Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Aitken Spence ups bottom line by 12% to Rs. 3.7 b in FY14

90 Blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC yesterday reported profit attributable to shareholders of Rs. 3.7 billion in Financial Year 2013/14, an increase of 11.7% over the previous year’s profit of Rs. 3.3 billion. Profit before tax was Rs. 5.4 billion and profit after tax was Rs. 4.5, recording growth of 7.6% and 5.5% respectively. The diversified Group’s annual revenue declined marginally to Rs. 36.6 billion whilst earnings per share improved by 11.7% to Rs. 9.04 for the financial year. In a statement Aitken Spence said the Group’s bottom line was driven primarily by the Tourism sector. Sri Lanka welcomed over 1.27 million tourists during the year 2013, with a target of 1.5 million set for 2014.The boom in the tourism industry was reflected in the Group’s performance with the revenue of the Tourism sector for the financial year growing by 9.4 % to Rs. 16.9 billion and profit before tax surging by 26.3 % to Rs. 4.4 billion.

During the period, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC, the Group’s hotel owning strategic business unit, entered into a shareholders’ agreement with RIU Hotels of Spain to build a 500-room luxury resort in Ahungalla, costing approximately $ 100 million. The construction of the hotel is expected to commence during the second half of the financial year 2014/15.
Annual revenue for the Maritime Cargo Logistics sector increased 15.3% to Rs. 7.3 billion whilst profits before tax for the sector increased by 26% to Rs. 709 million. Entry into a strategic partnership in Fiji for port management services through the acquisition of a 51% shareholding in Ports Terminal Ltd. – the first- ever public-private partnership overseas by a Sri Lankan company recorded to date, was a highlight for the year.

Services sector reported revenue of Rs. 819.6 million for the financial year under consideration which was a growth of 11.5 %, and a profit before tax of Rs. 180.5 million, a growth of 10.2% compared to the previous year. The Strategic Investments sector reported a year-on-year decrease of 16.1% in revenue to Rs. 15.3 billion, while profit before tax dropped by 81.1% to Rs. 159.8  million for the financial year primarily due to the Aitken Spence power plants in Matara and Horana not being operational during the reporting period consequent to the cessation of the power purchase agreements. Further, a provision for impairment of approximately Rs. 400 million was made in respect of the remaining assets of these two companies, which dragged down the profits of the sector. The company disposed of the Horana power plant during the financial year, while the 100 MW power plants at Embilipitiya remained operational, albeit with lower generation due to excessive rainfall during the first nine months of the financial year.

During the period under review the Group inaugurated a landmark project by investing in a luxury retirement homes complex that will comprise 140 villas and associated high-end facilities located at a 30-acre site in Negombo. The project aims to attract Sri Lankans living overseas who wish to return to their homeland as well as foreign nationals who wish to retire and live in Sri Lanka.

“The company has been able to deliver consistent results through a combination of strategic foresight and the capacity to transform challenges into opportunities. These qualities have been underpinned by a well-diversified business model that supports the company’s growth trajectory,” said Chairman Deshamanya D.H.S. Jayawardena. “Our strategies for the long term and exploration of potential new areas of business factor in the company’s responses to some of the key future trends,” he added. The Group announced a dividend of Rs. 2 per share which is a 33% increase over the previous year subject to approval by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s leading and most respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South Pacific.
It is an industry leader in hotels, travel, maritime services, logistics, power generation and printing, with a significant presence in plantations, financial services, insurance, information technology and apparel.



Sri Lanka Tourism to target more German tourists at ITB

More than 60,000 visitors came to find out about the wide-ranging information on offer from exhibitors and providers of niche market products.

Sri LankaTourism will use ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel show beginning today and ending on Saturday to woo more German tourists to Sri Lanka while SriLankan Airlines will use the event for networking and surging alliances.

The theme of this year’s Sri Lankan stand is nature, culture and adventure and great emphasis will be laid on depicting its culture and also the country’s wildlife. For this a mammoth replica of the entrance to the Yapahuwa Kingdom has been erected at the entrance to the Lankan stall. Sri Lankan Airlines will also host a press conference on day two for the international media. The ITB Berlin is an international media event.

In 2013 about 6,000 journalists attended the world’s largest trade show for the travel industry out of who about 1,500 came from abroad. In addition to the industry’s leading trade magazines, business and travel journalists from 80 countries reported on the latest travel trends and products.

More than 60,000 visitors came to find out about the wide-ranging information on offer from exhibitors and providers of niche market products. For the first time, visitors at the weekend were able to book their tours directly at ITB Berlin. A poll among visitors revealed that one in three intended to book a trip.

ITB Berlin is the leading trade fair for the worldwide travel industry. In 2013 a total of 10,086 companies and organisations from 188 countries exhibited their products and services to 170,000 visitors, who included 110,000 trade visitors.

Subsequently ITB Asia was held in Singapore from October 23 to 25, 2013 at Suntec Singapore. With this three-day trade show and convention ITB Asia provides an ideal platform for the Asian travel market.

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Sri Lanka Tourism celebrates ‘Avurudu’ with tourists

Under the theme of ‘Sri Lanka Hospitality 2013’, Sri Lanka Tourism celebrated Sinhala and Hindu New year (Avurudu) at Negombo beach (opposite Hotel Camelot) recently. The celebration was rich with Sinhala and Hindu ‘Avurudu’ rituals, which are exclusively found in Sri Lanka.

Negombo Avurudu 1

Under the guidance of Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has already taken steps to provide exposure of unique Sri Lankan culture and rituals to the world and thereby to convey the message that Sri Lanka is a very positive destination. The ‘Avurudu’ celebrations were also done with this purpose.

The selection of ‘Avurudu Kumara’ and ‘Avurudu Kumari’ or the New Year Prince and Princess, among the events, was the most eye-catching event. Miss Yevegenia Kotenko from Russia and Shota Kiladze from Russia secured ‘Avurudu Kumari’ and ‘Avurudu Kumara’ titles respectively, for the year 2013. The event also offered the experience of ‘Avurudu’ sports to the participants who enjoyed pillow fighting, tug of war, bursting of balloons and climbing the grease pole and marking the eye on elephant and so on.

All the foreign visitors to the event were warmly welcomed according to Sinhalese rituals and they were entertained with cultural performances and the beat of the ‘Rabana’. They were also provided a chance to see how ‘Kevum’ or oil cakes are cooked and to taste such freshly cooked oil cakes. The guidance and the advice of SLTPB Chairman, Bashwara Gunarathna was highly important in making this event a colorful one. Western Province Tourist Board Chairman, Claude Thomas also played a major role in organizing this event. Other than the SLTPB and Western Province Tourist Board, Negombo Hoteliers Association, Sri Lanka Travel Journalist’s Association also took part in organizing this event. The support extended by Sri Lanka Police, Negombo Tourist taxi drivers Association and three wheelers Associations is commendable.

Western Province Tourism Minister, Nimal Lanza, was the Chief Guest and SLTPB Managing Director Rumy Jauffer, Western Province Tourist Board Chairman Claude Thomas, SLTPB Board Member Mervin Fernandopulle participated as Chief Guests at this event.


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SriLankan Airlines partners with World Travel Awards

SriLankan Airlines, the national airline of Sri Lanka, has become an event partner with the World Travel Awards for the first ever Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony, to be held in the Maldives this Sunday.

The Black tie event will be held on May 12 at the Paradise Island Resort in the Lankanfinolhu of North Male’ Atoll.

SriLankan Airlines head of worldwide sales, Lal Perera, has said the Airline considers it a privilege to be associated with the World Travel Awards, which, according to Breaking Travel News, is widely acknowledged as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’ and is seen as a premier networking event for industry professionals from all over the world.

“SriLankan Airlines considers it a privilege to be associated with the World Travel Awards as an event partner on this memorable occasion, which coincides with Maldives celebrating forty triumphant years in Tourism Promotion,” Perera has said.

SriLankan Airlines, and its predecessors, Air Ceylon and Air Lanka have been operating to the Maldives since the 1970s.

“SriLankan Airlines has transported more passengers to and from the Maldives than any other airline and in addition to Male; we are currently considering operating to Gan Island as well,” Perera has added.

Sion Rapson, global business director, World Travel Awards, has said that SriLankan continues to be a major driving force as a carrier in the region, and is extremely proactive in their commitment towards tourism in the Indian Ocean and Maldives.


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Aitken Spence bags top travel awards

Only travel company in Sri Lanka to enter the Hall of Fame, Aitken Spence Travels won the awards for the Best Tour Operator Emerging Market and Best Conference Organiser at the Fifth Sri Lanka Tourism Awards. The company’s first employee and also a past Chairman of Aitken Spence PLC Prema Cooray were recognised with a Legend award.

Having won the award for the Best Tour Operator in Sri Lanka in the first three years, Aitken Spence was the only travel company so far to enter the Awards Hall of Fame.

(Aitken Spence Travels senior management team with the top travel awards.)

Being a futuristic company, it has already thought of the future and has aligned with its joint venture partner TUI Travel PLC to cater to all important segments of the market. TUI Travel PLC is the largest integrated leisure company in the world.

They own over 150 aircraft, 3,500 retail shops in Europe, market leading tour operators in main tourist generating countries and is the leader in online services in tourism.

They are also the leader in cruise handling and operate its own cruise line Hapag Lloyd. TUI is the No. One Leisure hotelier in Europe with nine brands.

In order to consolidate its market leadership position Aitken Spence Travels is now a part of the umbrella brand Worldcome which will further enhance its marketing capability worldwide.

With regards to the important and fast growing online segment Aitken Spence Travels has teamed up with Hotelbeds to procure services in Sri Lanka. Aitken Spence Travels is already a member of Intercruises the world’s largest network providing shore excursions to cruise operators. They are currently in negotiations with the leading international brand Pacificworld serving the MICE segment to increase their foothold in the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions segment. In Adventure Travel, they are in discussions with Purequest brand developed within the TUI group to cater to Adventure Travel.

Commenting on the accolades received, Gehan M. Perera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels and Director of Aitken Spence PLC attributes the remarkable achievements to the exceptional team at Aitken Spence who continue to rise above themselves and out-perform the market consistently.

“Such achievements and to retain market leadership position for such long period is only possible if we continue to work as a well-knit team, to offer outstanding value and service to our customers and principals.”

“We are indeed grateful to all our hotel partners and suppliers in Sri Lanka as well as all our overseas tour operators who have supported us throughout our long journey. Whilst acknowledging this honour with humility, we will re-dedicate ourselves to support our partners even more and exceed our customer’s expectations, whilst expanding our operations with the new initiatives taken by the company to operate on an international platform.”