economic giants with a population that is becoming increasingly global in its outlook, with corresponding growth in international travel. It is in the long-term interest of Sri Lanka to develop a healthy mix in its tourist portfolio. Over the last decade we have been aggressively targeting new markets for Sri Lanka which we believe has contributed to not only our growth as a company but also to Sri Lanka as a destination”, said Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels.

Aitken Spence Travels is joint venture between the world’s leading travel company TUI Travel PLC and local conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC.

During the eight day familiarization program organized by Aitken Spence Travels, the Brazilian tour operators will have the opportunity of visiting many of the islands key tourist hotspots, including the Cultural Triangle, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya, Yala National Park, Galle and the south west coast, the news release said.

The visiting party were hosted for a welcome dinner at the Taj Samudra Colombo on Wednesday. The Brazilian representatives were met by the Chairman of Aitken Spence PLC Deshamanya D H S Jayawardena, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Brazil Raja Edirisuriya, Aitken Spence Deputy Chairman & Managing Director J M S Brito, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels Nalin Jayasundera, Vice President/COO of Aitken Spence Travels Tikiri Ellepola and Area Director Sri Lanka & General Manager Taj Samudra Rohit Khosla.

Ambassador Edirisuriya said that attracting Brazilian tourists is only a matter of making them aware of the uniqueness of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. He was optimistic that tourist arrivals from Brazil can be increased substantially if an effective promotional campaign is launched.

With increasing disposable income, Brazil is becoming an important source for global tourism, especially for Asian countries. According to Euromonitor International, the number of outbound tourist trips from Brazil continued to increase strongly in 2013, growing by more than 12% to reach 9.1 million trips. This increase was well above Latin America´s average of 7% for the same year.

Asia has become one of the new destinations for many Brazilians and an increasing number of tourists visit Asian countries every year. Thailand alone receives more than 40,000 tourists from Brazil annually, leading Brazilian tour operators, said that Sri Lanka will be a highly demanded destination by many Brazilians in years to come.

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Ramada Hotel looking to expand in Germany and SL

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Franchise holder of Ramada Hotel in Frankfurt, Sam Samarasinghe is looking at expanding in both Germany and Sri Lanka. Group and Sales and Marketing Manager, Millennium Hospitality International, Laura Nicli said that they currently managing five hotels in Frankfurt City centre area and are looking at expanding.

We have over 500 beds in both rooms and in hostels, she said. We are currently in the process of upgrading these five properties Mercure, Ramada Frankfurt, Clarion Collection, Comfort Hotel and the up market United Hostel from time to time to meet the growing demand of our diversified clientele.

She said that their main clientele are business and leisure travelers who patronize there hotels for short stays, on average two days. Our clientele also include Sri Lankans and many South Asians as well.

She said that Frankfurt also hosts many international events including conferences, exhibitions and other MICE events, these help them to maintain high occupancies YOY. Many hotels are over booked due to this factor and also due to our hotel being placed near the city centre in Frankfurt. Sri Lankan born Chairman Nihal Samarasinha, who has being in Frankfurt for over 40 years said that they are looking at Sri Lanka seriously as the country has great positional. Samarasinghe, who is also the Deputy Chairman, Global Towers Management (Pvt) Limited told Daily News that they would be investing on similar property in Jaffna. This 100 room hotel would see an investment of Rs. 750 million and it would be branded as Global Towers Jaffna.

“This will be the first of its kind hotel in Jaffna where people would be even able to buy apartments and rent it back to them to manage. This concept is also available at our Wellawatte property, Global Towers,” he said.

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Underwater voyages, a lucrative potential for Tourism industry

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Giving the divers the ability to literally submerge in history, Shipwreck driving, now considered as a top tourism product world over, has immense potential in the Sri Lankan context. With historical records noting over 200 shipwrecks around the country, shipwreck diving could be developed as a great attraction and an ideal tourism product as the industry moves to discover newer experiences to deliver to those visiting the island.

As shipwreck diving grows as a tourism product the world over, Sri Lanka’s very own Dharshana Jayawardena recently discovered an ancient artifact of the forgotten SS Worcestershire that was built in 1904, off the coast of Mount Lavinia.

In 2009, Jayewardene (who is also the Editor of was intrigued to find a mark of a ship on the Admiralty Sea Charts off the coast of Mount Lavinia. Intent on finding this ship, he dived to the location marked on the map . Finally in 2011, after many survey dives, he was rewarded when, with the help of local fishermen, he located a massive ship at 57 meters of depth within five km of the last known location of the Worcestershire.

Over the next three years Jayawardena conducted twenty-two expeditions to the ship in search of evidence for its name. After years of diving to the depths of the sea where the ship was anticipated to have been wrecked in 1917 , he recently struck gold, coming home with a bell from the shipwreck with the words ‘Worcestershire’ and ‘Liverpool’ gleaming in pride.

Speaking of his find and discussing its tourism potential Jayawardena said “With Sri Lanka being considered as a leading dive destination in the world new discoveries of historical ships and their identity has the potential to generate much interest in this sector. Die hard enthusiasts will travel even far and wide to visit a destination to dive and view such ships. I believe that industry stakeholders should look in to the possibility of assisting in discovering more finds if this nature that will promoting this sport as a new tourism offering from Sri Lanka.”

Jayawardena added “By promoting shipwreck diving as a tourism product, it could generate considerable revenue to the industry and the country. This is a very lucrative business in other countries and brings in much revenue as a high profile adventure sport. It will also lure in high end tourists to visit Sri Lanka to dive these wrecks. This in turn will create new job opportunities in terms of hiring of boats and equipment as well as dive centres and hotels catering specially for the diving community.

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Public and private cruises to be launched along country’s west coast

avc 3Sri Lanka’s first tourist yachting company, Sail Lanka Charter (Pvt) Ltd, recently announced the launch of public and private cruises along the country’s west coast on board the company’s 48 foot sailboat, Topaz which is moored at the Beruwala Harbour.

Sail Lanka Charter is a partnership between a local shipyard and a French couple, Elodie Le Blevenec and Julien Carayon, who are both professional navigators. The couple has more than 10 years’ experience in sailing and now manages this brand-new Sri Lankan sailing boat. “We have been sailing for more than 10 years in the West Indies and Mediterranean Sea. The first time we visited Sri Lanka, we wanted to start something like this but we got to know there was no proper sailing boat to introduce yachting in Sri Lanka and that’s when we chartered the Topaz,” Elodie said. She explained that sailing on the boat was not for a specific purpose like whale watching or to go from point A to B, but to appreciate sailing while enjoying Sri Lanka’s spectacular coastal scenery.

The boat was manufactured in Koggala by a company called Baramundi Boat Yard especially for this type of cruise. “It’s a really open boat with a large and open deck which can accommodate up to 30 people,” she said. Sail Lanka Charter does daily departures from Beruwala harbour and the company has three kinds of programmes. “The morning programme is called fun and chill out because the sea is calm and the weather beautiful. It’s perfect for a family who wants to experience sailing. We can even stop over for a swim on this 3-hour tour from 9am to 12 pm,” Elodie said.

The afternoon programme is sportier and adventurous which is from 1pm to 4pm, while in the evenings the company offers a sunset cruise from 5-7pm which is limited to 6 couples with a cocktail buffet and priced at Rs.16,000 per guest. Both the morning and afternoon programmes are priced at Rs.7,500 per adult and Rs.4,700 for children under 12. Babies under 3 years get in free.

“We also provide for any private event like a corporate function, wedding, birthday party etc. Here you can decide the time and the route,” she added.

Baramundi Boat Yard produces boats for the French market and is headed by a Belgian, Jacob Pringiers who noticed the potential for entertainment on the ocean in Sri Lanka.

“We were looking for a partner that understands sailing and the charter business, and that’s when we found this young couple to partner with,” Pringiers explained. He further stated that the plan now was to get the tour operators involved as well. “We have had talks with Walkers Tours and Jetwing and the response has been excellent since this is a first of its kind,” he said. ny, for a value equivalent to the net book value of the general insurance business as at the date of transfer.

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Hikkaduwa-based hospitality firm to go public; bets high on Japanese tourists

Bansei Royal Resorts Hikkaduwa (Private) Limited (Bansei), a 38-year old hotel located in the Southern coast is to list shares in its entirety on DiriSavi Board of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) by way of an introduction, before end of March.

To this end, the company has submitted an application to list 53.73 million ordinary voting shares for which the CSE has given approval in principle.

As of March 10, 2014, Delmege Group Managing Director and former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Director General Channa De Silva held 51 percent stake in Bansei Royal Resorts, being the single largest shareholder followed by another 39 percent by Japan based Bansei Securities Company Limited.

The majority shares of the Bansei formerly known as Coral Rock Hotel (Private) Limited was earlier held by investor Nimal Perera, immediate past Chairman of Bank of Ceylon Gamini Wickramasinghe and De Silva.

After Wickramasinghe’s divestment of stake to the Japanese entity, the company was re-named as Bansei Royal Resorts Hikkaduwa (Private) Limited with effect from February 28, 2014. However, Perera still holds 1.66 stake of the hotel.

Despite the ownership, the hotel management is carried out by Hayleys Group through Amaya Leisure PLC in a joint agreement entered in for 3-years from December 2011 to December 2014.

While listing of shares by way of an introduction will not bring additional capital, a source closed to the company said raising fresh capital is very much the objective in the second stage.

Bansei is the third company to be listed in the CSE this year after the Initial Public Offerings by Millennium Housing Developers Limited and Alumex Limited.

Meanwhile the company has made an application to the SEC seeking approval to list shares that were allotted within a 12-month period from the date of the initial listing application and also to waive the lock in period for 218 public shareholders.

The SEC has given approval for both requests, subjected to conditions where one such condition is that the company should ensure that the minimum public holding requirement both percentage and the number of shareholders applicable to the DiriSavi Board is for a period of 6 months from the date of listing.

Further the two main shareholders Bansei Securities Company Limited and De Silva have provided an undertaking to the SEC that they would not divest their shareholding to the public for a period of 12 months, subsequent to the date of listing.

During the year ended March 31, 2013 the company’s top line grew by 161 percent Year-on-Year to Rs. Rs.77.6 million while its bottom-line turned a positive Rs. 5.4 million with an earnings per share of Rs.7.43.

The 34-room resort located in prime beach land on the Hikkaduwa strip is betting their future growth on the Japanese tourists and continued positive growth trajectory in the Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.

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Anantaya promises unmatched dining experience

A vast, isolated beach, the magnificent Indian Ocean and the Chilaw lagoon filled with large stretches of mangroves make up the breathtaking surroundings of Anantaya Chilaw, the soon to be unveiled luxury beach resort of LAUGFS Leisure (LL).

The serene allure of Anantaya’s environment is complemented by comprehensive work and leisure facilities and world class service quality. Realizing that food is an essential element of the guest experience, LL has ensured that the F & B options are highly guest centralized and set Anantaya apart from other resorts.

Afzal Mulafer, F & B Manager of Anantaya is confident that the offerings of the resort are unmatched in Sri Lanka’s leisure sector. “Our F & B motto is ‘human beings delighting human beings by providing exotic dining’. Anantaya is no ordinary hotel and we offer a natural harmony of F & B options which are unmatched by any other hotel in the country, resulting in ultimate satisfaction of our guests.”

With its focus on exotic dining, Anantaya allows guests the opportunity to personally select the ingredients they prefer in their food, ensuring that the meals are ideal for their health and mood while gratifying their taste buds. Menus that cater to both the calorie and the ingredient conscious are available, providing a truly inclusive dining experience for all lifestyles.

Creative cocktail and beverage menus which offer a wide range of wine and beer are also available. Anantaya stocks a range of organic wines, which is rarely found in Sri Lanka although immensely popular in Europe. Guests are encouraged to visit the wine cellar and handpick the wine of their choice.

Both the main restaurant and the fine dining restaurant create a soothing outdoor atmosphere with a cooling breeze and a mesmerizing view of the Indian Ocean and is a true reflection of the hotel’s location and ambiance.

A pool terrace and a well stocked bar with action stations for snack meals and cocktails provide guests the freedom of lounging around the pool in between swims while relaxing to beautiful and soothing melodies. Containing a wide range of juices and an eclectic mix of cocktails made not merely to intoxicate but to lift spirits, the pool bar is truly one of the best in the island. With such a diverse range of F & B offerings, the guests of Anantaya Chilaw are bound to leave with lasting memories of their stay and the unique dining experience.


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