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Sri Lanka Tourism Sector

by Gamarala
........ by contrast, most of Far East and European countries see significantly lower number of MidEast tourists and their forward bookings too.

Actually this isn't that big a deal. We had 700 tourists in May, and 1,100 in june from the Middle East. So the 85% is really like 500 people more.

Anyway, I can't wait to visit SL in 27 days :banana:

Hope you have fun :)

  • The Ministry of Tourism has determined the room only rates in star hotels in Colombo and identified the hotel bands.

    Accordingly the room only rate will range from US dollars 40 to 120.

    There are one to six bands categorized including a segment called apartments in the analysis of the ministry on room only rates.

    The reactivation of the minimum room only levy is done in terms of the Tourism Act No.38 of 2005.

    The influx of tourists has increased after the conclusion of the terrorist war and more hotels are to be constructed islandwide to meet the demand.

    http://www.news.lk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10928&Itemid=44
    - Gamarala, 5 years ago
  • http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/ArticleImages/e10jyj550oboyh45fht1jk2l_is600.jpg

    A foreign guests checks into a five-star hotel in Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo on August 3, 2009. Sri Lanka on August 3 announced plans to raise luxury hotel rates ahead of an expected boom in tourist arrivals following the ending of decades of ethnic violence.

    Deluxe hotels in Colombo have been ordered to raise their minimum room-only rates to 120 USD, while accommodation in smaller hotels will also be raised with basic accomodation set to rise to 40 USD. Room rates in Colombo are currently between 35 to 100 USD amid a slight increase in foreign visitors after government forces crushed Tamil Tiger rebels in May and declared an end to four decades of ethnic war. AFP PHOTO
    - saraprobe, 4 years ago
  • Aug 06, 2009 (LBO) - So after much effort we decided to get rid of the inane "Land Like No Other" tagline and launch the new brand "Small Miracle." Now the former JVP presidential candidate and present tourism minister wants to replace it by consulting "leading scholars" in a few days.
    Throw away years of systematic work by experts in brand positioning and replace it in days with the opinions of people of the Honorable Minister’s choosing.

    This is not surprising because these people ran an entire election campaign on the promise of removing the "plug" from the World Economy.

    It is superfluous to go on about how brands should be developed. Dr Uditha Liyanage has given the master class: http://www.dailynews.lk/2009/07/13/fea03.asp. Clearly, this is a matter that should be left to professionals.

    But let us look at some facts. There is no dispute about the miracle. So let us focus on “small.”

    What adjective shall we replace this with? “Big”? “Great”? Instead of relying on the Honorable Minister’s handpicked scholars, let’s marshal some evidence (not for a moment suggesting that facts of this kind, rather than focus groups, should be the basis of taglines). Successful brand positioning requires looking at the problem from the perspective of the potential customer.

    From a tourist’s perspective, what matters is geographical size. Tourists come to see countries and experience things.

    By area, Sri Lanka is 121st out of 233 states and territories. Within the SAARC, it is larger than only Bhutan (135th) and the Maldives (202nd). Of the world’s surface area, it constitutes 0.04 percent. [United Nations Statistics Division (2006), Demographic Yearbook—Table 3: Population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dyb2006/Table03.pdf]

    A little difficult to make the case for “big,” unless one subscribes to the theory that Madagascar once belonged to Sri Lanka (this was stated in all seriousness by a handpicked scholar at a meeting convened by the then Prime Minister in the weeks after the tsunami).

    What about people, whose inherent friendliness is highlighted by the video? The quantity of people does not seem to be very relevant to a tourist’s decision to visit a country, but nevertheless, let us see if Sri Lanka is not small in that regard.

    Sri Lanka is 56th out of 223 states and territories; with 0.3 percent of the world’s population. Again, larger than only Bhutan (161st) and the Maldives (176th) within the SAARC region. Our immediate neighbour and natural reference point, India (2nd), has 58 times our population and is 50 times our size in area. Big and its synonyms will not simply work.

    But what about “great”? There is one country, ill-represented by a somewhat petulant Foreign Minister in recent times, that has had “Great” in its name since 1707. It used to be rather powerful, ruling an empire over which the sun never set. Even after its power ebbed, it has retained the label, though few use it, United Kingdom being the preferred nomenclature. Occasionally one hears snickering about what’s great about Great Britain. Not a good precedent.

    The last king who was justly called Great in Sri Lanka was Parakramabahu (1153-1186 CE). Is it possible that because the armed forces vanquished the LTTE with support of the adroit political/diplomatic actions of Basil Rajapaksa MP and Lalith Weeratunge SLAS among others under the able leadership of the President, we now deserve the title Great?

    Parakramabahu was called great by posterity and perhaps also by his contemporaries. He may have ordered it in his lifetime, but he could not have ordered those who came after his death to do so. The point here is that accolades are given not assumed.

    And we must recall, what is being done here is to try to get more tourists to come here, not win an election or rewrite history. Invoking war is not the best way to do that.

    So what are we left with? The result of the scientific process of brand positioning. The tourist industry is run by the private sector with promotion and other common activities funded by levies taken from those who use the airport. What the new Act did was to give the responsibilities for the sector over to representatives of the private sector.

    There is no way that every single person in a country can agree on a tagline, a song and a video (though the video is spectacular). But clearly it is better than “Land Like No other” that said nothing. Why doesn't the Honorable Minister find something else to do with his time, like pasting posters on the streets of Colombo ordering tourists to visit Sri Lanka? What expertise does he possess that those in the industry and those in marketing like Dr Uditha Liyanage do not have?

    Is this not another inane act like the fiddling around with standard time by the Kumaratunge and Rajapaksa administrations? In the old days policies were changed willy nilly when governments changed; now they have to be changed every time Ministerial responsibilities are reassigned. Is capricious vacillation any way to run a country?

    Do not vacillate or you will be left in between doing something, having something and being nothing. – Ethiopian proverb
    - saraprobe, 4 years ago
  • Tourism ministry is bound to go to hell with a jvp assclown at the helm, with all their nationalisation and marxism crap.
    - sjinadasa, 4 years ago
  • An eco-hotel in Sri Lanka

    By Susan Elderkin

    Published: August 8 2009 01:44 | Last updated: August 8 2009 01:44

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3643/3361920175_feeb8cc8b6.jpg

    It’s a nerve-wracking business, deciding what book to pack when travelling. The wrong novel in the wrong place can be a disaster, ruining either the holiday or the book – as I once discovered when I tried, and failed, to immerse myself in the snowy battlefields of War and Peace when baking on a beach in Greece.

    It was by chance that I happened to be reading JG Ballard’s The Drowned World while travelling in Sri Lanka. Ballard, who died in April, is known for his novels depicting apocalyptic futures. That of The Drowned World is particularly nightmarish. Temperatures and sea levels have risen, and the few surviving humans, including the main character, Kerans, eke out a precarious existence in the penthouse suites of submerged hotels. Rendered almost catatonic by the heat, they are watched by packs of hungry reptiles – giant iguanas, monitor lizards, alligators and sea-snakes in salty lagoons – while an omnivorous jungle encroaches through windows shorn of their glass.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3649/3475115159_98c2e9568f.jpg

    With this as yet unopened book in my bag, I blithely checked into the Heritance Kandalama in central Sri Lanka, the wondrous eco-hotel designed by the country’s best-loved architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa. A pioneering work of green architecture, the Kandalama is designed to merge with the landscape and rejects the usual segregation of inside and outside. Built into a dramatic outcrop of gneiss and surrounded by lush jungle and a large lake, it is a deeply sensuous place. Real boulders burst through the simple geometry of its walls, and the serpentine corridors are open to the breeze and the birds. Guests are encouraged to imitate the staff and walk barefoot on the soft, polished cement – either warm or cool depending on the time of day. Every so often on your travels you arrive at an exquisitely framed view, a Bawa trademark, with a table and chair positioned just so before it. The day begins and ends with a chorus of shrieks, beeps, croaks and hoots from the jungle, and there is little to do in between but sit by the turquoise infinity pool and let the heat and a Lion lager induce a state of lethargy.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3560/3475125009_1efa18990a.jpg

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/34636824-82e2-11de-ab4a-00144feabdc0.html
    - Amal, 4 years ago
  • Post war Sri Lanka's July tourist arrivals up 28 pct

    COLOMBO, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped 28 percent in July from a year ago, its second straight rise since May last year due to the end of of a decades-long war, the Indian Ocean island nation's tourism board said on Thursday.

    "This is mainly due to the peace situation in the country," S. Kalaiselvam, director general at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, told Reuters.

    Overall arrivals in January-July fell 10.6 percent to 129,952 compared to 257,345 a year ago, mainly due to a drop in visitors from western Europe and south Asia.

    But more visitors were coming, since January-June arrivals fell by 16.3 percent, data showed.

    "We are confident of achieving at least similar to last year's figure and revenue. Our target is to get 2.5 million tourists and $2.5 billion revenue in 2016," Kalaiselvam said.

    Sri Lanka's military declared victory over Tamil Tiger separatists in a 25-year war on May 18.

    Sri Lanka received 438,475 visitors in 2008, a drop of 11.2 percent from a year earlier. Tourist revenue declined by 11.2 percent to $342 million as visitors stayed away because of intense fighting.

    Sri Lanka is targeting half a million arrivals and $400 million in earnings in 2010. (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Bryson Hull)

    http://in.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idINCOL12822120090813
    - Amal, 4 years ago
  • Aitken Spence eye war-torn areas for tourism

    Aug 07, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence said it was eyeing tourism projects in the north and east of the island after the end of an internal conflict though group earnings dropped as arrivals slumped both at home and in the Maldives.

    "We are vigorously looking at opportunities in all sectors to partner in the development of the North and East provinces," managing director J M S Brito said in a statement.

    "Concerted destination marketing and infrastructure development in targeted tourism hotspots would give reasons for the industry to be bullish about Sri Lanka’s tourism prospects, in spite the recession curbing global travel."

    A 30-year war with Tamil Tiger separatists ended in May when its leadership was wiped out by the military. Eastern Sri Lanka in particular, has some of the most beautiful beach stretches in the island, including Arugam Bay, a top surfing destination.

    Group profits dropped 24.1 percent to 293.8 million rupee for the June quarter, while revenues dropped 20.0 percent to 5.0 billion rupees.

    Aitken Spence is the largest foreign resort operator in the Maldives.

    "A sharp drop in tourist arrivals to the Maldives due to the global recession had a negative effect on the tourism sector earnings in the first quarter," Brito said.

    "With aggressive promotions in alternative markets, especially in East Asia, we hope to further diversify our markets in the future."

    It also has operations in Sri Lanka, India and Oman.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=206699017
    - Amal, 4 years ago
  • Good to see the large blue chip firms also moving forward and signifying optimism for the future of the tourism industry in the liberated areas and the country in general, I personally believe that Sri Lanka has great potential and standards are already quite high...now we need to consolidate and work together collectively, in order to surpass previous milestones set prior to the more recent eruption of war since H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa took office...
    - phil.froelich, 4 years ago
  • Post war Sri Lanka's July tourist arrivals up 28 pct

    COLOMBO, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped 28 percent in July from a year ago, its second straight rise since May last year due to the end of of a decades-long war, the Indian Ocean island nation's tourism board said on Thursday.

    "This is mainly due to the peace situation in the country," S. Kalaiselvam, director general at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, told Reuters.

    Overall arrivals in January-July fell 10.6 percent to 129,952 compared to 257,345 a year ago, mainly due to a drop in visitors from western Europe and south Asia.

    But more visitors were coming, since January-June arrivals fell by 16.3 percent, data showed.

    "We are confident of achieving at least similar to last year's figure and revenue. Our target is to get 2.5 million tourists and $2.5 billion revenue in 2016," Kalaiselvam said.

    Sri Lanka's military declared victory over Tamil Tiger separatists in a 25-year war on May 18.

    Sri Lanka received 438,475 visitors in 2008, a drop of 11.2 percent from a year earlier. Tourist revenue declined by 11.2 percent to $342 million as visitors stayed away because of intense fighting.

    Sri Lanka is targeting half a million arrivals and $400 million in earnings in 2010. (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Bryson Hull)

    http://in.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idINCOL12822120090813

    Great News, In Winter 2009 we will see more Tourist Arrivals as Condor German Airlines, Thomascook Air and Oman Air are waiting to resume flights to CMB and Emirates increases more seats on CMB. :)
    - banuthev, 4 years ago
  • Yeah, I have my hopes up high for a good winter, everyone needs this urgently after several bad years...
    - phil.froelich, 4 years ago
  • Sri Lanka Aitken Spence, Six Senses revive spa project

    Aug 24, 2009 (LBO) - Aitken Spence, one of Sri Lanka's top hotel firms, has resumed talks with Six Senses Spas, an international spa chain, on building an up-market resort on the south-west coast, a senior official said.

    Aitken Spence Hotels managing director Malin Hapugoda said the project is to come up near Ahungalla, in Beruwala, a prime beach resort where it has two properties, Heritance and Neptune.

    "They (Six Senses) are keen to re-look at it and now we're having talks to restart the project," he told LBO.

    He said the project had been mooted several years ago but shelved because of the island's ethnic conflict.

    But the 30-year war ended in May when government forces defeated the Tamil Tigers and there was an immediate revival in tourist arrivals, with economic growth also expected to pick up.

    Aitken Spence already has a tie-up with Six Senses which operates spas in the firm's Heritance Kandalama hotel in the north-central region and at the Tea Factory, a hill-country hotel.

    The new project with Sex Senses, originally billed as Evason Hideaway, Ahungalla, is for a combination of beach villas and several villas on stilts on a private island in the nearby backwaters of the Madhu Ganga river.

    "Next to Heritance Ahungalla we have 10 acres and 27 acres on an island in Madhu Ganga, very close to Ahungalla, where we had planned a very up-market resort there with Six Senses," Hapugoda said.

    "Plans for the project had been finalised but it was stalled due to the situation in the country."

    Construction was originally scheduled to have commenced in 2010.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=345885343
    - Amal, 4 years ago
  • The stick fishermen of Sri Lanka

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/monsoon_1440564i.jpg
    Monsoon clouds fill the sky at a beach south of Galle, Sri Lanka

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/silhouette_1440567i.jpg
    Sri Lankan fishermen, known locally as stick fishermen, sit perched on stilts fixed into the ocean floor

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/turban-side_1440575i.jpg
    A man sits perched on a stilt fixed to the ocean floor as he fishes

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/turban-portrait_1440569i.jpg
    He stands on one leg on his stilt as he takes a break from fishing. A fisherman will generally spend many hours on his uncomfortable perch

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/wading-out_1440565i.jpg
    A Sri Lankan fisherman walks into the water to take his place on the stilts fixed to the ocean floor...

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/wave-splash_1440578i.jpg
    A fisherman wading out is hit by a wave...

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/wave-splash-cigare_1440577i.jpg
    ...but he manages to keep his cigarette alight

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/seated-pole_1440568i.jpg
    A stilt fisherman takes a break

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/sunset-wide_1440571i.jpg
    Stick fishermen sit perched on stilts fixed into the ocean floor, as others fish from an embankment

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01440/sunset-narrow_1440570i.jpg
    Stick fisherman work as the sun sets



    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthpicturegalleries/5788929/The-stick-fishermen-of-Sri-Lanka.html
    - Amal, 4 years ago
  • damn good pics! esp the guy wth the cigarette!!:)
    - PCK, 4 years ago
  • I will fly to SriLanka in 4 days..... wow am so excited about it and want to make a super amazing trip report better than what I did for Bangladesh and Yemen :cheers:

    Btw, great pics and info.
    - Skyprince, 3 years ago
  • awesome skyprince! cant wait for the report!:) hope u have an amazing time!! if you do want some information before hand pls do ask us here at the forum! have u decided on the places you are going to visit?
    - PCK, 2 years ago
  • http://www.island.lk/2009/08/28/p1.jpg
    Tourism Development Minister Faizer Mustapha inspects the kitchen of a Hotel - Faizer cancels permits of two Chinese Restaurants

    President Mahinda Rajapaksa has given instructions to Tourism Promotion Minister Faizer Mustapha to formulate a policy in 5-star class hotels room charges for couples and single persons.

    The current room rates of 5-star class hotels seem to be horrendously expensive and ordinary foreign tourists do not wish to occupy 5 –star class hotels for accommodation. Minister Mustapha has also cancelled the permits of two Chinese restaurants following his sudden raids on Colombo hotels, the Tourism Ministry revealed.

    Tourism Promotion Minister Faizer Mustapha told The Island that the conditions of kitchens of some 5-class hotels left much to be desired because the food prepared by them was not up to standard. Although the hotels had been registered with the Ceylon Tourist Board the hospitality, accommodation and meals were not up to the expected standard.

    He pointed out that two Chinese restaurants serving food for foreigners were badly equipped and unclean. The permits of these two restaurants were cancelled. Some kitchens of restaurants had become houses of rats.

    Minister Mustapha said that the sudden raids on Colombo hotels were conducted with tourism ministry officials, Colombo municipal council officials and some public health inspectors. He asked the hotel staff about their accommodation and had gone to see them. He was not satisfied with hotel staff accommodation and he would be holding discussions with hotels management to resolve the issues of staff.

    He emphasized that the 5-star class hotels in Colombo and restaurants in vicinity of Colombo had been spending a great deal of money to attract both local and foreign tourists, but the kitchens of the hotels and restaurants were way below the required standards.

    All hotels and restaurants whose kitchens are unclean would be issued warnings. Any recurrence of such uncleanliness would result in their licenses being canceled.

    Island (http://www.island.lk/2009/08/28/business2.html)
    - saraprobe, 2 years ago
  • awesome skyprince! cant wait for the report!:) hope u have an amazing time!! if you do want some information before hand pls do ask us here at the forum! have u decided on the places you are going to visit?

    I will fly in a couple of hours! :banana: Hmm I don;t plan for anything- will plan once I arrive there! I don't even know where to stay yet... let the fate decides :lol:
    - Skyprince, 2 years ago
  • Sri Lanka Tourism’s controversial ‘Small Miracle’ tagline is no longer used in correspondence or advertising while an alternative to the word ‘Small’ is found. In last weekend’s newspapers, the Minister of Tourism Nandana Gunatillake invited professionals, intellectuals and interested parties to send ideas and proposals to formulate a new tagline.

    The deadline for proposals is September 4, 2009. A tourism official said until a replacement is found, ‘Sri Lanka’ with the website www.srilanka.travel written underneath is currently in use. The official added that no promotional material or advertising campaigns have been launched in overseas markets yet.

    Sri Lanka Tourism’s ‘Small Miracle’ tagline has been steeped in controversy since its launch in June 2009 after reports surfaced that the President had expressed reservations on the tagline which had been chosen based on research. Addressing the controversy, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Bernard Goonetille said the word ‘Small’ will be replaced but described it as ‘no major change.’ Although no specific date was given, Mr. Goonetilleke said the change should be finalized soon as promotional material for the winter season has to be completed.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/090830/FinancialTimes/ft11.html
    - lordvader, 2 years ago
  • Issues for top tourism developers
    By Natasha Gunaratne

    Unexpected growth opportunities for the tourism industry have arisen after the conclusion of the war with serious investors expressing interest in developing properties.

    Chairman of Jetwing Sri Lanka Hiran Cooray told the Sunday Times FT that having alrady expanded outside the island to places such as Vietnam through Jetwing Indochina and even Bangladesh, the company is refocusing on developing in several areas across the island. With the opening up of the East coast for construction and new projects in the pipeline, Mr. Cooray said time management has become an issue between running the overseas properties and focusing on expanding in Sri Lanka.

    Jetwing’s plans include the construction of a new resort in Yala after the previous hotel was destroyed in the 2004 tsunami. The Blue Oceanic Hotel in Negombo will be refurbished and given a fresh look. Mr. Cooray said Jetwing will also embark on new developments in the Pasikudah area and another with Hayleys in Nilaveli. He expects tourist arrivals to continue to rise, as has been the trend over the past few months. In fact, he said his expectations for a good winter season have been reinforced by the fact that rooms were all booked for the month of August.

    Despite the expected resurgence of the industry and an influx of foreigners, Mr. Cooray said he hopes the focus on local tourists will continue. However, he said no tourist hotel can survive on the local market alone. With the increase in the number of tourists from India and in particular the Middle East, Jetwing is learning about different cultural and behavioural patterns in order to help them to cater to a varied group of travelers.

    Mr. Cooray also said there have been increasing numbers of visitors from the Far East, particularly from countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, a trend which he described as being very healthy. Visitors from traditional markets in Europe will continue to increase as well but the diversity in the types of tourists will provide a healthy balance for the industry. Whereas Europeans travel mostly during the winter season in December and January, Middle Eastern tourists travel from June until the beginning of Ramadan.

    Prior to the end of hostilities, a lot of second strength staff had left Sri Lanka to go overseas, Mr. Cooray said. However, he is hopeful that some will return and contribute to the industry here. Some Sri Lankan architects and managers are currently working at the Indochina hotel in Hanoi in Vietnam.
    Jetwing will manage two more properties in Vietnam over the next six to 12 months.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/090830/FinancialTimes/ft18.html
    - lordvader, 2 years ago
  • Cinnamon Lakeside opens its doors on Sept. 1

    The Rs.500 million restoration and upgrade of the previous Trans Asia Hotel, now re-branded as Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, will be launched with a flourish on Tuesday, Sept. 1, the owners said.

    John Keells Holdings (JKH) through Asian Hotel Properties and on its own account owns 84% of this luxury 350-room lakeside hotel which promises to set a new standard in this country’s hospitality industry "by taking indulgence to a new level."

    The restoration and upgrading of the hotel was completed in a record three-and-half months with the Rs. 150 million cost of restoring damage caused by the LTTE’s last air attack on Colombo targeting the Sri Lanka Air Force Headquarters largely coming from insurance claims.

    The owners have invested a further Rs.350 million in upgrading the hotel, refurbishing 109 guest rooms, the lobby, coffee shop, the lakeside terrace and the ballroom which suffered damage from the air attack.

    JKH seized the opportunity that arose from the damage caused by the LTTE attack to bring the hotel launched in 1985 and operated first as the Ramada Renaissance and thereafter as the Trans Asia Hotel under its Cinnamon brand umbrella as Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo.

    JKH Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunawardena, who also sits on the Trans Asia board, said that while bookings for the next winter will begin by mid-September, the favourable security situation has drawn inquiries from prospective visitors as well as tour operators who had previously pulled out of the country.

    "The signs are that arrivals this year will be significantly better than last year while next year promises to be pretty decent," he said yesterday.

    He noted that the upsurge in tourist arrivals during the ceasefire 2002-05, hotels in Colombo benefited the most with average occupancy in the city increasing to over 70% in 2004/05.

    "Today, with the 501-room Cinnamon Grand Colombo having well established itself as the best Five-Star in the city, and the newly refurbished Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo offering the business traveler a unique environment of leisure within the city, the John Keells group simply awaits greeting the tourism potential of post-conflict Sri Lanka," he said.

    JKH Leisure Sector Projects and LAN Management Development Services, and Vasantha Ratnayake Consultancy Services worked on the new look for the hotel with interior design undertaken by Bent Severin & Associates PTE Limited of Singapore, DDN Design (PVT) Limited and Taru i.e.

    The branding team was headed by Mr. Shafeek Wahab.

    The hotel’s main lobby has been significantly changed with brand new flooring, walls and furniture and a new reception/concierge counter has been fitted, a spokesman said.

    The main entrance to the hotel and the doors leading to the garden and pool area are being changed to sheer glass doors to give guests a stunning view of the lake and pool.

    The ballroom has been restored to its original glory with chandeliers and new carpet and furnishings and a new restaurant and bar installed.

    "The investment in refurbishing Trans Asia and re-launching it under the Cinnamon brand with new rooms, a completely different look to its lobby and an array of unique lakeside dining options will enable the hotel to position itself among the premium accommodation providers in the city while catering to multiple tiers of the markets," Gunawardena said.

    http://www.island.lk/2009/08/30/business7.html
    - lordvader, 2 years ago
  • The New Cinnamon Lakeside - (Formerly Trans Asia)

    http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h78/premchand/z_bus350-1.jpg

    Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo is poised to set a new standard in the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka by taking indulgence to a new level.

    Since its establishment in 1985, the hotel has reinvented its identity: from Ramada Renaissance to Trans Asia Hotel and now, to Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo.

    The transformation that has now taken place gives the hotel a new aura and ambience; a sensitive character and liberating spaces, making it truly the unique resort city hotel of the prestigious Cinnamon brand of hotels and resorts, the most preferred hospitality brand in the country today.

    The decision to transform the hotel was taken by the John Keells Group, which owns the property. "A comparison of islandwide occupancy rates in Sri Lanka shows that during the upsurge in tourist arrivals brought about by the ceasefire (2002-05), hotels in Colombo benefited the most with average occupancy rates in the city increasing to over 70 percent in 2004-05", said Deputy Chairman, John Keells Group Ajit Gunewardene.

    "Today, with the 501-room Cinnamon Grand Colombo having well-established itself as the best five-star in Colombo, and a newly refurbished Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo offering the business traveller a unique environment of leisure within the city, the John Keells Group simply awaits to greet the tourism potential of post-conflict Sri Lanka."

    Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo borders on the Beira Lake, giving guests an opportunity to enjoy an unparalleled al fresco dining experience in the heart of the busy, bustling city of Colombo.

    Be it a relaxing afternoon under the shade of a mango tree or an exciting party by the illuminated waters of the lake, guests have choices that no other city hotel can offer.

    Indulgence is the key to everything the hotel offers and the changes brought about by the renovation are no exception. They include new restaurants, a classy bar, and refurbished rooms with a stunning view of the lake, decor in warm, earthy hues that are sure to make you unwind; and even a new monthly newsletter, The Grapevine!

    The ballroom has been restored to its original glory with stunning chandeliers and new carpet and furnishings, allowing patrons to have their functions catered at their favourite venue. Azmaara Spa will be the latest addition to the hotel's guest facilities, offering a range of the finest spa treatments to suit every guest.

    Gunawardene said, "The investment in refurbishing Trans Asia and re-launching it under the Cinnamon brand with new rooms, a completely different look to its lobby and an array of unique lakeside dining options will enable the hotel to position itself among the premium accommodation providers in the city while catering to multiple tiers of the market."

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2009/09/01/bus21.asp
    - PCK, 2 years ago
  • an array of unique lakeside dining options will enable the hotel to position itself among the premium accommodation providers in the city

    Heh, Beira lakeside dining. :lol:
    - sjinadasa, 2 years ago
  • The peace dividend

    Sri Lanka seems to be the flavour of the season for holiday planners

    http://www.livemint.com/images/286E945A-1540-457E-91A3-4F6B8A9E80DBArtVPF.gif

    Sumana Mukherjee

    Coming off prolonged years of militancy, Sri Lanka seems to be the flavour of the season for holiday planners. And the little teardrop-shaped island they called Serendip seems determined to get you going—any which way. Take your pick:

    • Bike tour

    GetOffYourAss is organizing a nine-day (26 September-4 October) motorbike tour through the island, starting from Negombo and passing through Kandy, Knuckles Range, Mahiyangana, Nuwareliya and Adams Peak. The route is provisional, says GetOffYourAss’ Santosh Kumar, as new routes and areas are opening up every day. As a one-off, the trip is available at special promotional prices. It will cost Rs33,500 per person for a group of six. A group of five will take costs up to Rs38,250 per person. The charges cover bike rental (options: XR 250, Suzuki Djibel, Yamaha Serova), a back-up vehicle with driver, a mechanic with minimal spares and a trip leader with prior experience. It doesn’t include airfare, food or accommodation, local driving licences, refundable bike deposits ($200, around Rs10,000) and incidentals. To sign up for the trip, call Santosh at 09845442224 or email at santosh@getoffurass.com. Participants need to report at Negombo on 26 September.

    • Tuk-tuk race

    The Great Sri Lankan Tuk-Tuk Challenge starts today. Over the next 10 days, 42 drivers—divided into 20 teams—will drive the tuk-tuks across 1,200km of mountains, rainforests, coastal villages and bustling towns. It starts from Negombo and ends in Colombo, via Sigiriya, Dambana, Kandy. Spot applications are not allowed, but it’s not the end of your dream of driving the humble autorickshaw. Entries for next year’s challenge open in October. Click here for more details [ http://www.lankachallenge.com/ ]

    http://www.livemint.com/2009/09/04220444/The-peace-dividend.html?h=B
    - Amal, 2 years ago
  • Tuk-tuk drivers burn rubber for charity

    Tuk-tuk drivers from around the world will descend on Sri Lanka.


    A 10 day motor rally is beginning in Sri Lanka for drivers of auto-rickshaws, also known as tuk-tuks, from around the world.

    In the first such event on the island more than 20 teams will navigate 1,200 kilometres in their three-wheeled vehicles, passing through mountains, forests, tea plantations and coastal villages.

    The event will raise money for local charities and the drivers will also plant trees to offset their carbon emissions.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/09/05/2677605.htm?section=justin
    - Amal, 2 years ago
  • Sri Lanka to lease islands for hotels

    Sept 09, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka plans to lease islands off the north-west coast for tourist hotels, as the travel industry recovers after the end of the 30-year ethnic war, government officials said.

    Tourism promotion minister Faiszer Musthapha said the government will soon advertise the lease of five islands in the Kalpitiya lagoon region which is being developed as a new up-market tourist resort complex.

    The tourism promotion ministry and investment promotion ministry were already holding talks with international hotel investors on new projects in the country, he told a news conference.

    The end of the war in May, when government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels, has generated a lot of interest in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector among international investors and hotel operators, he told a news conference.

    The first such project was announced at the news conference Tuesday.

    The international luxury hotel chain Six Senses is to operate a six-star boutique resort on an island in Kalpitiya to be built by a group of foreign investors, Musthapha said.

    Bernard Goonetilleke, chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, said 4,000 rooms are to be built under the Kalpitiya tourism project.

    Previous fears that such a large number of rooms being added might lead to overcapacity at a time when existing hotels were struggling to fill their rooms had evaporated with the end of the war, he said.

    “We now wonder whether 4,000 rooms will be enough to meet increasing demand,” he said.

    Sri Lanka has seen an upturn in tourist arrivals with the end of the war and hotels are anticipating full houses in the forthcoming winter season.

    The Kalpitiya region is a new region for tourism development left largely untouched because of the war.

    Most beach resort development has been on Sri Lanka’s south-west and southern coasts.

    The government is now also trying to attract investors to build hotels in the east, known for some of the country’s best beaches, Goonetilleke said.

    Dileep Mudadeniya, managing director of the Tourism Promotion Bureau, said the new hotels earmarked for Kalpitiya would be up-market ones with the aim of attracting high-spending tourists.

    “The rooms will be priced over 350 dollars each,” he said. “The project will also create thousands of jobs.”

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=2052388293
    - Amal, 2 years ago
  • Sri Lanka islet resort by Six Senses chain

    Sept 09, 2009 (LBO) – International luxury hotel chain Six Senses is to manage a resort built on an islet on the north west coast of Sri Lanka becoming the first tourism project to be announced after an ethnic war ended, officials said.

    The first phase of the project in Dutch Bay in Kalpitiya, off the north-west coast, will cost 75 million dollars and consists of 60 mangrove chalets – two-storey villas with plunge pools – and 20 luxury villas on the lagoon.

    The Dutch Bay Resort project, to be ready by 2011, is a joint venture between Six Senses and Swarna Dweep, an investment vehicle.

    Swarna Dweep was set up by European investors and a Sri Lankan entrepreneur, Neil De Silva, currently operating in Europe and the Middle East.

    De Silva, chairman of Dutch Bay Resorts, told a news conference the second phase of the project, costing 100 million dollars, will consist of 80 villas – luxury homes to be sold to Arabs, Europeans and Sri Lankans as holiday or retirement homes.

    Owners can lease them back to the developers.

    Swarna Dweep, a 51 percent shareholder of Dutch Bay Resorts, is a company established by Norwich International Consultants, a real estate business operating in the Kingdom of Bahrain since 1997.

    The Kalpitiya Ducth Bay resort will be bordered by a lagoon on its eastern side and the Indian Ocean on the west.

    The 60 mangrove boutique chalets will located within inland water bodies and the 20 two-storey villas along the lagoon.

    Both will be managed by Six Senses under the name Six Senses Hideaway at Dutch Bay

    Six Senses is not investing money in the project and will be the management company.

    De Silva said the project has been planned since 2005 with the land bought from private owners, research and concept planning done and an environmental impact assessment also done and to be made available for public scrutiny soon.

    De Silva declined to say how much the investors, who have put in 36 million dollars, had paid for the land.

    The project will include a spa, floating restaurants and a helipad.

    Patrick De Groot, chief development officer of Dutch Bay Resorts, said Dutch Bay first came to his attention in 2007, when he was scouting for luxury resort and hotel opportunities for Dubai-based Jumeirah Group.

    But the war prevented investment at the time, he said.

    De Silva said that key resort areas were still in their pristine condition despite two decades of war, which ended in May, when government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels.

    "We came in during 2005 when the war was still on looking at the island’s long-term potential," he said. "It was a tough time for us during the civil unrest."

    Tourism promotion minister Faiszer Musthapha said Six Senses is the first international chain to start a boutique resort in the island.

    "Six Senses coming in would also attract others. We’re now talking with other international hotel operators. It is a matter of time before they come in," he said.

    "Terrorism has cost tourism a lot. Top hotel chains and airlines left the country because of the conflict."

    Musthapha said the Six Senses resort will charge far highe room rates than existing hotels - around 1,000 – 1,500 dollars a night.

    "It is better to get tourists to spend more than attract a large number of visitors who spend less."

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1366093431
    - Amal, 2 years ago
  • Sri Lanka pushes halal credentials

    by Patrick Elligett Sep 9, 2009

    Sri Lanka’s major holiday destinations will now offer halal food, in a bid to cater for a recent influx of tourists from the Middle East.

    Since approximately 70% of the nation’s citizens are Buddhist, the initiative was developed specifically for the benefit of Muslim tourists.

    The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau’s (SLTPB) Middle East director, Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori, claimed Arab travellers could now confidently explore the country’s diverse culinary offering.

    http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/6401/hebs.jpg
    Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau's Middle East director, Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori.

    “Previously, it [halal food] wasn’t available in some places, but now they make sure it is available in all the resorts and hotels so Arab tourists won’t have a problem there,” she said.

    “There are many things Sri Lanka’s tourism sector is doing at the moment to make sure it’s easy for Arab travelers to adapt while staying there.”

    The SLTPB recently announced a dramatic leap in the number of Arab tourists visiting from the Middle East.

    In June this year the number of visitors from Saudi Arabia and the UAE almost tripled, according to the bureau.

    http://www.hoteliermiddleeast.com/article-5653-sri-lanka-pushes-halal-credentials/
    - Amal, 2 years ago
  • Does this mean no more bacon in hotels ? I seriously hope not :( Also nice to see Kalpitiya project getting off the ground
    - sjinadasa, 2 years ago
  • Sri Lanka's Aug tourist arrivals surge 34 pct

    Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:50pm IST

    By Shihar Aneez

    COLOMBO, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped by more than a third in August from a year ago, the third monthly rise since May due to the end of a decades-long war, the Indian Ocean island nation's tourism board said on Thursday.

    August tourist arrivals rose 34.3 percent to 41,207, the highest since December, up from 30,672 recorded a year ago.

    The rise in arrivals and expectations of post-war investment have driven the Colombo Stock Exchange's tourism sector index .CSEHT up 165 percent this year, double of the gain in the broader market .CSE.

    "We are in for a major takeoff," Faizer Mustapha, Minister of Tourism Promotion told Reuters. "We have created a much-needed peaceful situation for tourists in Sri Lanka after the war."

    Overall arrivals in January to August have fallen 5.9 percent to 271,159 compared to 288,017 a year ago. The decline reflects the drop in arrivals in the first five months of the year when the government fought the last phase of the war that ended in May.

    Sri Lanka raised its tourist target last month to a six-year high of half a million visitors, which it expects to generate revenues of $400 million, a 17 percent increase from last year.

    It received 438,475 visitors in 2008, a drop of 11.2 percent from a year earlier. Revenue fell by 11.2 percent to $342 million as visitors stayed away because of intense fighting.

    Sri Lanka is targeting 2.5 million arrivals and $2 billion in earnings by 2016. (Editing by Bryson Hull and Jan Dahinten)

    http://in.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idINCOL34746420090910
    - Amal, a year ago
  • 48 hours in Colombo

    By Pauline Askin, Reuters

    COLOMBO - Got 48 hours to spend in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo? The city is the country’s biggest and a major port, with a rich colonial heritage, gardens, lively markets, modern buildings and even a beach.

    The heavy military and police presence in the capital, a manifestation of the government’s battle against Tamil Tiger rebels fighting one of Asia’s longest modern insurgencies, does take some getting used to.


    http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/www.canada.com/travel/hours+colombo/1038008/1086405.bin
    Sri Lankan Buddhist monks light lamps at a religious service in Colombo.


    SATURDAY

    9.00 a.m. - Breakfast at the luxury Cinnamon Grand Hotel, right in the heart of Colombo’s business, shopping and entertainment district. Even if you’re not staying there, the hotel is a good place to hire a taxi to take you around the city’s many shopping venues.

    10.00 a.m. - Head down the main Galle Road, and stop off at Barefoot (706 Galle Road) for its famous handwoven fabrics, toys, bags, handicrafts, antiques and clothing, including shalwars, the tunic and pantaloons outfits, in cotton and silk, and every colour of the rainbow. The store is the brainchild of Barbara Sansoni, an artist, writer and designer who sources her work from rural handweavers in Sri Lanka.

    11.00 a.m. - Head to House of Fashion (28 A De Mel Mawatha Road), popular with both foreigners and locals and offering an enormous selection of clothing at very affordable prices. It also stocks toys, baby items, bath towels and mats. It is always very busy, but checkouts are very fast.

    12.00 a.m. - No trip to Colombo is complete without a visit to Odel Unlimited (5 Alexander Place), the most popular department store in Sri Lanka. Inside the beautifully designed interior are racks of designer clothing as well as jewellery, shoes, bags and cosmetics at good prices, and an excellent selection of locally made and designed t-shirts.

    1.00 p.m. - Lunch at any of the several cafes and restaurants in the Odel building, which include a sushi bar and a tea lounge that also sells packages of Sri Lanka’s famed teas.

    2.30 p.m. - Spend the afternoon soaking in the sights of Colombo. Head north to the Fort area, Sri Lanka’s business and commercial area with several buildings showcasing the country’s Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial history. The area is home to the Central Bank -- which the Tamil Tigers bombed in 1996 -- a clock tower, a former lighthouse and the president’s residence, all which give it the air of a bygone era.

    Head down to Colombo’s National Museum, constructed in 1877. Collections cover several centuries and a variety of cultures from the Sinhala kingdoms through to the British occupation.

    Culture and history buffs can also visit the nearby National Art Gallery and the History Museum.

    But if you’re seeking a break outdoors, Viharamahadevi Park is a short walk away. Considered the capital’s largest and most elegant green space, the park is famous for its flowering trees, fountains and water channels. It also overlooks the pristine white domed Town Hall, which said to have been modelled on the White House in Washington D.C.

    7.00 p.m. - Cocktails and dinner at the Colombo Cricket Club, a local institution in a country that is completely mad for the sport. Sip a pre-dinner drink at the bar, enjoying the black and white photographs of cricket legends and sporting memorabilia that adorn the walls.

    When seated for dinner, take a couple of minutes to read the whole menu, where every item listed has some connection to a Sri Lankan cricket player or the national team. And if you’re a real fan, you can sometimes spot a cricketer dining at the club too.


    SUNDAY

    9.00 a.m. - Breakfast heartily to prepare yourself for more shopping, but this time head to the less opulent parts of the city to experience the friendliness of the Sri Lankans. Be prepared to bargain hard.

    Pettah, an area east of Fort, is a maze of streets and alleys crammed with everything from colourful textiles, gold and silver, footwear, antiques to spices, fruits, pungent dried fish and everything else Sri Lankans buy every day. Sea Street is famous for its goldsmiths and Hindu temples while New Moor Street is home to the Grand Mosque and reflects Sri Lanka’s historic ties to Arab and Muslim countries.

    12.00 p.m. - Unwind from the haggling and the crowds -- and work up an appetite -- with a leisurely one km (mile) stroll down Galle Face Walk, which runs alongside the Indian Ocean. The path was originally cleared by the Dutch to give their cannons a clear line of fire, and today it is a popular meeting place for locals.

    1.00 p.m. - Lunch at the luxurious Raja Bojun, in the Ceylinco Seylan Towers on Galle Road. The restaurant specialises in authentic Sri Lankan cuisine and their curries come recommended.

    2.00 p.m. - Cricket enthusiasts can spend the afternoon at the Colombo Cricket Ground enjoying a game. Otherwise, you can visit Dehiwala Zoo, located about 11 km (miles) south of Fort. The aquarium displays over 500 varieties of aquatic life while the reptile house has cobras, tortoises and crocodiles. The evening elephant show is considered a must see.

    7.00 p.m. - Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail and watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean at the regal, colonial-style Galle Face Hotel, one of the oldest in the city and with a guest list that included former U.S. President Richard Nixon, former Indian President Indira Gandhi and Japan’s Emperor Hirohito as well as Australian cricketing legend Sir Donald Bradman.

    8.00 p.m. - Dine at the hotel’s Verandah Restaurant, with its vast array of Sri Lankan and international specialities. Linger, and enjoy the view, which makes for a relaxing way to end your stay in Colombo.

    http://www.canada.com/travel/hours+Colombo/1038008/story.html
    - Amal, a year ago
  • http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/ArticleImages/1buoxa45exugxp55xn3wmmqy_dm_20090911_17.jpg
    - Amal, 11 months ago
  • Sri Lanka needs massive increase in hotel rooms

    Sept 11, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka needs a massive increase in hotel accommodation to cope with the anticipated influx of tourists with the end of the 30-year ethnic war, a senior travel trade official said.

    "The eradication of terrorism and the country returning to normal have created a window of opportunity and conducive business environment for tourism," said Chandra Wickramasinghe, President of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO).

    "The main infrastructure requirement in Sri Lanka in the present situation is to have a minimum of 25,000 rooms of three- to five-star category."

    Sri Lanka now has a total of 14,793 rooms with about 3,000 in the five-star category and about 1,400 in the three- and four-star categories, according to tourism authority statistics.

    There was an immediate increase in tourist arrivals when the ethnic war ended in May with government forces defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels.

    Tourist arrivals in August 2009 rose 34.3 percent to 41,207 from a year ago, led by visitors from key markets like the UK, Germany, India, the Tourism Authority said.

    It was the third straight monthly rise in visitors since May, although the numbers were slightly lower than in July as these months are the off-season.

    Wickramasinghe said in a statement released by SLAITO that the tourism industry was "the most victimized industry" of the conflict which had cost the industry over 12 billion US dollars in the past 25 years.

    The tourism industry has launched a work plan towards increasing the annual inbound tourist traffic to Sri Lanka with several events and activities, he said.

    It aims to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016, from almost half-a-million a year now.

    "To achieve this, we will need to have careful and effective planning in infrastructure development to meet the qualitative and quantitative demand of the modern day world tourism," Wickramasinghe said.

    He also said inbound tour operators will especially focus on the island's east, known to have some of the country's best beaches but which have been mostly inaccessible during the war.

    The inbound tour operators of Sri Lanka are set to travel to the eastern port town of Trincomalee for their annual meeting because of a major future development in tourism for the east coast.

    "With the reopening of the east coast as a prime tourist destination in the world, Sri Lanka will certainly come back to be a country never out of season," he said.

    "This will not only negate the off-season mentality but also will make the east coast the new-found destination in world tourism."

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1963689166
    - Amal, 10 months ago
  • 80-villa luxury resort in Kalpitiya

    by Shirajiv SIRIMANE

    Sri Lanka's biggest tourism development project, the Kalpitiya Tourism promotion zone, took off the ground when 'Dutch Bay Resorts' laid the foundation stone for an 80-villa luxury resort in Kalpitiya, recently.

    One of the leading hotel chains in the world, Six Senses Group has come forward to manage this property which would be one of Sri Lanka's most expensive hotels stamping investor confidence for the industry.

    Dutch Bay Resorts would be investing US $ 175 million for the project with $ 75 million being invested for the phase one which includes the construction of 75 luxury boutique chalets. In addition the property would include a spa club, floating restaurants and a helipad where tourists could land after touching at the Colombo Airport.

    Chairman, Dutch Bay Resorts, Neil De Silva said that with the war ending Sri Lanka is being converted to an upmarket destination where high spending tourists would patronise it. "This is why we are investing in this project," he said.

    FULL STORY: http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2009/09/13/new32.asp
    - Amal, 9 months ago
  • Sri Lanka sets minimum hotel rates

    (AFP) – 29 minutes ago

    COLOMBO — With tourism booming in Sri Lanka following the end of decades of ethnic conflict, authorities have ordered hotels in the capital to increase room rates and curb an aggressive pricing war.

    Luxury hotels in Colombo will be forced to charge a minimum of 90 dollars a night, while stays in cheaper hotels are set to rise to 40 dollars from November, said M. Shanthikumar, president of the City Hotels' Association.

    "The government thinks the time is ripe to set a floor price, then everyone can survive and make money," Sri Lanka Tourism chairman Bernard Goonetillake said.

    Rates of some 3,000 hotel rooms in Colombo currently range between 35 and 120 dollars. The number of foreign visitors has risen steadily since security forces crushed the long-running Tamil Tiger separatist insurgency in May.

    The number of holiday-makers to the tropical island rose 34.3 percent to 41,207 in August over the same period in 2008, boosted by key markets in Britain, Germany and India, according to official figures.

    City hoteliers have been under-cutting each other to bring in the visitors, said Chandra Mohotti, general manager of the seafront Galle Face Hotel.

    "People were offering rock-bottom prices to pinch tourists from each other and the smaller hotels found it difficult to survive. I hope the minimum room rate policy works this time," Mohotti said.

    "There was an immediate increase in tourist arrivals when the war ended in May. I think this is a good rate to kick off ahead of a very busy winter season," Shanthikumar said.

    The war alone cost the tourism industry an estimated 12 billion dollars in lost business, said Chandra Wickramasinghe, president of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators.

    Tourism chairman Goonetillake said Colombo hotels were fully booked from June to September mainly due to corporate business and foreign cricket teams from Pakistan, New Zealand and India touring the island.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gyOOHm9MILFR3a16D2OMgG3cTcCA
    - Amal, 8 months ago
  • Now Kalladi Beach Festival

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/090920/images/Meeting.jpg

    ‘Nagenahira Mulakkam’ (The Festival of East) , a mega 18 hour entertainment, cultural and Sports carnival will come alive at the Kalladi beach in Batticaloa on September 26.

    It is the first of its kind to be held in the East and this will promote and build a strong bond and friendship between East and the West.

    The Festival of East is organized by the Eastern Provincial Council in association with Italian based Sri TV.

    ‘Whilst having sports, music and fashion the youngster’s of the east will be given the opportunity to take part in playing Beach Soccer, Water sports, running, canoe racing and socialize with the rest of the event, magic show, fashion & music respectively’ said Hasanjith Chaturanga, the Country Manager Sri TV

    ‘It was the dream of eastern province Chief Minister Sivaneshathurai Chandrakanthan to have such an event taking place in the east’ he added. Sri TV, the well known Sri Lankan satellite television channel under the guidance of its Chairman Mr. Thushara Kurera came forward to launch this event, together with Eastern Province Council.

    ‘The Festival of East’ comprise many sporting events such as beach Soccer, beach Basketball, swimming in the sea, running, Canoe Race, Kite Festival, Cultural events, magic shows, Fashion Fiesta by Sharmini of Silk Wrap and finally a grand musical event with Arun Liyan and his band Alieans from Colombo followed by fire works festival.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/090920/Magazine/sundaytimestvtimes_04.html
    - Amal, 7 months ago
  • very interesting to read :)
    http://flagcounter.com/count/Nsu/bg=F5F5FF/txt=F5F5FF/border=F5F5FF/columns=1/maxflags=1/viewers=3/labels=1/ (http://flagcounter.com/more/Nsu)
    - daniellle, 6 months ago
  • India to bring key tourist groups to Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka has been experiencing an increased influx of India tourists, post conflict this year. Last month alone saw a 51 percent increase in Indian tourists to the island when compared to the same period last year.

    Sri Lanka Tourism announced its plans to accelerate on marketing Sri Lanka as an ideal destination to Indian tourists. As part of the integrated communication campaign, Sri Lanka recently concluded a three city B2B road show in Bangalore, Ahmadabad and Delhi ; a move that is expected to attract and generate more tourists to the island.

    During these B2B sessions, Sri Lankan Officials interacted with nearly 450 travel agents on a one to one basis.

    As a unique finale to the road shows, a fashion show was held in Delhi on the 15th of September. The theme of the fashion show “Expressions through design” focused on showcasing Sri Lanka’s relatively young industry of fashion, which is now seeing the revival of batik as Sri Lanka’s craft to major Indian coporrates.

    Darshi Keerthisena of the Buddhi Batik fame kicked off the show with a beautiful batik collection of Kandyan and Indian saris as well as western wear which dazzled the Indian audiences. The other local designs that showcased included String hopper, Arugam Bay, and young designer Sarani’s
    "Once upon a time “ collection.

    India is on the threshold of a never-like-before opportunity to do business with Sri Lanka. Mr. Dileep Mudadeniya, Managing Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau said “I see India as our biggest source market, as our product offering is very close to what the Indians want. And our biggest competitive advantages are proximity, visa on arrival and value for money”.

    Greater accessibility from India is one of the reasons that has turned Sri Lanka into an excellent travel destination in South Asia.

    Sri Lanka plans to target three main categories of individuals from India – the youth and young families, up-market travellers and those seeking spiritual upliftment. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) is currently working closely with various domestic operators as well as several Indian travel agents and tour operators, to come up with specific products.

    In November, Sri Lanka Tourism will be launching its new campaign along with SriLankan Airlines. “Mr. Lalith de Silva, SriLankan Airlines Manager, Northern India, West Bengal, Bangladesh & Nepal said "Thousands of tourists and pilgrims from India are already visiting Sri Lanka to experience for themselves the epic saga and historic sites described in the Ramayana and SriLankan Airlines has made it a simple journey with daily departures between Delhi and Colombo and also from Mumbai,Chennai,Trivandrum, Trichy and Bangalore. We have all-inclusive tours from SriLankan Holidays specially made for the Indian traveler to tread the paths of Ramayanaya to relive the history and Indian travelers will find themselves at home on board SriLankan’s flights, with a wide selection of North Indian, South Indian and vegetarian dishes catered specially for the Indian market”

    Global Sales Manager for Aman Resorts, Druvi Gunasekara added, “The roadshows were much better than I anticipated. Out of the 3 cities we covered, Delhi has the most potential for our product, which is a high-end resort.”
    http://www.asiantribune.com/sites/asiantribune.com/files/7-Pix.jpg
    Sri Lankan High Commissioner in India, Mr Romesh Jayasinghe & his wife Mrs Jayasinghe with a guest.
    http://www.asiantribune.com/sites/asiantribune.com/files/8PIX.jpg

    SOURCE: http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2009/09/23/india-bring-key-tourist-groups-sri-lanka
    - banuthev, 6 months ago
  • I would like to visit sri lanka one day....is there any vegetarian food in sri lanka which has no onions or garlic?
    - Jodhpur2, 6 months ago
  • is there any vegetarian food in sri lanka which has no onions or garlic?

    well there should be but if you really dont like onions and garlic you could just tell the waiter or whomever to exclude those two from the dish and they will gladly! hope u visit sri lanka soon.:)
    - PCK, 6 months ago
  • I looks Srilanka has nice people, warm n friendly. Awesome I love it :okay:
    - Balaputradewa, 5 months ago
  • I would like to visit sri lanka one day....is there any vegetarian food in sri lanka which has no onions or garlic?

    I'm not sure if there are any Jain restaurants in Sri Lanka (I'm assuming you're looking for Jain cuisine :) )...but like PCK said in most restaurants you can ask not to have them in any of the dishes you order.
    - Amal, 5 days ago
  • Lankan rhapsody at Galle

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/160/357139712_2f11931ec8_b.jpg

    LIFE & STYLE - TRAVEL:

    Priyadarshini Paitandy

    The seaside town of Galle leaves one delighted as the waves playfully caress the shore. It’s just the place to have a wonderful time with one’s family. Take a slice of Goa, add a hint of Mauritius, flavour it with Kerala and you get the splendid island of Sri Lanka. Coconut trees, beaches, temples, wildlife, forests, light houses, colonial buildings, as well as new age hotels and shopping - this country has something for everyone.

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2009/09/25/z_page-13-Lankan-02.jpg
    The city of Galle

    In the mood for some sun, sand and sea, we decide to head to the southern town of Galle. I don’t know what to expect of the place. All I know is that it was devastated by the 2004 tsunami.

    The drive to Galle is picturesque with the sea on one side and greenery interspersed with houses on the other, except for a long stretch of land with remnants of houses destroyed by the ruthless waves.

    A tall statue of the Buddha stands as a memory of those who lost their lives. Strangely enough, the very sea that was the cause for much woe steps up to cheer us up - the waves playfully caress the shore, little children prance about and the cool sea breeze pacifies.

    En route to Galle, we stop at the Matara Star Fort. Built in the 1760s, the fort has a unique star shape.

    The moat around even has a lazy looking crocodile perched on a wedge of rock. The next stop is the Dondra light house. I am a tad reluctant to visit the light house, but anyway head there, whining all the way. Like a battery-operated doll, I almost instantly stop complaining when I get off the vehicle. The place is breathtaking.

    The azure sea laced with white foam, there is greenery all around, and amidst that stands the resplendent white lighthouse. Out come the cameras and wide grins as we pose against the lively backdrop.

    Our tour guide has a tough time pulling us away from there. Every time he looks away and starts walking towards the vehicle, we stop to click more photographs. Once done, we pile into the vehicle gigging like school children.

    Shortly, we reach Galle. “We are at the Galle Fort,” announces the tour guide, and looking at me adds: “Maam, please change your footwear to something comfortable as we have to walk a bit.” I promptly remove my stilettos and slip into my sneakers, and we are off.

    Tales from the past

    The Fort was built by the Portuguese. Overlooking the sea, the Galle cricket stadium and offering a marvellous view of the town, this makes for a good photo stop.

    Earlier, the fort housed a prison, and even though it is not functional any more, strange noises are said to be heard here at midnight.

    On hearing that, I scream and move away from the prison gate where I had been pouting for the camera all this while.

    We walk along the ramparts to the lighthouse, and after a few kilometres, we come across a typical Dutch road with Dutch-style houses on either side.


    Artefacts galore

    Nestled in that very road is a quaint house with tonnes of antiques.

    It’s a museum and the collection is the single-handed effort of Gaffer, a businessman. The collection includes lamps, vases, crockery and cutlery, artefacts collected from ship wrecks and what not! By now, I am tired and just want to check into the hotel and plonk myself on the bed.

    After a half-hour drive, we reach The Fortress hotel. Stylishly seated on the beach, the huge white walls enclose lush lawns, a 75-metre swimming pool, boutiques, plush restaurants and exquisitely designed rooms. A friendly attender escorts me to my room.


    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3097/3110754524_6679100040_o.jpg
    The Fortress Loft Guestroom


    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3213/3109938817_072548b74e_b.jpg
    The Fortress Poolside Lounge

    I am given the Ocean View room that offers a fantastic view of the ocean and the pool, has high-vaulted ceiling, wooden flooring, a separate wash area done up in glass, a personal Jacuzzi, a hip couch, huge snug bed and more.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3133/3110769508_046e85745b_b.jpg
    The Fortress Bar

    Once he’s out, I slide into the Jacuzzi, sipping on Baileys, as the water works miracles on my tired muscles.

    Next morning, the alarm goes off at 6. I want to wake up and walk along the beach and take in the sights and sounds, but the comfy bed doesn’t want to let go of me, almost like an over possessive mother. Finally, I manage to leave by 6.30. There’s a slight drizzle, adding to the charm of the place.

    Fishermen on stilts sit patiently and wait for their catch, families and couples splash about in the waters and I take the opportunity to go for a swim in the fabulous pool.

    I truly am having a ball at Galle.

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2009/09/25/fea20.asp
    http://beta.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/article11222.ece
    - Amal, in 2 days
  • Sri Lanka 'increasingly popular among Britons'

    Sri Lanka has enjoyed rising popularity among British travellers this year despite the global recession, according to new statistics.

    The country's tourist board announced figures showing that visitor numbers from the UK were 16.9% higher in August 2009 than in the same period last year.

    From all tourism source markets, Sri Lanka recorded an overall increase of 32% in inbound visitors last month.

    The tourist board also revealed that forward bookings indicate a strong finish to the year following the relaxation of travel advice by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK.

    Sanjika Perera, Sri Lanka's UK tourism director, said: 'We have worked on a persistent promotional campaign in conjunction with the hotel industry back home and with our airline and tour operator partners in the UK and the results have been very positive.

    'To have improved visitor figures during the recession shows that the British public are aware of the diversity that Sri Lanka offers and keen to experience an Indian Ocean break, at an attractive price.'

    Travellers can catch flights to Colombo to visit attractions such as Yala National Park and Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka.

    http://news.opodo.co.uk/NewsDetails/2009-09-25/Sri_Lanka__increasingly_popular_among_Britons_
    - Amal, in a month
  • I'm not sure if there are any Jain restaurants in Sri Lanka (I'm assuming you're looking for Jain cuisine :) )...but like PCK said in most restaurants you can ask not to have them in any of the dishes you order.

    yes I am talking about jain food... I am not jain but to the outside world that's how I have to explain it.. lol we are one of those strict hindu vegetarians so before going anywhere I have to look if there is any veggie food....
    - Jodhpur2, in 2 months
  • yes I am talking about jain food... I am not jain but to the outside world that's how I have to explain it.. lol we are one of those strict hindu vegetarians so before going anywhere I have to look if there is any veggie food....
    I went to A-level in Sri Lanka and if memory serves me correctly there was a restraurant called Shanthi Vehara (not sure about spelling) that had some great veggi food. My cousin was a strict vegan and this was he only place she would eat. The vadai and etli (sorry I am not sure about the spelling of the food) were very good.
    - Pindar, in 4 months
  • Sri Lanka to develop Galle Harbour as a tourist harbour

    Sat, Sep 26, 2009, 09:01 pm SL Time, ColomboPage

    Sept 26, Colombo: Sri Lanka government plans to develop the Galle Harbour as a tourist harbour at a cost of 16 billion rupees, government's spokesman of the Media Center for National Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said.

    Addressing a meeting held in Galle yesterday, Minister Abeywardena revealed that in the first phase, the port will be constructed to birth 40 craft with sails. This phase of construction is expected to be completed by 2012.

    The Minister who was in an observation tour of the development activities in the Galle District said the Government has allocated a total of Rs 23.365 billion for the implementation of development projects in the Galle District.

    Minister Abeywardena, commenting on the ongoing projects in the South to uplift the livelihoods of the people, said the construction work of the Hambantota port which is being developed as a main fisheries harbour will near completion by next year.

    http://www.colombopage.com/archive_091/Sep1253979111CH.html
    - Amal, in 5 months
  • Minister of Tourism Nandana Gunatilleke is to re-establish the Sri Lanka Tourist Board and repeal the Tourism Act of 2005 enacted during the tenure of former Minister Milinda Moragoda. Minister Gunatilleke talking to The Sunday Leader said that he would not be swayed from the programmes he has for his Ministry.

    Refuting allegations levelled against him by certain ‘big wigs’ in the hospitality industry Tourism Minister Nandana Gunatilleke said that decision making on issues related to his Ministry will be made by him.

    “Unnecessary powers given by the Tourism Act of 2005 are harmful to the industry and also the majority of the board members in the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, the Hotel School and the Convention Bureau should be from the government and not from the private sector partnership. They have taken decisions to suit their agendas and not to suit the government agenda. I would not tolerate such decisions and once the existing laws are amended I could implement the Mahinda Chinthanaya in the Tourism Ministry,” he claimed. Excerpts:

    Q: Did you initiate the complaint through the police on the Hikkaduwa Fest nude photos?

    A: No. I did not make any complaints to the police as I was away in Japan and returned only on Sunday. Upon my return I heard that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had taken some suspects into custody but could not verify whether it was my Ministry officials or any other outsiders that helped the police to nab the guilty party.

    Q: The JVP almost killed tourism in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Now as Tourism Minister how exactly do you intend to restructure this very vital sector?

    A: The then JVP neither killed tourism nor did anything wrong to the industry but always worked towards the betterment of the leisure sector.

    Fidel Castro of Cuba followed by Raul Castro has never tried to destroy their country’s leisure industry but have developed it to earn foreign exchange. Likewise although Vietnam and China are two communist countries still they have uplifted their tourism industry so did we.

    Now I am not a JVP member but belong to an alliance of the UPFA government. All these accusations are made by the ‘big wigs’ of the hospitality industry but certainly not the SME sector. The main reason for them to accuse me of being not accountable is that they do not want to accept me as their Minister. They wanted someone whom they could control. Now all their plans have gone wrong and they are making several accusations against me and my party.

    Q: Is the industry currently facing a crisis situation?

    A: No the industry is perfectly in position and does not face any crisis situation. Those who were not allowed to control the Ministry work are saying that there is a crisis situation in the industry.

    I have directed the relevant officers to attend to all urgent work to increase the product but understand that there is a certain group that does not want to see me developing the industry.

    I would not accuse the entire private sector partnership for the situation, but most of them are pulling my leg trying to stop me from developing the industry. For instance it was these officers who wanted to get a good portion from the proposed US $ 20 million World Bank tourism industry project. But failing in their attempts, they are now trying to create a crisis in the industry.

    I would like to tell them that as long as I serve as the Tourism Minister I would not allow the industry to face any crisis situation as they hope would happen.

    Q: Do you have plans to involve the private sector to help boost tourism?

    A: Certainly yes. I very much need their help, as this is a private sector driven industry.

    Q: Should not the private sector be brought in as an executive partner to help manage the industry?

    A: True the private sector partnership is vital to revive the industry but we should not give the upper hand to them. It is the private sector partnership that has taken all the vital decisions in the industry earlier, but what I understood was that the decisions made by them were not to suit the government but their personal agendas.

    It is the government authority that has to reign and not personal agendas which are harmful to the tourism industry. As a result, while giving the private sector an opportunity to help me to boost the industry it is Mahinda Chinthanaya that has to be implemented at the Tourism Ministry.

    Q: Why did Prema Cooray (regarded as an authority in the hotel trade) and Cornel Perera tender their resignations soon after you were appointed Minister Tourism?

    A: They did not tender their resignations soon after I was appointed. What in fact took place was that I wanted them to step down two months after my appointment as I found they were not cooperating to achieve my goals. It was disheartening to see that these two Chairmen did not even come to meet me after I took over office.

    How could I work and how could I expect a proper job from such people when they were not ready to cooperate with me? I do not have any grudge with the board members either, but if I know that I would not get their support then I would not hesitate to remove any officer holding office irrespective of positions.

    Q: There is criticism that you have begun to bring in from outside the industry, persons who have no knowledge of the management needs of the industry, and are removing members of the private sector who were associated with the industry such as Cooray and Perera?

    A: These are all baseless allegations. Those who cling to director boards in the Tourism Development Authority, the Hotel School, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, and the Convention Bureau think that they are the best set of people in the industry, which is not.

    There are many more educated people in the country to serve these boards and I would get their service to the betterment of the industry in the near future. The newly appointed Chairman Hotel School Sarath Kodituwakku is a senior lecturer who has a MBA and is a good administrator as well. Being a lecturer I think he is the best person to head the Hotel School.

    I know who is levelling these allegations against me and these do not scare me. I know what I have to do in order to boost the tourism industry and bring dividends to the country.

    That was why I decided to appoint the most suitable persons to key positions and I have received the blessings of President Mahinda Rajapakse in all my endeavours. To be fair, I also should be thankful to the former Hotel School Chairman Prema Cooray for being very diplomatic in handing over his resignation to me personally telling me he was ready to help me in whatever way he could in order to develop the tourism sector although it was I who asked him to step down.

    Q: The latest development is that the unions have got activated and are seeking to re- establish the former Sri Lanka Tourist Board and do away with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau; they also seek to have the Tourism Act of 2005 repealed. Won’t this be a huge setback for the industry?

    A: This course of action would not be a setback but certainly a boost to the industry. Yes, very soon legislation would be passed to bring back the Sri Lanka Tourist Board and to repeal the Tourism Act of 2005 which has done nothing to the industry but has influenced the private sector partners to take the upper hand in all important decision making in recent past.

    Although 90% of the tourism sector is a private sector driven industry still it comes under the Tourism Ministry, which is a government institution. Although Mahinda Chinthanaya is in full force in all government institutions it is sad to note that Chinthanaya policy was not implemented at the Tourism Ministry. The four key institutions under the Tourism Ministry – the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, the Convention Bureau and the Hotel School were headed by boards and the majority of the members were from the private sector over which the government did not have any control. In that backdrop they took decisions according to their personal agendas and also to satisfy their superiors and not the government.

    As a result there is an urgent need to rectify the mistakes made in the past and accordingly the Sri Lanka Tourist Board would be re-established and the controversial Tourism Act of 2005 would be repealed.

    Q: We have over the years seen millions being spent on promotion without the desired results. Do you believe there is no better promoter than a satisfied customer and if we only invest in the tourist we shall reap rich rewards?

    A: Certainly without spending millions of rupees on promotional campaigns and foreign fairs we still could promote destinations through our valued customers by providing the best facilities we could. That is why we need to spend more on the product than on promotional campaigns and we are now in the process of improving the product.

    The worst is that the officers in the Tourism Ministry want to trot all over the globe by way of promoting Sri Lanka as a destination, which have already cost the country and the Ministry a tidy sum. Being the Cabinet Minister in charge of tourism I will not tolerate such colossal spending. However I had to give my permission for about 15-20 foreign promotional campaigns that had been decided on earlier.

    I had to stop the globe trotting of two employees in the Ministry who have already passed their retirement age. Although they had the blessings of their former employers to travel abroad for promotional campaigns, as a Minister who does not want to waste public funds I had to stop all these unnecessary expenditure.

    In future I will see as to how the promotional activities have to be done but certainly concentrate more on the product and on satisfying customers to get better feedback rather than spending millions of rupees on unnecessary foreign fairs and campaigns.

    Self inflicted crisis in the tourist industry


    A self inflicted crisis seems to be enveloping the all important tourism industry, the fourth largest foreign exchange earner with potential to become even the first and we find that the government is killing the goose that lays the golden egg. The latest development is said to be the appointment of two JVPers (one of whom is said to be an illegal immigrant) to promote tourism from Japan! I do hope this rumour is a malicious one and not correct, but if it is true it serves to indicate the value the new leadership in the Ministry places on the promotion of tourism.

    After many years the tourism industry which is a private sector driven industry and has suffered huge losses over the years was looking forward to a good year, but their hopes appear to have been shattered by the government as a result of appointing a JVP MP, whose party almost killed off tourism in the late ’80s and the early ’90s, as Minister in charge of Tourism.

    The industry has been plunged into a crisis. The Minister could not have been expected to know the industry or have any particular commitment to a private sector owned industry such as this. I would have thought that it was not in the interest of the government itself to make such an appointment. He is being unfairly accused of seeking to ‘nativise’ the industry, whatever that may mean.

    Surely they should have understood the importance of the industry to the country. A committed person such as Nandana Goonetilleke could have been appointed Minister in charge of the Coconut Industry or a domestic sector subject he would no doubt be familiar with. With their commitment there is no question that he would do a good job.

    Reforms to restructure

    The last Minister (Milinda Moragoda) had instituted reforms to restructure the industry and established four separate ‘agencies’ under the Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005, which had not been implemented not only because of vested interests but because of many inherent flaws which the likes of former Chairman and former WTO Consultant H.M.S. Samaranayake who chaired the Committee and former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Ranjith Dheeraratne, who functioned as the Legal Consultant to the Committee, to study the restructuring of the industry, and the last Chairman Renton De Alwis had pointed out.

    The private sector which drives the industry was brought into running the industry along with the public sector; a Tourism Development Authority was created together with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management.

    Minister Moragoda had brought in persons from the private sector, of proven ability such as Prema Cooray and Cornel Perera. Cooray, head of a well known group of hotels was brought in as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and Cornel Perera, who also needs no introduction, was brought in as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. These appointments inspired much needed confidence to the industry, so much so that even the World Bank decided to fund a capacity building project for the tourism industry; this was said to have been unprecedented.

    Private sector driven

    The intention of the Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005 was to make the industry private sector driven because of the very nature of the industry, but the new Minister has, in keeping with their ideology, for they are opposed to the private enterprise, begun to reverse the process by bringing in from outside the industry, persons who have no knowledge of the management needs of the industry, and removing members of the private sector who were associated with the industry; both Cooray and Perera have resigned on their own volition.

    The Marxist Minister does not realise that this is a private sector industry; it is they who have invested in hotels and also invested in promoting their hotels, and in the process, the country, as an attractive tourist destination. The Private Sector-Public Sector partnership is ended and it is now said that the World Bank which was also prepared to help the small and medium enterprises is considering pulling out of the project. This would of course be a huge setback.

    The latest development is that the unions have got activated and are seeking to re establish the former Sri Lanka Tourist Board and do away with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. They also seek to have the Tourism Act of 2005 repealed. There is merit in the criticism that more money is being spent on promotion whereas more monies should be spent (and rightly so) on infrastructure and development.

    Millions spent on promotion

    We have over the years seen millions being spent on promotion without the desired results, there is no better promoter than a satisfied customer and if we only invest in the tourist we shall reap rich rewards. ‘Sri Lanka’ requires no special branding; over the past 30 years we have received publicity even in Iceland, may have been for the wrong reasons, but articles or commentaries always mention the beauty of the land and that it is an exotic destination and was the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ or that it is “Paradise lost.”

    We need of course to project the fact that our country is not just beaches for Western tourists escaping their winter but that we have seven World Heritage sites and much more to offer. We have indeed spent millions nay wasted millions on a certain type of advertising which has brought no results — only benefiting foreign advertising companies. The money is certainly better spent on developing the product. We must invest in attracting the high yielding tourist and ensure that they return after their first visit. Regarding the matter of developing the product, let us for a start clean up our beaches, the beach in Mt. Lavinia, a favourite with tourists and locals alike, is filthy beyond description and must be seen to be believed. Two canals empty their garbage into the sea and the garbage including faecal matter is washed up on the beach.

    We need to spend millions to clean up the old Dutch canals, move the shanty dwellers to decent high rise apartments — why not two or three sky scrapers at Wanathamulla — to clear that eyesore and the shanty dwellers of Colombo; that would be money well spent. Let us also establish a Tourist Police arm to protect the tourists from perverts and thugs roaming our beaches; the ‘Welle kollas’ should be given training to embark on a respectable occupation — the funds of the ADB or of the World Bank which it is said was intended to assist SMEs in the tourism sector could be well spent for this purpose.

    There is indeed much that can and should be done to deliver a better deal to the all important tourist. The authorities should also have inspection teams or a ‘Flying Squad’ checking out the hotels to ensure that they are not fleecing tourists, they should be told to invest in the tourist so that they would return to their hotels and bring others in.

    There certainly are many issues which need to be looked at afresh but there is no denying the fact that the private sector, which has invested so heavily in the industry must be brought in as an executive partner in the management of the industry, which in fact belongs to them. Many are of the view, most unkindly, that giving this Ministry to the JVP is like asking the wolf to mind the chickens.

    The Sunday Leader (http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090927/onthespot.htm)

    :bash::bash::bash::bash::bash::bash::bash::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno::ohno:
    - saraprobe, in 5 months
  • I just wish the jvp was annihilated back then. Milinda was atleast competent as far as ministers go.
    - sjinadasa, in 6 months
  • Sri Lanka’s beauty reborn

    Now peaceful, the island nation remains an intoxicating travel destination

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3254/3800689682_fdec0fe059.jpg

    JON ASHWORTH

    Ask British travellers why they return to Sri Lanka again and again and they will enthuse about the friendliness of the people, the stunning scenery, the incredible variety packed into an island roughly the size of Ireland. Even through long years of civil war, the tourists kept coming, lured by cheap beach holidays and whistlestop tours taking in ancient cities and magnificent game reserves.

    Now that the war is over, Sri Lanka is falling over itself to welcome visitors, old and new. Parts of the island that were previously off-limits, such as Trincomalee, the famous deep water harbour used by the British Navy during the Second World War, are back on tour itineraries. Nilaveli, just up the coast, has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2267/2317742497_5a786afc6c.jpg

    This is a fiercely proud, deeply traditional country, where young people bow down in respect to their elders and cultural etiquette runs deep. Religion is important here: towns and hilltops bristle with pristine Buddhist dagobas, mosques, Hindu shrines and Christian churches. Ordinary Sri Lankans, liberated from the daily terror of the civil war, are overjoyed about the new era of peace in their nation. It is good news for tourists, too.

    For those seeking a relaxing beach holiday, Negombo, close to the international airport, has a good variety of hotels, from five star to budget class. Sri Lanka’s beaches, aside from Nilaveli and the stunning Unawatuna beach near Galle, are not as picturesque as the nearby Maldives and the sea can be rough and murky. But many guests are content to stay by the swimming pool.

    More intrepid travellers are likely to combine a few days on the beach with a tour of the island. The regular beat takes in the Cultural Triangle on the north-central plains, including the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and majestic Sigiriya Rock, before heading for the mountains, where the scenery is dominated by rubber plantations and tea estates. Twisting roads, many of them newly resurfaced thanks to foreign aid money, bring glimpses of Tamil tea pickers diligently filling the baskets on their backs.

    The annual Perehera festival in Kandy is a magnificent affair in which dozens of elephants adorned with lights parade through the town. Elephants are part of the fabric of life in Sri Lanka, and you will be very unlucky to visit without seeing a Temple elephant being led down the road for its morning bath, or one of its untamed cousins roaming through the bushland of Yala national park. Not far from the Negombo beach resorts, Pinnewala elephant orphanage is an alluring sanctuary in which the beasts are led twice daily to bathe in the waters of the Maha Oya. If the river, with its coconut palms and sand drifts, looks like a scene from Sir David Lean’s 1957 classic Bridge on the River Kwai it is hardly surprising, since the movie was filmed not far from here. The actual location is in Kitulgala, a little further south, which is one of the best places in Sri Lanka for whitewater rafting.

    The mountain city of Nuwara Eliya is like a slice of the Scottish Highlands transplanted to the tropics. The colonial planters used to retreat up here to escape from the heat. Some hotels put hot water bottles in the beds at night. Many visitors prefer Bandarawela, at a more comfortable altitude, where you wake to the sound of the train from Badulla to Colombo winding its way up the hillside. Bandarawela Hotel, a former planters’ club, is steeped in the history of old Ceylon and well worth a night-stop.

    Whether beach or tour, simply being on this fascinating island is an experience, from the smiles of the beautifully dressed school children to roadside kiosks bristling with colourful wares. Everything is more vivid here; the blue of the sky, the green of the coconut groves, the shrieks and whistles of Sri Lanka’s myriad birds. Being in the tropics, it rains from time to time and it can be extremely humid, but few will return from a holiday here without feeling rejuvenated. The commute into London Bridge really doesn’t compare.


    VIL UYANA RESORT

    Less than five years old, Vil Uyana is one of Sri Lanka’s newest and most upmarket hotel resorts. Built around paddy fields and small lakes, it is a luxurious yet laid-back base for visiting Cultural Triangle attractions such as the Dambulla cave temples, with their dozens of Buddhas, or beautiful Mihintale, where Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka. Accommodation is in enormous chalets built on stilts and reached by wooden boardwalks dissecting the fields and jutting into the water, Maldives-style.

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/144/387776388_91106f7d31_o.jpg

    The chalets are equipped with satellite TV and Bose sound systems, and wireless internet is available. There is also an excellent health spa at which to luxuriate, which offers a variety of Elemis beauty treatments and Ayurvedic massages. Bicycles are available for touring the nearby countryside and taking a spin around the Vil Uyana perimeter with views over African-style wilderness. The restaurant overlooking the water brings glimpses of egrets, Brahminy kites and even otters and crocodiles.

    Sigiriya Rock, visible in the distance, has panoramic views over jungle and mountains, although attacks by hornets have put an alarming number of tourists in hospital. The Rock sometimes closes at short notice due to this problem. The summit is reached by rickety metal stairways clinging to the side of the bare rockface.

    Sri Lanka’s ancient rulers were masters at creating irrigation systems and lakes, and Vil Uyana, which means “Water Meadows”, uses some of the same age-old techniques. The birds certainly appreciate this oasis in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Dry Zone.

    Looking out over the treetops from the African Safari Lodge-style restaurant deck, you can feel the cares of London life slipping away. The restaurant has a good range of meat and sea food dishes from as far afield as New Zealand and Alaska complemented by a good wine list at reasonable prices.
    There is also the ubiquitous Sri Lankan rice and curry for those who care to sample the local fare.

    Vil Uyana is among the most expensive places to stay in Sri Lanka but the mix of luxury and nature is worth paying for. It is a great base for day trips or simply for chilling out.

    For information about Vil Uyana or holidays in Sri Lanka visit http://www.jetwingeco.com

    http://www.cityam.com/lifestyle/travel/w313sgxv1z.html
    - Amal, in 6 months
  • Sri Lanka to hold 2nd Galle fest

    Island nation to feature local, South Asian works

    http://damanjit.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/betweentwoworlds_01.jpg

    By Nyay Bhushan

    Sept 29, 2009, 05:33 AM ET
    NEW DELHI -- Sri Lanka will host the second Galle Film Festival from December 2-6 in the eponymous host town.

    GFF is presented in association with the National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Tourism and will open with Sri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundera’s "Ahasin Wetei," which was in competition at this year's Venice Film Festival. GFF is a non-competitive festival and hence won't include a jury.

    In addition to promoting tourism and film opportunites in the country, GFF's main focus will be on Sri Lankan and South Asian cinema with participating films including, among others, India's “Firaaq” from actress and director Nandita Das. Further programming details are being finalized.

    As part of its schedule of fundraisers, event galas and workshops, GFF will include “Shooting For Change” which will include documentaries designed to inspire social change. Also featured will be eight short films produced in August during a 10-day film camp for children, hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka and run by American acting coach Constance Tillotsonm with Sri Lankan directors Anoma Rajakaruna and Kasinathar Gnanadas. The 40 participating children came from post-war Sri Lanka's different ethnic backgrounds.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/world/news/e3ife9d9d88fcefbcdcb64f59c2c55f1410
    - Amal, in 6 months
  • Mercury Direct/Sunspot Tours Ltd., a tour operator in the UK, has garnered in excess of 10,000 outbound tourists to Sri Lanka for the year 2009. Geraldine Stimson, Product Director of Mercury Direct/Sunspot Tours Ltd., was pleased to have exceeded their target for this year. She added that “due to the continuous marketing support we have given for Sri Lanka, we have produced almost 10,300 pax so far. There are still a few months to go, bearing in mind that we are taking a lot of late bookings”. This phenomenal feat was achieved through Mercury Direct/Sunspot’s aggressive advertising campaign in the UK print media, promoting Sri Lanka and its resorts.

    The UK has traditionally been a stronghold for Sri Lanka in terms of inbound tourism. Post conflict, the island has seen overall tourist arrivals jump nearly 35 percent with the UK market registering nearly 17 percent increase in the month of August, compared to August 2008. This comes in the wake of the UK travel advisory on Sri Lanka being further relaxed with the end of the conflict. According the current advisory, there is now a “general” as opposed to “high” threat from terrorism.

    Dm (http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=63090)
    - saraprobe, in 6 months
  • War's end lures tourists back to Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka's bitter 25-year civil war has come to an end, and tourists can safely return to this island off India to enjoy its beauty, history, diversity and friendly people

    http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/www.vancouversun.com/travel/gallery+travel+lanka/2028342/2028390.bin?size=620x400

    http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0dxj4SS0vp2wX/610x.jpg

    By FRED BRUEMMER, Freelance

    "Serendip,"

    Arab traders called Sri Lanka ages ago, the "Island of Gems." From this our word "serendipity" is derived, the gift of finding unexpected but beautiful things. This often happened to us on Sri Lanka, for it was once aptly named "The Island of the Blessed," the earthly paradise given to Adam and Eve after they were turfed out of Eden because of that unfortunate affair with the apple.

    "Paradise" seems ironic when talking about a country reft by a bitter 25-year civil war, now finally over, that consumed much of the island's wealth and crippled its once flourishing tourism industry.

    But the war, in its final days when we were there, really didn't touch us. We simply followed local advice and avoided the danger zones of the northeast. That left us about 90 per cent of this beautiful and diverse island, known until 1972 as Ceylon, "the pearl near the southern tip of India."

    As a result, our first and lasting impression during a two-month trip to this magic island was its friendly population. We usually stayed in nice but modest (and modestly priced) guesthouses in villages and near towns. When we walked through a village in the velvety warmth of a tropical evening, nearly everyone greeted us with a friendly "hello." The kids practiced their school English: "How are you?" they would ask. "Where you from?" "From Canada." "Oh." they would laugh. "Very good. VERY BIG!" They would wave and smile. "Bye-bye," they would call. "Be happy!"

    http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/www.vancouversun.com/travel/gallery+travel+lanka/2028342/2028392.bin?size=620x400

    Sri Lanka, smaller than New Brunswick, is crammed with history and beauty. Where else on earth can you find a place like the 2,243-metre-high Adam's Peak: that, say ancient tales, is where Adam arrived (together with Eve); Buddha stood on its summit and left his footprint, Sri Pada, as he ascended to heaven; Mohammed stopped briefly; and, before him, the peak was visited by St. Thomas, one of Christ's disciples, by the Lord Shiva and, some say, by King Solomon. It is sacred to Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims, and during the annual pilgrimage season, from the "poja" (the full-moon day) in December to the poja of May, tens of thousands of pilgrims of many faiths help each other as they ascend (usually at night) the 5,200 steep steps and pray together at sunrise atop the magic mountain.

    FULL STORY: http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/lures+tourists+back+Lanka/2046943/story.html#
    - Amal, in 6 months
  • End Of Country's Conflict Aids Tourism

    UK boosts Sri Lanka's popularity with 16.9% arrivals increase

    By eTN Staff Writer | Oct 07, 2009

    The Indian Ocean island welcomed the highest number of British tourists in 2009 during the month of August, representing an increase of more than 1,000 visitors over August last year. Sri Lanka recorded a 16.9 percent increase in UK arrivals and a 32 percent increase in arrivals for the month across all destinations.

    According to the Sri Lanka Tourist Promotion Bureau, forward bookings indicate a strong finish to the year helped by the end of the conflict in the country and the subsequent relaxation of the FCO advice, which has opened up additional major tourist attractions such as Yala National Park, Trincomalee, and Arugam Bay.

    Sanjika Perera, UK director of tourism commented: "We are delighted that people have chosen to visit over the last few months, showing the renewed confidence in Sri Lanka as a safe and value for money destination.

    "We have worked on a persistent promotional campaign in conjunction with the hotel industry back home and with our airline and tour operator partners in the UK, and the results have been very positive. To have improved visitor figures during the recession shows that the British public are aware of the diversity that Sri Lanka offers and keen to experience an Indian Ocean break, at an attractive price."

    http://www.eturbonews.com/12152/uk-boosts-sri-lankas-popularity-169-arrivals-increase
    - Amal, in 6 months
  • Amazon Raid

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/ArticleImages/yoazff55fx2hzffzkkvtpxmd_amazonraid.600.main.jpg

    Some locals wave to competitors from several countries taking part in the cycle segment of the Amazon Raid endurance race in Sri Lanka's north central town of Dambulla yesterday.

    Some 120 women, mostly from France, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Sri Lanka, are taking part in the six day event that tests participants in disciplines ranging from cycling to trekking. The race takes place in one of Sri Lanka's former historic cities of Dambulla and in Sigiriya. AFP

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/ArticleImages/yoazff55fx2hzffzkkvtpxmd_amazonraid.600.2.jpg

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/ArticleImages/yoazff55fx2hzffzkkvtpxmd_amazonraid.600.3.jpg

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=64030
    - Amal, in 7 months
  • Im going to SL tomorrow :banana: Will be for just 2 nights, is it possible to do quick tri Colombo- Trinco- Nuwra Eliya- Colombo ?
    - Skyprince, in a year
  • In 2 nights? I doubt it. You will be on the road most of the time and won't have any time left to have fun.

    Im going to SL tomorrow :banana: Will be for just 2 nights, is it possible to do quick tri Colombo- Trinco- Nuwra Eliya- Colombo ?
    - Lasantha, in a year
  • Im going to SL tomorrow :banana: Will be for just 2 nights, is it possible to do quick tri Colombo- Trinco- Nuwra Eliya- Colombo ?

    Wow you really do like Sri Lanka don't you? I lived in Sri Lanka only the first 7 years of my life, and I go there once or twice a year, but now you make me want to go there more haha :) seems like you have a lot on your agenda to see.. To be honest, a 2 day trip would be pretty tough on you. I think the best thing to do is to just go to Nuwara Eliya, though that trip itself will be really really tiring. Well depends on how much sugar you take while you're there haha, you can be hyperactive while you're in Sri Lanka and then you can die for the 3 hour flight back to KL, though I think that even that will do your short trip justice.
    - SLAA, in a year
  • In 2 nights? I doubt it. You will be on the road most of the time and won't have any time left to have fun.

    Wow you really do like Sri Lanka don't you? I lived in Sri Lanka only the first 7 years of my life, and I go there once or twice a year, but now you make me want to go there more haha :) seems like you have a lot on your agenda to see.. To be honest, a 2 day trip would be pretty tough on you. I think the best thing to do is to just go to Nuwara Eliya, though that trip itself will be really really tiring. Well depends on how much sugar you take while you're there haha, you can be hyperactive while you're in Sri Lanka and then you can die for the 3 hour flight back to KL, though I think that even that will do your short trip justice.

    I think I will take SLAA's advice to just go to Nuwra Eliya and back.... but before that I'd have a stop in Mawanella to pick my friends up before leaving for NE.

    Sri Lanka ticks all my box:
    - Very exciting and vibrant country
    - Cheap flights
    - Not far away
    - Cheap cost of travel
    - Very friendly, welcoming, big-hearted people everywhere
    - The easiest country to get around so far, thanks to extensive public transport
    - No need visa ( no need to visit Embassy and no risk of unpaid leave )
    - Multi-cultural and Multi-religious ( big plus! )
    - So-so food ( honestly.... )
    - Easy to find budget rooms

    Within 6 hours flying time from KL, I seriously can't think of any other more attractive places to visit in my eyes than Sri Lanka. I really enjoyed Bangladesh last time, but the visa procedure was very complicated and I struggled to take days off from my college. I enjoyed Japan what an exotic country it is but its very expensive and I need visa.
    - Skyprince, in a year
  • I think I will take SLAA's advice to just go to Nuwra Eliya and back.... but before that I'd have a stop in Mawanella to pick my friends up before leaving for NE.

    Sri Lanka ticks all my box:
    - Very exciting and vibrant country
    - Cheap flights
    - Not far away
    - Cheap cost of travel
    - Very friendly, welcoming, big-hearted people everywhere
    - The easiest country to get around so far, thanks to extensive public transport
    - No need visa ( no need to visit Embassy and no risk of unpaid leave )
    - Multi-cultural and Multi-religious ( big plus! )
    - So-so food ( honestly.... )
    - Easy to find budget rooms

    Within 6 hours flying time from KL, I seriously can't think of any other more attractive places to visit in my eyes than Sri Lanka. I really enjoyed Bangladesh last time, but the visa procedure was very complicated and I struggled to take days off from my college. I enjoyed Japan what an exotic country it is but its very expensive and I need visa.

    VERY true. The food is ONLY so-so? :'( Hahaha you made me sad with that comment with your opinion loooll, but of course everyone has their palates right? I wish I knew Colombo etc well enough to let you know of some really good places to go and eat. One place that I do know that is a tradition by some Colombo dwellers is that they go to "Pilawoos", which is a simple restaurant along the Galle Road in Colombo (I believe that there are two along the road, one of them is in or near Bambalapitiya) You should go and try their cheese kottu roti and iced milo... Though the ice milo might shock you a little because its filled with sugar, but I'm sure you can tell them to tone it down. Anyway try those two combinations, even their plain kottu roti and godamba roti is good, i think, i havent tried those. But I hope you try it out :banana:
    - SLAA, in 2 years
  • like SLAA said, pilawoos has some great kottu. And the stretch of the galle road from wellawatta to kollupitiya has some great and cheap restaurants. If you come again in december, this food freak I know can show you some great places.
    - sjinadasa, in 2 years
  • SLAA & Sjina- points noted and I cannot reply now because I only got 4 hours to sleep before leaving for airport. zzzzz...
    - Skyprince, in 2 years
  • http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/ArticleImages/swk02wn4i2ivf1q5jra54l45_am600.main.jpg
    Competitors from several countries take part in the rock climbing segment of the Amazon Raid endurance held in Dambulla today. Some 120 women, mostly from France, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Sri Lanka, are taking part in the six day event that tests participants in disciplines ranging from cycling to trekking. The race takes place in one of Sri Lanka's former historic cities of Dambulla and in Sigiriya, which is a world heritage site and home to a fifth-century rock fortress. AFP
    http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/ArticleImages/swk02wn4i2ivf1q5jra54l45_am600.01.jpg
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    DM (http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=64198)
    - saraprobe, in 3 years
  • ASIZQXwKmGw
    - saraprobe, in 3 years
  • Fair isles

    October 10, 2009

    Sri Lanka: For 25 years Sri Lanka has kept half its natural charms hidden behind a grim veil of civil war. Its northern realm - home to Trincomalee (the finest harbour in the world, according to admiral Nelson), the beautiful blond sweep of Nilaveli beach and countless more concealed treasures - finally opened to outsiders when the war ended in May, and tourism has swiftly replaced terrorism.

    Visitors are jetting back to this former Dutch and Portuguese colony in record numbers: arrivals were up almost 35 per cent in August. But don't wait for the masses to descend; the country's scented tea estates, its variety of accommodation and its deep-pink sunsets over palm-fringed shores are best enjoyed in peace. - Kendall Hill.

    Stay: In Colombo, local designer Taru has married colonial elegance with modern luxuries at the Park Street Hotel. [ http://www.parkstreethotel-colombo.com/ ]

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26173755-5002031,00.html
    - Amal, in 4 years
  • Sri Lanka September tourist arrivals up

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/102/306519567_5c5cecefc8.jpg

    Oct 12, 2009 (LBO) - Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka in September 2009 rose 28.6 percent to 37,983 from a year ago, with strong growth from key European, East Asian and south Asian markets, the Tourism Authority said.

    It was the fourth straight monthly rise in visitors since May, when a 30-year war ended, compared with last year, Tourism Authority statistics showed.

    But the arrival numbers were slightly lower than in August and July 2009 with these months being the off-season.

    Tourist arrivals jumped sharply in July 2009 just a month after government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels.

    However, total arrivals in the January - September 2009 period are still 2.6 percent down to 309,142 from the same period in 2008 as the war and global recession had deterred travellers.

    September 2009 arrivals showed strong growth from the United Kingdom and Germany, the main European markets, and also from Japan and the Middle East.

    There was also a big increase in arrivals from south Asia, mainly India, a tourism market that has been growing in importance in recent years, as well as the Maldives.

    Arrivals from Germany jumped 29 percent in September 2009 to 2,179 compared with the same month in 2008 while those from the UK rose almost 12 percent to 7,331.

    The number of visitors from south Asia shot up by half to 13,072, with Indian arrivals rising 54.3 percent to 10,185.

    Sri Lanka's tourism industry is upbeat about its prospects with the end of the war and heavy bookings have been reported for the forthcoming winter season.

    Prices of listed hotel stocks have also risen sharply in anticipation of a revival of the tourism industry, which had been in the doldrums for years because of the war.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=23524309
    - Amal, in 4 years
  • I just returned from 2-day trip to Sri Lanka and I very much enjoyed ; even more than the first one. I feel extremely welcomed, its the easiest country to get around and there are plenty to see. Went as far as Bandarawella + Haputale before returning to Colombo. I did not find such a high level of hospitality as I got from SL people in any of Southeast and Eastern Asian countries that I visited :applause: :applause: My utmost regards to SL people and SL as a whole on its way to become a prosperous economically-developed country in the next 1 or two decades :applause: :applause:

    Will make the 2nd trip report soon :banana: ( but with considerably less pics than first one, though )

    Btw, I didn't try the food as described by SLAA but will keep it for the next trip. Homemade food in Sri Lanka is excellent but there are few things I didn't satisfy with outside food, one good example is that many of them are not heated, especially for breakfast. Tried paratha, tosai, wade and samosa for many times but they are cold and not heated ( the served curry also ). There are few other reasons but will explain them later.

    I want to return again and again to this paradise island as frequent as possible. I have forward booking for next February and if possible, will be there again this December.

    I am very happy that from now on I don't need to travel far ( and spend alot for air tickets ) to Yemen to get the same excitement; because everything is just 3 hours away from here :cheers:
    - Skyprince, in 5 years
  • glad you enjoyed it Skyprince. Looking forward to your pics again :)
    - Fusionist, in 5 years
  • I think we should appoint SkyPrince as the head of SL tourism board. He does a great job promoting Sri Lanka. :)

    I am glad you had a great time SP. Looking forward for your new report. :banana:

    I just returned from 2-day trip to Sri Lanka and I very much enjoyed ; even more than the first one. I feel extremely welcomed, its the easiest country to get around and there are plenty to see. Went as far as Bandarawella + Haputale before returning to Colombo. I did not find such a high level of hospitality as I got from SL people in any of Southeast and Eastern Asian countries that I visited :applause: :applause: My utmost regards to SL people and SL as a whole on its way to become a prosperous economically-developed country in the next 1 or two decades :applause: :applause:

    Will make the 2nd trip report soon :banana: ( but with considerably less pics than first one, though )

    Btw, I didn't try the food as described by SLAA but will keep it for the next trip. Homemade food in Sri Lanka is excellent but there are few things I didn't satisfy with outside food, one good example is that many of them are not heated, especially for breakfast. Tried paratha, tosai, wade and samosa for many times but they are cold and not heated ( the served curry also ). There are few other reasons but will explain them later.

    I want to return again and again to this paradise island as frequent as possible. I have forward booking for next February and if possible, will be there again this December.

    I am very happy that from now on I don't need to travel far ( and spend alot for air tickets ) to Yemen to get the same excitement; because everything is just 3 hours away from here :cheers:
    - Lasantha, in 6 years
  • glad you enjoyed it Skyprince. Looking forward to your pics again :)

    I think we should appoint SkyPrince as the head of SL tourism board. He does a great job promoting Sri Lanka. :)

    I am glad you had a great time SP. Looking forward for your new report. :banana:

    Nice, I really would love to be the head of SL tourism board. Will aggressively promote the advantages of extremely hospitable Sri Lankan people and the choice of public transpo available. And I will initiate a giant cable car project linking Nuwra Eliya and the top of Pidurutalagala.
    - Skyprince, in 7 years
  • Nice to hear you had a good time skyprince! :)

    ----

    Sri Lanka lures Indian tourists with Ramayana trail

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    Sita Eliya Temple, Sri Lanka. A temple to Rama's wife which is thought to mark the spot where she was kept prisoner by King Ravana.

    Oct 14, 2009 (LBO) - A Sri Lankan tourism package called the 'Ramayana trail' that covers sites mentioned in a 2,000-year-old epic poem popular in south Asia is drawing droves of Indian visitors to the island, officials said.
    "From the day we launched the product two years ago, large groups have been coming," said S Kalaiselvam, director general the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

    The tour, of sites mentioned in the Ramayana legend, is part of a marketing effort by the island's tourist promotion agency to increase the number of visitors from India, which has emerged as a key tourism market for Sri Lanka.

    "A big increase is expected in the Indian outbound tourism market," Kalaiselvam told a conference for American investors.

    "We being close to India will benefit from that increase."

    Kalaiselvam said the 'Ramayana trail' tour package was well positioned to draw Indian visitors as there was no competition for the product.

    "A group of 500 visitors is expected from India in December, and in January we expect a 1,000-strong group."

    The tourism authorities are developing a host of sites depicted in the Ramayana, the ancient Sanskrit epic popular especially among Hindus, ranging from jungle shrines to mountains, streams, and caves.

    The poem tells the tale of Rama, an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, whose wife Sita is abducted by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka.
    The number of tourists visiting the island has increased sharply since the end of its 30-year ethnic war in May when government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger separatists.

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/157/379311897_7af84e36ae.jpg

    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2113/2489757848_cc8e47b57b.jpg
    Ravana Ella Falls. The falls have been named after the legendary hindu character Ravana, which is connected to the famous Indian epic, the Ramayana. According to legend, it is said that Ravana (who was the king of Sri Lanka at the time) had kidnapped princess Sita, and had hidden her in the caves behind this waterfall, now simply known as the Ravana Ella Cave. At the time, the cave was surrounded with thick forests in the midst of wilderness. It is also believed that Rama’s queen bathed in a pool that accumulated the water falling from this waterfall. (Wiki)

    The war had been the main deterrent to tourists.

    The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has said the island hopes to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016 and has launched several projects to increase the number of rooms to cater to the anticipated numbers.

    Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka in September 2009 rose 28.6 percent to 37,983 from a year ago, with strong growth from key European, East Asian and south Asian markets, the Tourism Authority said.

    It was the fourth straight monthly rise in visitors since May, with a big increase in arrivals from India, a tourism market that has been growing in importance in recent years.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=499872488
    - Amal, in 7 years
  • are these actually the sites mentioned in the ramayana? is there any evidence? ( local knowledge or anything else? or they have just found similar looking sites and renamed them just to attract tourists?)
    - Jodhpur2, in 7 years
  • are these actually the sites mentioned in the ramayana? is there any evidence? ( local knowledge or anything else? or they have just found similar looking sites and renamed them just to attract tourists?)

    yes these are actual sites mentioned in the ramayana...if you read parts of the ramayana you would find several sites mentioned in Lanka since Sita who was Rama's wife was captured and held here according to the Ramayana.
    - PCK, in 7 years
  • are these actually the sites mentioned in the ramayana? is there any evidence? ( local knowledge or anything else? or they have just found similar looking sites and renamed them just to attract tourists?)

    These are old sites, they haven't been renamed. They have been there before the "discovery" of the "Ram Setu" by Nasa.
    - Amal, in 7 years
  • Sri Lanka to push adventure sports tourism

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    Oct 15, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is on the mark to push adventure sports tourism, riding the country's geographical diversity following the conclusion of 'Raid Amazones 2009', an adventure sports event for women.

    Raid Amazones, one of the world’s biggest multi sport adventure events for women was worked out in Dambulla in central Sri Lanka over the weekend, with foreign and local participants taking part in mountain biking, trekking and aqua sports.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3525/3991440451_229a150727_o.jpg

    "I m already thinking of organizing a new event, an adventure raid for everybody with more competition and harder than the Raid Amazones,” organizer of the race, Alexandre Debbane said.

    "It will be about crossing Sri Lanka in about a week."

    "It will be tough … may be next year. That’s what I m planning with my team," he said.

    Over 250 women mostly from France took part in the sports adventure where they had to go canoeing in the Kandalama tank, a man-made reservoir, mountain bike a 40-kilometre route on hilly areas and trek 15 km to Kaludiya Pokuna, an ancient pond near Dambulla

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1774126187
    - Amal, in 7 years
  • Sri Lanka east coast to get new hotels

    Oct 15, 2009 (LBO) - The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has approved the construction of new hotels on a prime beach property on the island's east coast following the end of the war, a senior official said.

    S Kalaiselvam, director general, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, said the country aims to add about 20,000 hotel rooms in the next seven years to cater to the anticipated boom in tourism.

    Sri Lanka now has a total of 13,000 rooms.

    The tourism industry had been in the doldrums for years because of the 30-year ethnic war.

    But the conflict ended in May with the defeat by government forces of Tamil Tiger separatists, resulting in an immediate revival in tourist arrivals.

    Many of the new hotel rooms are earmarked for new tourist zones on the island's coasts.

    The east coast is reputed to have some of the best beaches in the island.

    "In Passekudah, Batticaloa we're developing a 150-acre zone," Kalaiselvam told a forum for American businesses seeking investment opportunities in post-war Sri Lanka.

    "Already we've land given to 13 parties to build 1,000 rooms."
    Sri Lanka aims to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016 following the end of the war.

    The here main new zones being developed as tourist hotel sites are Kuchchaveli, north of the eastern port of Trincomalee, Kalpitiya on the north-west coast, and Passekudah.

    The Tourism Development Authority has called for applications from investors to develop 500 acres in Kuchchaveli.

    It has also called for expressions of interest from investors to develop five islands in Kalpitiya, which Kalaiselvbam said would be "like the Maldives."

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1717299991
    - Amal, in 7 years
  • Serendipity in Sri Lanka

    This ancient land still feels magical and undiscovered – and is full of unexpected encounters, writes BARBARA LOFTUS

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/images/2009/1017/1224256873830_1.jpg

    ON MY BACKPACKING adventures, I’d always enquire among the well- travelled people I’d meet: “What’s the most beautiful country you’ve visited?” and so often, the answer would be Sri Lanka. But every time I was close to booking, there was trouble involving the Tamil Tigers. Earlier this year, I finally succumbed and booked the flights, and sure enough, the conflict intensified. But I went anyway, a little nervously, and I’m glad I did.

    Since then, the Sri Lankan government has declared victory over the rebels after decades of bloodshed. The hope now is that the ending of the 26-year civil war will mean lasting peace and signal a fresh start for tourism in what is potentially one of the most attractive holiday destinations in Asia.

    While the Department of Foreign Affairs and British Foreign Office continues to advise against all but essential travel to the north and east of Sri Lanka (the centre of the troubles) and common-sense caution when travelling elsewhere, for good measure I checked in with an old BBC colleague based in Colombo, who confirmed that sticking to the south, west and centre of the island – as we did – would ensure safety for travellers. In any case, it is always worth checking in with the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to travelling.

    While the Sri Lankans badly need and deserve a lift right now, we could all do with a little serendipity in our lives these days. And if you make your way to this magical island of Serendib, you will find it in abundance. Steeped in the tea-warm Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of India, Sri Lanka really lives up to its name, which means “beautiful island” in local Sinhalese. Although best known as Ceylon, it was originally known by fable as the Kingdom of Serendip. And this remains the essence of modern-day Sri Lanka. It still feels magical and undiscovered, full of unexpected encounters, places and experiences.

    Since the heady days of backpacking, I have to admit I’ve become very demanding. I want it all from my holidays. And as holiday time becomes ever more precious, I don’t want to just lie on the beach. I want tasty food, culture to bewitch and beguile, mesmerising natural beauty, accommodation with character and style, and, for even more indulgent moments, shopping and spa opportunities galore. And Sri Lanka has it all, except tourists – so go now.

    Bone-shaking roads and nightmare traffic are on the list of authentic Sri Lankan experiences. Unfortunately, exploring this beautiful country is still best done by car and driver. My advice would be not to attempt too much, as too many bumpy rides could ruin your holiday. But have no doubt, it’s worth slogging it out to explore the country’s colonial and cultural heritage.

    This ancient land is blessed with a slew of sites of amazing historical and archaeological significance. A mix of Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and indigenous cultures have left their mark, and seven of these have made it on to Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites: the sacred city of Anuradhapura, the ancient capital Polonnaruwa, the lion rock citadel Sigiriya, the caves of Dambulla, the Tooth Temple in Kandy, the Dutch colonial fort in Galle and the natural rainforest in Sinharaja.

    You could spend weeks savouring these sites, but our time limits dictated we be selective, so we were whisked away from the teeming furnace that is the capital city, Colombo, and wound our way up towards Kandy in the centre of the country. This is exactly as I had envisaged colonial Ceylon as a child. Hill country, as its known, is a cool lush oasis of emerald- layered tea plantations, with fresh country air circulating pretty English villas and gardens.

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/177/395676662_937bc91b66.jpg
    Victoria Golf Course, Kandy

    The British built themselves a hill resort here, with one of the finest golf courses in Asia – Victoria Golf Club is apparently unmissable – plus excellent trout fishing and a horse-racing track. If you’re gasping, stop by the Glenloch tea factory for a history and tasting of Ceylon Tea, but if you’ve come for world heritage, the Tooth Temple will be your first stop. A sacred destination, it’s believed to house the tooth of the Lord Buddha himself. The tooth relic is removed from its shrine only once a year, during the Esala Perahera, a 10-day torchlight parade of dancers and drummers, dignitaries and decorated elephants. It may be the largest Buddhist celebration in the world.

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    Tea Picker, Glenloch Tea Factory

    Next up, the Cultural Triangle lies in a convenient cluster close to Kandy. The cliff-top citadel of Sigiriya is a hell of a hike, but worth it for the paintings of pneumatic women that adorn the stone, alongside poems inscribed 2,500 years ago.

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    Polonnaruwa was the second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms (1070 CE)

    Polonnaruwa is a rambling complex of ruins, but go early to marvel at the huge standing and reclining Buddhas, and mind the thieving monkeys. Anuradhapura, centred around the sacred Bodhi tree, is bursting with the remains of a once huge, ancient city, which was the seat of Sinhalese power. If your stamina is flagging, get to the cool courtyard of Kandy House for refreshments.

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    Ruins, Anuradhapura

    We eventually made it to the fortress city of Galle, on the south coast, where we spent most of our trip. The Portuguese may have come for the spices and gemstones, but the Dutch can take credit for the remarkably preserved fort, perched boldly on a headland at the edge of the city. This World Heritage Site is built entirely within walls and ramparts, and houses a microclimate of rare buildings, tumbledown colonial villas and special people.

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    Wandering the narrow streets is to enter a time warp – goats queuing in the post office, the clickedy-clack of lawyers on their typewriters outside the courthouse, the lighthouse keeper busy, old ladies making lace on the doorsteps. I loved it, and I loved the stunning gemstones winking at me from shop windows even more. Everyone has something to sell, but it never feels aggressive. Past the mosque and Dutch-built churches, we repaired for tea and scones in true colonial style at the Amangalla Hotel’s veranda, overlooking the sea. Later, our tuk-tuk passes the cricket ground just outside the fort, hinting at Sri Lanka’s true passion, probably the most cherished legacy of its colonial past.

    FULL STORY: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/travel/2009/1017/1224256873830.html
    - Amal, in 7 years
  • New 8km tourism zone in Trinco

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    By Rohan Abeyawardena

    The Tourism Ministry has come up with a massive project prepared by the Urban Development Authority, to meet the severe demand for land to build new hotels in the Trincomalee District due to increasing inflow of tourists, with the ending of the war.

    Tourism Ministry Secretary George Michael said yesterday that approximately 500 to 600 acres of state land along an eight-kilometre stretch of the Kuchchaveli coast has been set aside for the new tourism development project in the East.

    The plan includes in addition to hotels, public and recreational areas and new access roads. The development of public areas will be undertaken by the Tourism Development Authority, the successor to the Tourist Board, Michael said.

    Recently the government ordered a halt to haphazard alienation of state land there, which were allegedly taking place with much corruption.

    According to the Ministry Secretary, the bidding for the blocks of land between five to 10 acres each would begin as early as end of this month. While the proposals and the conceptual designs will be evaluated by the TDA, the allocation of land to each project will be done by the GA and the Land Commissioner.

    Planners have envisaged the construction of 10 rooms per acre on average. There are now moves by the industry to expand in other areas in the East such as Kalkudah and Pasikudah, but according to Michael there are no problems in those two areas as there are plenty of private lands there.

    http://www.nation.lk/2009/10/18/news1.htm
    - Amal, in 7 years
  • Things to do in Colombo

    COLOMBO, Oct. 19 KYODO

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/218/455183706_8a980a746d.jpg
    Galle Face Hotel

    Founded in 1864, the Galle Face Hotel, or GFH, in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo was once described by its longtime chairman Cyril Gardiner, now deceased, as ''delightfully imperfect.''

    The hotel, which accurately describes itself as a ''resort within a city,'' stands in a spectacular location in the heart of downtown Colombo smack on the Indian Ocean with a mile-long green, about 100 yards wide, rolling before it.

    Encompassing five hectares, it is also Colombo's biggest open space.
    The hotel's back verandah is an idyllic spot to see the sun sink slowly into the ocean every evening.

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    Sipping an ice cold beer, or a cup of famous Ceylon tea, it is the ideal way to spend an hour at sunset.

    If you do not favor beer or tea, you might try what the British called a ''sundowner'' in the days that Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, was a part of the British Empire.

    The cocktail, sometimes called a ''pink gin,'' has a dash of pink from Angostura bitters and perhaps a slice of fresh green lime floating with the ice in the drink.

    In the days that Britannia ruled the waves -- and waived the rules -- the colonials used to favor the drink, first created by the Royal Navy, at sunset and there is no better place than the verandah of the oldest hotel east of Suez to enjoy it.

    As a recent book noted, the GFH was founded 12 years before The Oriental in Bangkok opened its doors, 46 years before Singapore's Raffles in 1910 and pre-dates Tokyo's Imperial, 1890, the Taj Mahal in Bombay, 1903, the Manila Hotel, 1912, and the Hong Kong Peninsula, 1928.

    As author Paul Harris says in his book on the GFH, it was up and running ''23 years before that upstart Conrad Hilton was even born.''

    For years, Sri Lankan newspapers used to derisively call the Galle Face Green ''Galle Face Brown'' because the turf was scorched and a blade of grass was hard to see.

    But it has now been re-turfed to its original emerald glory although, sadly, the green remains fenced off to give the lawn a chance to establish itself and, perhaps, for security reasons because Colombo, faced for three decades by the terrorist threat of Tamil separatist rebels, remains a garrison city.

    The paved promenade that Sir Henry Ward, a British governor, built for ''the ladies and children of Colombo'' is open for an evening or early morning stroll, doubly enjoyable due to the balmy breeze and gently lapping waves.

    What is not recommended is a walk in the blazing noonday sun when the ''umbrella lovers'' -- young people with nowhere else to go -- protect themselves from the sun and prying eyes under open umbrellas and whisper sweet nothings to each other.

    Looking for bargains in clothes?

    Sri Lanka, one of the major apparel manufacturers in the world and supplying the best-known brands, is a place to shop for clothing.

    Prices are incredibly cheap and the best place to go if price is the major consideration is the often-crowded House of Fashion along R.A. de Mel Mawatha, often called Duplication Road, in Colombo-4.

    Any taxi or three-wheeler driver will take you there.

    Browse around and you can pick up unbelievable bargains.

    There are other such stores too -- the up-market Odel, also easy to find if you are willing to pay more or a chain called No Limit.

    http://www.sareedreams.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/sari-saree-bar-odel.jpg
    Odel

    Spending time in Colombo and not seizing the chance to shop for clothes is surely an opportunity lost.

    Even visiting royalty have stolen into the shack-like restaurant the Wadiya -- a fishing wadiya is a place where fishermen congregate with their catch -- standing smack on the beach at Bambalapitiya and offering a delectable seafood menu.

    If you are partial to crab, and Sri Lanka is famous for its crab much of which, sadly for locals, is exported, some Chinese restaurants such as the Chinese Dragon and 88 offer a steamed whole crab with ginger, recommended for those who want to savor true crab flavor.

    Equally good are alternatives such as chili crab or a crab curry for diners with an adventurous palate.

    One warning: phone ahead and check whether crab is available. Sometimes it is not.

    Colombo also offers half a dozen plush casinos, reputedly the best in the region, where games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat and poker attract both gamblers from home and abroad as well as bevies of Chinese and former Soviet Republic women.

    Locals are not encouraged in many of the casinos, but that doesn't mean Sri Lankans don't gamble in them -- any and everybody can't get in.

    This is not surprising because free food and liquor are on offer for players, not to mention the ladies.

    http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=465891
    - Amal, in 7 years
  • Trincomalee beckons

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    B. MURALIDHAR REDDY


    TRINCOMALEE, the capital of the Eastern Province, remains a sleepy town on week days and comes to life only during the weekends when people from all parts of the island flock in for their first glimpse of the east after years. A few houses along the road even have “Lodging Available” boards in Sinhala.

    The tariffs for furnished houses vary from Sri Lanka Rs.3,500 to Rs.5,000 a day. ($1 fetches Sri Lanka Rs.114). Nilaveli is one of the main beaches where the ocean is calm and a sea-bather could venture far out into the sea. On weekends the beach is packed with vehicles and families can be seen frolicking.

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    Another attraction is the seven hot-water wells at Kinniya, on the outskirts of the town. The waters of the wells are considered to have mineral properties that help in healing skin eruptions and rheumatic pain.

    The springs are under the care of the local municipal council, and the authorities need to do a lot more to make them tourist-friendly. The entry fee per person is Sri Lanka Rs.20. A wall surrounds the area, which has shelters and separate changing rooms for men and women.

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    A must-visit location in the town is Koneswaran Kovil, or Swami Rock, within the Old Dutch Fort overlooking the sea. The temple and the famous Lovers’ Leap are favourite destinations. Local lore has it that a Dutch soldier and his lover, the wife of a superior officer, committed suicide by jumping into the ocean from the vantage point, which came to be known as Lovers’ Leap. It is a 100-metre fall into the ocean. Swami Rock attracts thousands of devotees.

    http://www.flonnet.com/stories/20091106262205000.htm
    - Amal, in 7 years
  • Colombo’s biggest food festival to attract 10,000 visitors

    By Danushi Peiris

    The island’s tourism industry is expecting to see double the number of visitors to 10,000 Colombo’s biggest food festival this year. The World Spice Food Festival, organized by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), is set to become a large tourist attracter throughout this November, Tourism Ministry Secretary George Michael said yesterday at the media briefing held to announce the event.

    The event, spread over nine days, will consist of a culinary extravaganza from the 6th to the 14th of November and will start off with a tantalizing array of edibles at the Water’s Edge on the 5th of November 2009. The event will also comprise of a three-day Global Spice Food Village from the 6th to the 8th of November at the Galle Face Green from 6.30pm to 12 midnight each day.

    In the meantime 21 signature chefs, specializing in various cuisines from across the world will be flown in especially for the event from countries such as Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Spain in addition to those chefs already working in Sri Lanka at some of the leading hotels in the country.

    The Galle Face Green will take on a festive air for the first time after it’s re-opening with live music and cookery demonstrations including the first-ever ‘spice art competition’, a Sri Lankan crab cooking competition, and a cookery demonstration for housewives with signature chefs while special cultural performances will give a truly unforgettable dining experience for the whole family.

    The event will conclude with a ‘food village’ at the Galle Face Green where all signature chefs will exhibit their chosen specialties from the 9th to the 14th of November with many attractions and super discounts on offer exclusively for HSBC Credit Card holders. A website ( www.worldspicefoodfestival.com ) was also launched yesterday to commemorate the upcoming event. Pic. by Waruna Wanniarachchi.

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=66051
    - Amal, in 8 years
  • Sri Lanka - Kumpuruppidi to be a top tourist resort

    The Tourism Ministry has taken action to develop Kumpuruppidi, the longest coastal belt in Trincomalee District, to be one of the prime integrated tourist resorts. This is done under the project to develop it as an up-market tourism resort on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka.

    http://www.isria.com/pages/30_October_2009_52.php
    - Amal, in 8 years
  • Pidurangala: In the midst of serenity

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    By Lankika de Livera

    The melodious trill of the White-rumped Shama is distinct in the stillness of the forest. The swishing of leaves and the calls of the other birds of the wild add to the serenity.

    In the shade under the canopy, we make our way through boulders up the stone steps – it’s a brisk half-hour of climbing.

    Pidurangala is a massive rock similar to Sigiriya, said to be just four feet short of the height of Sigiriya. From certain places at a distance one can see the view of both Sigiriya and Pidurangala. Surrounding the Pidurangala temple, lie many ruined dagobas and monuments. The entry point to the top of Pidurangala is along the stone steps through the temple. It is a one-km drive from the Sigiriya entrance, through the Pidurangala Sanctuary.

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    View from Pidurangala Rock

    According to the chronicles, in the 5th century, Prince Kashyapa who had killed his father King Dhatusena fearing retaliation from his half-brother, Mugalan, fled to Sigiriya from Anuradhapura. He searched for a safe hiding place and chose Sigiriya. Pidurangala became a monastery when King Kashyapa requested the resident meditating monks who were at Sigiriya to shift there, having built the temple and donating the rock to the monks.

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    A ruined Dagoba belonging to King Kashyapa’s era in the vicinity of the Pidurangala temple

    Paintings similar to those at Dambulla and statues dating back to that era can be seen today at Pidurangala while some of the caves at a higher elevation have been built up with bricks with monks meditating there even now.

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    We keep climbing, and spot a giant squirrel sprawled on a tree branch fast asleep. Breathless we reach the huge reclining terracotta Buddha statue which lies about three-quarter way to the summit at an elevation of about 500 feet, with a natural rock roof. Though neglected, it is said to be one of the largest terracotta statues of the Buddha, dating back to the time of Kashyapa.

    A sea of green – the forest canopy and vegetation – spreads below, like the breathtaking view from the Sigiriya summit. A long cave to the east of the summit has been divided into three sections by walls.

    Near this cave is a 7th century rock inscription which refers to the donation of gold and fields. The incumbent monks told us that Pidurangala derives its name from the Sinhala meaning of “offered gold”.

    King Kashyapa is supposed to have made a golden lotus of all his jewellery and donated it to the monks here, before he left for the battle with his brother Mugalan. Kashyapa took his own life during the battle.

    Many small caves used by meditating monks of bygone eras are found at this elevation. There is a stone inscription and a few inscriptions on the drip ledges of the roof of the caves. Two rock pools full of green algae lie here and we have our breakfast seated on the rock, looking at the gorgeous view before us.

    The next part of the climb is quite challenging. Negotiating rubble, balancing precariously, one can finally make it to the summit. The magnificence takes your breath away. This summit, two hectares in extent, is larger than that of Sigiriya and gives a different angle to the rock fortress.

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    The wind whistles and tugs at you on the flat summit, which is covered by a few trees and bushes and many weeds. With the mysterious sound of the wind whistling through the thistles, the vegetation and forest canopy spreads around 360 degrees, with a few splotches of blue indicating some tanks in the distance.

    No doubt King Kashyapa did not want his palace here, as access is much easier, unlike at Sigiriya. But serene and tranquil Pidurangala is a refreshing experience.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/091101/Plus/plus_01.html


    .
    - Amal, in 8 years
  • Adisham: A homesick Englishman’s haven in the tropics

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    By Adilah Ismail

    Combined with carefully cultivated gardens and orchards, Burma teak shingles, antique furniture and stone walls in beautifully tranquil surroundings, Adisham is a charming stone mansion, built by Sir Thomas Lister Villiers. Nestling in the hills of Haputale, it remains a relic of our colonial past, which continues to enchant hundreds of visitors with its old world charm.

    The 140th birth anniversary of Sir Thomas, the first owner of Adisham, better known as Chairman of George Steuart and Co., was marked on October 31. Arriving in 1887 and having received a public school education, Sir Thomas began his life in Sri Lanka as a planter. After his marriage in 1896 he left, only to come back four years later, to begin his own tea estate in the country which had captured his heart.

    A descendant of the royal family of Bedford and grandson of Lord John Russell (twice Prime Minister of Britain), Sir Thomas’s legacy lives on in the long turret windows, terraced lawns and granite walls of Adisham – the Tudor style mansion (now a Benedictine monastery) situated about two miles from the Haputale town.

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    Adisham, incidentally named after Sir Thomas’s birthplace in Kent, was a homesick Englishman’s dream home in the tropics. The house was designed in the Tudor and Jacobean style on the lines of Leed’s Castle by British architects R. Booth and F. Webster, with no expenses spared.

    The construction of the mansion was completed in 1931 and boasted of special masonry by temple masons from South India and arresting structural designs as well as period furniture, linen and carpets imported from Britain.

    The gardens of Adisham possessed beautiful flower-beds and orchards and entertained the elite of Ceylon many a time on its extensive lawns.

    Located on 10 acres of land, surrounded by lush foliage and with a magnificent view of the surrounding hills, Adisham was the picturesque, story- book mansion that anyone could yearn for. Adisham, which was formerly known as ‘Adisham Hall’, was acquired by the Oblates of St. Benedict in 1961. Forty-eight years afterwards, it is now primarily a monastery and novitiate.

    Now in its 48th year under the Benedictine presence and home to a handful of monks and novices, Adisham retains its Old England charm through impeccable preservation and is one of those rare places which remains untouched by the hands of time. The half-wild fruit and vestiges of Villiers’ orchards, discovered by the priests have blossomed into well-tended gardens over the years and are used to make cordials and jams, which Adisham is famed for.

    This monastery is a haven in the hills and retains the spirit of Sir Thomas Villiers in its hallowed halls.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/091101/Plus/plus_10.html
    - Amal, in 8 years
  • By Rohan Abeywardena
    More than 60 prospective investors have applied to build hotels in the newly proposed 8-kilometre tourism zone on the Kuchchaveli coast, Tourism Ministry Secretary George Michael said yesterday.

    Most of the applicants are joint collaborations with foreign investors, it is learnt.
    Michael said a crucial meeting among all stakeholders in the proposed project, expected to inject hundreds of millions of dollars in investment into Trincomalee District will take place at the Trincomalee Kachcheri on Friday November 9, chaired by him.

    Those invited, he said included the prospective investors, Chief Minister Sivanesaturai Chandrakanthan, District Secretary, Land Commissioner, Tourism Development Authority, UDA, Coast Conservation Department, Environment Ministry, RDA, CEB, the Water Supply and Drainage Board and SLT.

    :ohno: A few months ago the government halted all ad hoc state land alienations done there amidst allegations that it was happening amidst much corruption. There is a severe demand for coastal land in the district with unspoilt beaches for tourism with the ending of the war in May.

    The new tourism zone will come up on approximately 500 to 600 acres of state land. The UDA plan includes public and recreational areas and new roads. TDA, the successor to the former Tourist Board will undertake the development of public areas.

    Secretary to the Chief Minister Ranjini Nadarajapillai, said they had not received any invitation to the conference, however, Michael assured that it was on the way.
    The Ministry Secretary said there was neither acquiring of anyone’s land nor anyone walking away with any land and whatever investment there would be for the benefit of the hitherto undeveloped areas and most of the jobs created would also go to the people of the region.

    The central government, he said was in it only to ensure standards are maintained and approvals are done according to the rules more in a consultative approach, while the actual allocation of land for each hotel project can be done by the Provincial Council, the GA and the Land Commissioner.
    The Friday’s meeting is primarily to brief investors on the guidelines and to define timeline for the investments, he said.
    http://www.nation.lk/2009/11/01/news1.htm
    - pathum1986, in 8 years
  • Aitken Spence Hotels would invest on a 500-room property in Nilaweli, Trincomalee early next year.




    Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels, Malin Hapugoda said on Wednesday that this would be a mixed development hotel project where they would offer luxury Villas, standard rooms and apartments. “We already have a 100-acre property and I think this is the time to invest in it”, he said.

    Having completed over three decades in the hotels industry, Aitken Spence has a chain of luxury hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, India and Oman. “We are planning to build apartments sell and manage them,” he said. Construction work on the hotel project would get under way next year and is scheduled to be completed by 2012. He also outlined plans to construct a business hotel in Jaffna next year. He said that they would also invest 25 million US dollars jointly with Six Senses Resorts and Spas to build a new hotel in Ahungalle.

    “This project was on hold for five years due to the war situation in the country. Now the investor is pressuring us to go ahead with this project,” he said. Six Senses Resorts and Spas management and development company with properties in six countries including the Maldives, Thailand, Vietnam, Oman, Jordan and Spain is a leading hotel operator in the world and their presence in Sri Lanka would give additional value to the destination.

    “Ten acres of land for the project is already available next to the five star Heritance Ahungalle and we are looking at constructing 57 individual ultra luxury units,” he said. The group would also operate two individual Spas in these two new hotels.

    Aitken Spence would also invest on a 15-20 Backwater Villas hotel project in Madu Ganga next year. “When these two properties are ready the total room strength in Ahungalle area would be over 220.”
    http://www.dailynews.lk/2009/11/13/bus02.asp
    - pathum1986, in 9 years
  • Kalpitiya is an ideal place to observe dolphins. May be that can be used to promote tourism in the area too.


    visit "wild Sri Lanka" (http://srilankawilderness.blogspot.com/)
    - roosterfeather, in 9 years
  • SL vies to enter Indian MICE map

    By Niranjana Ramesh Nov 20 2009 , Chennai

    The issue of Sri Lankan Tamils may have rocked the Indian socio-political scene barely a year back; but that is no issue now for Indian corporate travellers, for whom, Sri Lanka is being offered as an ‘incentive destination’ by their employees, today!

    MICE tourism – expanded as Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions based tourism – is where the strife-torn island nation is trying to position itself in the Asian tourist map, even as it is in the process of rebuilding its economy and infrastructure. This form of tourism gets its name from the corporate practice of incentivising performance or conference attendance by sending employees to a desirable tourist destination. The travel, then, becomes a business cum pleasure trip.

    “In the last six months alone, we have had two major bulk bookings – one of 350 doctors in Septembers and another of 500 business travellers even earlier than that,” said Sri Lankan Airways assistant sales manager T P V Suresh Kumar. “Apart from that, Airtel, Aircel, Rotarians and Penna Cements are some of our regular fliers.”

    According to Sri Lanka convention bureau general manager Vipula Wanigasekara, the country had 20,000 Indian MICE travellers last year even amidst the crisis. So, the bureau is targeting 35000 next year. On the whole, the nation has had about 1 lakh Indian tourists every year; the number dipped to 85000 last year. “But, we are more expectant than ever before now and have targeted a total of 1.4 lakh tourists for next year,” Wanigasekara said.

    In line with these plans, the bureau has organised a Sri Lankan cultural fest featuring SL cuisine and dance performances in tie up with Hotel Accord Metropolitan, Chennai. The fest will run every evening between 20th and 29th of this month at the Accord Metropolitan.

    The Sri Lankan government, for its part, has planned begun constructing a new international airport (Sri Lanka, presently, has only one international airport, at Colombo), a tourists’ port and a convention centre on the deep south coast.

    Indians can obtain tourist visa for a month’s stay on arrival in the country. The Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) is valued at less than .50 INR. “For companies, sending an employee to SL is only as expensive as sending him to say, Goa. But, the employee gets a five star going abroad experience,” Suresh Kumar said.

    Home-grown luxury brands like Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts are leveraging this advantage to open hotels and homestays at budget as well as luxury levels. Adventure brands like Spizeup are utilising the island’s mysterious quality to project it as an adventure destination, though the real adventure would be to travel to the north eastern parts of the country, which have seen nothing but war for the past three decades.

    It has been only two days since the Sri Lankan government declared all routes to these regions secure, which means that there is no security clearance necessary to travel to these areas anymore. But the process of infrastructure building in these areas has barely started. “The government has adopted the public private partnership model for all modes of development in the country, and foreign investment is welcomed in all sectors and that’s how we have the Koreans building for us the tourist sea port,” Wanigasekara said.

    Sri Lankan Holidays marketing manager Shyana Wijayaratne said, “For the north-east, this means that the government will provide road, electricity and other basic facilities and the private sector will take care of the soft infrastructure.” Cinnamon Hotels has already begun refurbishing its establishments in Triconmallee.

    “Though the north east raked up passions in India last year, business travellers, from our experience, are unconcerned,” Cinnamon business development director Roshan Gurusinghe said. “The baggage of war and suspicion will probably be with us for a few years, and it is up to us to make sure that development spreads out of Colombo and reaches the north east. Tourism provides the first opening for such development.”

    http://www.mydigitalfc.com/news/sl-vies-enter-indian-mice-map-095
    - Amal, in 9 years
  • Hey guys just wanted to say I saw the new Sri Lanka ad.. Well I think its just the small Miracle ad without the "Small Miracle" tag. It just says Sri Lanka and "Visit 2011" The scenery is AMAZING. And I saw it on Discovery Travel & Living, so I'm guessing it's been actually been put on air, like it was supposed to be.. Cant wait to see it on Al Jazeera or CNN soon!
    - SLAA, in 9 years
  • Sri Lanka's JKH poised for pour cash into leisure

    Nov 22, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's John Keells Holdings is ready to invest nearly 6.0 billion rupees over the next two to three years in upgrading and building new hotels if tourism arrivals pick up after the end of a 30-year war as expected, an official said.

    Deputy chairman Ajith Gunewardene said JKH was planning a 190 room hotel in Beruwela on which design work would be finished by next April.

    The hotel is expected to cost around 1.7 billion rupees, and will be a 4-star rated hotel coming under the group's mid-market 'Chaaya' brand. Its up market 5-star properties are branded Cinnamon.

    JKH has a 10-acre long stretch in Beruwala, after it bought land from Sri Lanka's Confifi group next to an existing property. JKH's Beach Hotel Bayroo, in Beruwala was damaged during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

    JKH has already closed its 80 room Club Oceanic Hotel in the Eastern coast of Trincomalee to be refurbished at a cost of 400 million rupees as a 4-star rated property.

    Bentota Beach Hotel, would also be refurbished towards the end of next year at cost of 800 million rupees. The 115 room property would be 5-star rated.

    "If tourism arrivals increase we will be ready with rooms," Gunewardene told a forum organized by Leopard Capital, a private equity group in Colombo.

    "Cambodia saw an exponential growth after unrest ended. Arrivals grew from 557,000 in 200 to 2.1 million in 2008. Sri Lanka had 438,000 tourists last year."

    By 2011 JKH would be ready to start a 100 room 5-star hotel at its existing land in Ahungalle. The project may cost 1.6 billion rupees.

    It could also build another 4-star 120 room hotel in the East Coast on its existing or acquired property. JKH had access to property in Kuchchaveli as well as in Nilaveli, Gunewardene said.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=780938888
    - Amal, in 9 years
  • Chaaya Blu Trincomalee to open next year

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2009/11/27/z_page-v-Chaaya-Blu.jpg

    A member of the John Keells Hotels Group, Club Oceanic Trincomalee has closed operations to undergo a complete refurbishment and expansion.

    The 56-room Club Oceanic will receive a new look and theme by the design of master-architect Channa Daswatte and additional capacity to take its inventory to 80 rooms.

    It is expected that the hotel will reopen in May 2010 as "Chaaya Blu Trincomalee" joining the "Chaaya Hotels and Resorts" family of five other 4-star resorts in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. An investment of Rs. 450 million will be committed to this development.

    "Since the dawn of peace in Sri Lanka, the east coast has emerged strongly as the country's new tourism destination", said Executive Vice President of the John Keells Hotels Group and Sector head for Sri Lankan Resorts Jayantissa Kehelpannala.

    "Trincomalee in particular is becoming increasingly accessible to local and foreign holiday-makers with the development of the road network, allowing them to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Uppuveli and Nilaveli, some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the country and a host of other activities including yachting, angling and whale watching.

    "Blu" is as seafarers would refer to the ocean and "Chaaya Blu Trincomalee, " will be pledged to promoting the rich offerings of the seas of Trinco to the world," he said.

    "Having been involved in Sri Lankan tourism as a group for over 35 years, we are excited and enthused by the emergence of east-coast tourism.

    We believe that Trincomalee has the potential to become one of the most sought-after destinations in the country and Chaaya Blu Trincomalee with its new retro-chic look will bridge the present deficit for quality 4-star accommodation," said Deputy Chairman John Keells Holdings and President of the Leisure Group Ajit Gunewardene. He said "The John Keells Hotels Group is proud to launch one of the first development projects towards promoting east-coast tourism."

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2009/11/27/bus60.asp
    - Amal, in 9 years
  • Sri Lanka cruise ship calls pick up after war

    Dec 03, 2009 (LBO) - Calls by cruise ships to Sri Lanka, which were greatly reduced during the height of the ethnic war, are picking up with the latest operator to launch visits to Sri Lanka being Louis Cruises India.
    The island's Tourism Promotion Bureau said it is to sign a deal next week with Louis Cruises India, part of the Louis Cruises group, which is the fifth largest cruise operator in the world.

    A cruise ship operated by Louis Cruises India is to start calling Colombo port from December 07, 2009, Tourism Promotion Bureau officials said.

    The cruise line is offering a four days/ three nights cruise to Colombo from the southern Indian port of Cochin.

    It also offers short cruises of two days/ one night on the high seas off Cochin as well as slightly longer ones of four days/ three nights in the Maldives.

    Colombo used to be a regular port of call for cruise ships sailing in the Indian Ocean.

    But many cruise calls were cancelled and the port was dropped off the itinerary of cruise lines operating in the Indian Ocean as the conflict intensified.

    Government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger separatists in May, ending the 30-year ethnic war, and raising expectations of a economic revival, including a boom in tourism,

    The number of visitors to the island picked up immediately after the war ended in May and the hotel industry is reporting full bookings in the forthcoming winter season.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=23127120
    - Amal, in 9 years
  • good news,happy to see Tourism bounce back
    - pathum1986, in 9 years
  • Peace Dividend

    In the hills of Sri Lanka, Kandy is ready for tourists

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    By ROBERT SCHROEDER

    KANDY, Sri Lanka -- To understand the spirit of Kandy, listen to its heartbeat.

    It may be heard -- rising from the 67-centimeter-long Kandyan drums known as geta bera -- at the sacred Temple of the Tooth, or during puja (devotions) at the Embekke Temple, just outside the ancient city's center. The centuries-old percussive beats connect one of Sri Lanka's biggest cities with its proud past -- and are now ready to pound a tattoo into a hopeful future.

    Just months after the end of Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war, tourist arrivals to the South Asian island nation are increasing, and Kandyan hoteliers and merchants are hoping to share in the wealth. A Unesco World Heritage site and long a popular tourist destination, Kandy is a showcase of culture, history and religion set in the lush hill country, about 500 meters above sea level.

    "Maybe in 2009, 2010, Sri Lanka will be busy because of the tourism," said Tuan Rizan Jamel, front-office executive of Kandy's posh Theva Residency hotel. "Everything is over. We are very happy."

    Down the hill from the Theva, at the Temple of the Tooth (or Sri Dalada Maligawa), Prabo Wijetunge agreed.

    "People are so relaxed," said Mr. Wijetunge, a Sri Lankan expatriate who was visiting home for the first time in three years. Mr. Wijetunge and his family were among the throngs paying homage inside the 18th-century temple on the north side of Kandy Lake.

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    The temple, the city's star architectural attraction, takes its name from the relic it houses: a tooth of the Buddha, kept in a stupa-shaped gold casket. Crowds of Sri Lankan devotees jostle past, carrying offerings of jasmine, lilies or lotus flowers. The tooth is also the focus of Kandy's famed perahera, or procession, held for 10 days in the month of Esala (which runs from July into August). The perahera features Kandyan dancing and drumming, and this year drew about 500,000 people on its final day -- more than in previous years.

    The dates of next year's Esala Perahera haven't been set. But there is ample opportunity to hear Kandyan drumming and watch local dance -- Kandyan dancers and drummers are some of Sri Lanka's emblematic symbols -- at any time. At the Kandyan Art Association and Cultural Center, a quick walk from the tooth temple on the lake's northeast shore, the sound of a conch shell welcomes visitors to a show. Bare-chested men emerge in blue- and red-fringed white sarongs, with diamond-shaped headgear, beating geta bera with their hands. Women dancers pay graceful tribute to guardian deities and to their gurus. Before the evening is over, the dancers will enact the taming of a cobra and move like peacocks.

    While the population is only about 112,000, Kandy is called Maha Nuwara, or Great City, by the Sinhalese. It has the feel of a town. Many of its temples, performances and shops are within walking distance of one another. But it's worth hiring a car or tuk-tuk (a motorized three-wheeler) to see, for example, the three temples on the outskirts, Embekke, Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya. Buddhism came to Sri Lanka from India in the third century B.C., and these 14th-century structures display distinctive Buddhist statuary and paintings -- but also honor Hindu gods. The temples are still very much in use, with thrice-daily puja and drumming at the Embekke temple, for instance, and devout Buddhist worship at all three.

    The Buddha practiced asceticism before achieving enlightenment, and famously preached that the root cause of suffering is desire. But tourists in Kandy can easily avail themselves of a steam bath or reflexology at one of the city's ayurvedic spas. And while many accommodations in town tend to be pretty basic, there are high-end alternatives. The rooms at the concrete, wood and glass Theva Residency, two kilometers from downtown, are adorned with modern Kandyan art; some are equipped with Jacuzzis. Little more than a year old, it's a world away from much of the other lodging in the area, and that seems to be the idea. Other high-end hotels include the Kandy House and the Kandy Panorama Resort.

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    Kandy isn't without its hassles for tourists, including persistent touts and unscrupulous tuk-tuk drivers. But escape is as near as the 59-hectare Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, where a visitor can find serenity broken only by the song of one of Sri Lanka's 430-plus species of bird. "Maybe the entire climate -- the flora and the fauna -- makes people more peaceful" in Kandy, says Bridget Halpé, a longtime resident and music teacher. "There's a soothing influence about them."

    Still, Kandy did not emerge from the long Sri Lankan conflict unscathed. In 1998, Tamil Tiger suicide bombers struck at the Temple of the Tooth, damaging the holy building and killing more than a dozen civilians.

    But that, a Kandyan might say, was then, and the future is now. Sri Lanka is aiming to attract 2.5 million visitors by 2016. That would be more than five times the number that the country's tourism authority says came last year.

    And war, in fact, is the last thing that comes to mind in Kandy, where the best thing to do may actually be nothing at all. Just close your eyes. Count your breaths. And listen to the heartbeat.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125980772081274081.html
    - Amal, in 9 years
  • Spence expands Heritance brand to Tea Factory

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    Sri Lanka's popular hill country hotel, The Tea Factory, is being re-branded as a Heritance Hotel on 15 December. This is the natural outcome of the successful development of an abandoned tea factory building into an eco-friendly, world class hotel.

    Recognising that a hotel does not stand in isolation but is part of its social and ecological environment, the group wanted a name that conveyed its commitment to the local community as well as to the expectations of discerning guests. Thus: Heritance - a merging of heritage and inheritance.

    The embracing of inheritance in the name acknowledges an appreciation for the inherited locality and environment of every Heritance property. It signifies a responsibility to safeguard and enhance for the future all that is inherited.

    The essence of Heritance is expressed in the service excellence and the local flavour, warmth and involvement that are hallmarks of a Heritance Hotel. It conveys a sense of duty for sustaining the natural resources of the locality of each property. The idea of turning the tea factory on a hilltop towering over Hethersett village into a hotel was that of Aitken Spence Director G. C. Wickremsinghe. Since it opened in 1996, it has become one of the world's most unusual places for a holiday where one can truly experience life as it were on a tea estate during the colonial era. This depicts the true essence of a Heritance property where guests are able to experience the locality and community that surrounds the hotel.

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    With its branding as a Heritance resort, The Tea Factory joins Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Madurai as a hotel of choice for the contemporary, eco-savvy tourist. Already popular with visitors as Sri Lanka's first theme hotel with its heritage of tea, the hotel's refurbishment has added comfort while its new focus has resulted in rare refinement.

    This shows even before guests reach the hotel and they are saluted by a stately uniformed barrier guard. Doormen in regal livery stand ready to help guests alight from their vehicles while uniformed stewards offer a welcome cup of hot spiced Hethersett tea. The lobby, with its reception desk created from cogwheels and its soaring atrium supported by solid green and red painted girders from the original factory, inspires awe.

    Plump sofas and armchairs have replaced wicker furniture and there is ample room to lounge and gaze out through the original wooden casement windows to the tea gardens and hills beyond. Milestones around the lawn indicate the distance from various towns: 258km from Bentota, 230km from Anuradhapura, 180kms from the airport. At 2,072ms above sea level, the mingling of mist and sun is as dramatic as the cool air is refreshing.

    At the other side of the lobby, the Kenmare Restaurant features new menus, new accessories, and the sparkling, positive Heritance attitude by staff keen to oblige. Tea themed cuisine like smoked chicken salad with tea vinaigrette, tea and coconut crusted mullet and Hethersett tea mousse in tulip with seasonal berries are also on offer.

    The Hethersett bar has every kind of wine and spirits as well as especially created tea cocktails. Try 'Planter's Best' - a wine glass of brandy and strong, spiced hot tea to warm up. Adjoining it the TCK CK6685 railway carriage fine dining saloon features a new seven course, fixed price menu with enough choices to satisfy the most demanding gourmand.

    A memorable High Tea is served in the tea lounge every afternoon with sandwiches and cakes and tea prepared individually for every guest from their own choice of leaf.

    Every bedroom on the four floors of the former tea drying lofts has been refurbished to a warm and reassuring cosiness. The board floors have deep pile carpets; the furniture is wooden and practical; and the compact bathrooms have an added sliding glass door for the shower/bathtub.

    Each room has its own tea/coffee set up, together with boxes of leaf tea (no tea bags!) for a taste of the hotel's own brand of tea. Even the bottled water comes from the hotel's own spring where a certified water plant, disguised as a plantation bungalow, produces 4,600 bottles a day for all the Aitken Spence hotels.

    While some hotels in Sri Lanka have upgraded to boutique properties offering guests every conceivable luxury, Heritance Hotels have gone further. At the Tea Factory addressing guests' concern for conserving the environment was paramount in its renewal as a Heritance property.

    For instance, hot water and central heating are provided by biomass from locally farmed gliricidia wood instead of from atmosphere-polluting, imported diesel. Waste and water management is based on sustainable recycling processes; vegetables are organically grown or sourced locally, generating income for the area. Through its Welfare Society, the hotel sponsors community development projects.

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    Guests can stroll on their own eco walks to explore the locality or join in organised trekking three times a day through the nearby Kudawatte jungle watching for birds and wild animals.

    The Heritance Tea Factory experience invites guests to take part in tea plucking and see the tea they have plucked being processed in the hotel's Micro Tea Factory and have it presented to them in a packet the next morning. Other activities include mountain biking; mini golf; cultural events with the village community; and being rejuvenated in the Six Senses Spa.

    As The Heritance Tea Factory, the hotel is set to become more than an unusual place to stay, adding a satisfying experience of Sri Lanka's heritage to the perfect holiday.

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=69863
    - Amal, in 9 years
  • Tea for two in Sri Lanka, the emerald isle with the sunshine coast

    By Jenny Coad

    06th December 2009

    Sleeping in the back of a Sri Lankan taxi is no easy task. Buses roar into view, their smiling drivers beeping blithely. Bicycles ignore cars brushing their backsides, pedestrians saunter across the road and dogs lie in the middle.

    A bus aptly emblazoned with, 'Jesus save us' passes within a whisker. But the hair-raising driving is not the only reason to stay awake.

    The ever-changing scenery provides more thrill than fear, from congested Kandy with its temples, great white Buddha and daring tuktuks, to the textured tea plantations in the Bogawantalawa Valley, a quilted landscape with sheer drops, lush vegetation and barrow loads of king coconuts.

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    Exotic: The beach at Unawatuna, near Galle, Ski Lanka

    I was last in Sri Lanka in 2002 with my friend Jess, who was studying in Kandy. We surfed in Arugam Bay, cycled the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, took long bus journeys and drank lots of milky tea (a 'hug in a mug'). The people and the place left an impression.

    The civil war, which has blighted the country for 27 years, ended in May this year. And Sri Lanka is welcoming tourists with open arms. Areas previously off limits, such as the Yala National Park and parts of the north-east, are open to visitors. No one is more relieved than the Sri Lankans.

    They are natural hosts, inviting travellers into their homes for tea or even a traditionally cooked curry - a marathon that will leave you full for days.

    Now seemed the perfect time to return. I had only one request - no buses. Equipped with our driver, Leyton, we found ourselves on the coast road from Colombo Airport to Galle, 100 miles south.

    The tsunami is evident here and gaping spaces yawn where there were once houses. Boys play cricket on the beaches, the road is lined with fish stalls and palm trees patterned with ropes for the toddy tappers who walk between them collecting the heady sap.

    After six hours, we reach the sanctuary of Galle Fort. It is quiet and heavy with the heat. Built by the Dutch in the 17th century, the second country to make claims in Sri Lanka after the Portuguese, the fort is filled with crumbling colonial architecture.

    Passengers arriving by steamer in the 19th century stayed in the luxurious New Oriental Hotel, now the swish Amangalla, and we do the same. We even eat Sri Lankan curry from the hotel's original plates.

    The fort is equally sleepy by day and we languidly dip into the Dutch Reform Church, National Museum and Pedlar's Street CafÈ for cold ginger beer. The National Museum houses a private collection, including Arabic hooka pipes, Coronation tea cups and a bottle of Jubilee brew in honour of Queen Victoria.

    Walking the walls, we are surprised to see umbrellas popping up in every nook, their shady screens only half concealing giggling young couples. But the heat is too much for us. We seek refuge in the Amangalla's pool and cooling contemporary spa.

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    Picturesque: A tea plantation in the hills of Matale Region, Sri Lana

    Tea is as much a pastime for Sri Lankan's as it is for the British, who introduced it to the country in 1867 and started the love affair that continues today. Here, leaves are the thing and there's a tea for every occasion.

    We head inland from the southwest coast into verdant scenery. Expats came here to recuperate, as the air is cool and the climate reminiscent of home. The roads and railway line are full of schoolchildren in their crisp white uniforms. A Buddhist monk radiates colour beneath a yellow umbrella.

    We are staying in Tea Trails' Castlereagh Bungalow, formerly a tea planter's home, in the Bogawantalawa Valley. Tea is a theme. We are woken with a morning brew, spoilt with scones in the afternoon and there's a tea leaf on our pillows at turndown.

    Negotiating the plantations is best done on foot, so that's what we do. Save for the white dots of tea pickers, the landscape is green velvet. The pickers are Tamils, brought to Sri Lanka from India to work on the plantations. They live in small communities made up of tiny, sparsely furnished houses. They are some of the friendliest, most smiley people we meet.

    We complete the trail by rickety bike. Thank goodness it's the downhill part. We come to a squeaky stop at an Anglican church where the caretaker tells me proudly that the services are still held in English from a Bible donated in 1879.

    After the peace of the hills, Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka and our next stop, is a polluted mayhem. But an interesting city to dip into.

    It houses one of the most significant relics in Sri Lanka, Buddha's tooth. This is enshrined at the Temple of the Tooth next to Kandy lake and here you can learn about Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. It's a place of pilgrimage. And while we're there, thousands arrive dressed in white, armed with lotus flowers, to view the tooth, which is on display for ten days.

    Mothers bring their babies to be blessed and children are rapt by the stuffed Raja Tuska, the longserving elephant who worked at the temple for 50 years. Raja is a national treasure and still keeps a grim eye over proceedings from his glass cabinet.

    Respite is not easy to come by in Kandy, but iced tea in the Mlesna tea shop on Delada Vidya provides relief and the Bahirawakanda Buddha overlooking the city is worth the trek. He's under scaffolding when we visit, and after being blessed by a monk, we can't say no to donating towards his refurbishment.

    From here, it's a short drive from Kandy to Colombo and our base for two days is the chic Park Street Hotel. My favourite shopping haunts, Barefoot Bookshop for woven fabric and Paradise Road for hand-thrown pottery are reassuringly busy.

    The National Museum, only a short walk from our hotel, has been newly refurbished. It guides you through Sri Lanka's extraordinary ancient cities, Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Kandy, detailing the mechanics of their water systems and displaying such treasures as the intricately carved ivory combs given to brides for fertility.

    Everyone speaks hopefully about tourists making the trip to this most lovely teardropshaped island. I hope so, too. On our return flight, one of the air stewards laments the lack of visitors and asks us to spread the word about the joys of Sri Lanka. Consider it done.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1233662/Tea-Sri-Lanka-emerald-isle-sunshine-coast.html#ixzz0YzGbIyI2
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Sri Lanka lures Indian tourists by sea

    Dec 08, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka has struck a deal with the world's fifth largest cruise line to attract Indian tourists to the island by cruise ship, officials said.

    Louise Cruise Lines, based in Cyprus, has begun weekly calls at Colombo port with its cruise ship Aquamarine which can carry 1,200 passengers.

    The Sri Lanka Tourist Promotion Bureau said the vessel, which will sail between Cochin, Male and Colombo, is the first regular fixed-day cruise to Sri Lanka in recent times.

    Louis Cruises Managing Director Oneil Khosa said that, based on average load factors, the line is confident of being able to bring 30,000 Indian visitors to the island within five months.

    He said there was much potential as Sri Lanka was still not drawing many Indians given the size of the Indian outbound market.

    "Louis Cruise Lines will work together with the Sri Lanka Tourist Promotion Bureau to promote Colombo as a cruise destination," Khosa told a news conference aboard the Aquamarine on its maiden call to Colombo Monday.

    The cruise line has signed a deal with the Sri Lanka Tourist Promotion Bureau to promote Colombo as a cruise destination, he said.

    The Aquamarine brought 200 travel agents along with passengers on her maiden call.

    The Tourism Promotion Bureau said the cruise calls are expected to increase the number of Indian tourists visiting the island by 4,000 a month.

    Its chairman Bernard Goonetilleke said Sri Lanka can now attract Indian visitors to the island not only by air but by sea as well.

    "There are many connections by air between India and Sri Lanka but hardly any by sea (for passengers). This is the first such service. I believe it is going to be an interesting period for us."

    Tourism Minister Achala Jagoda said that with the end of the island's ethnic war the authorities were trying to lure more tourists from the Asian region.

    Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka has seen a sharp increase since May when government forces defeated the Tamil Tigers, ending their 30-year separatist war.

    In recent years India has also emerged as one of the main tourist generating markets for Sri Lanka.

    Pricing on cruises aboard the Aquamarine is "aggressive" Khosa said with rates starting from an all-inclusive 100 dollars a night for a passenger accommodated in a basic cabin to 250 dollars for a 'royal suite'.

    "We will extend prices even lower than these to Sri Lankan travel agents," he said, in an effort to encourage Sri Lankans to take cruises.

    "We are also keen to develop the outbound market from Colombo to Cochin and Colombo to Male. The travel agents say there is appetite for outbound tours."

    The Aquamarine will call at Colombo port on Monday afternoon and depart on Tuesday afternoon.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1201248986
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Sri Lanka November tourist arrivals up 20-pct

    Dec 08, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tourist arrivals for November went up 20.1 percent to 44,311 from a year ago, boosted by more visitors from key markets like the United Kingdom, Germany and India, while arrivals from Eastern Europe dipped.

    The number of visitors from Western Europe rose 18.0 percent to 15,212 with France up 43 percent to 1,424, the UK up 11.7 percent to 6,336 and Germany up 17.5 percent to 3,433.

    Visitors from Eastern Europe were down 13.9 percent to 3,456 with tourist arrivals from Russia plunging 34.5 percent to 1,491 compared with the same month last year.

    South Asian arrivals continued to grow in double digits, up 23.3 percent to 13,371. India generated 8,769 visitors, up 14.7 percent, and Pakistan 681, up 29.0 percent. But arrivals from the Maldives fell 4.5 percent to 3,586.

    The number of visitors from the Middle-East shot up 200.3 percent to 2,886.

    East Asian visitors also increased in number with the government trying to promote the island in new markets in Asia.

    Arrivals from East Asia were up 19.4 percent to 4,699, with Malaysia arrivals more than doubling to 1,134, and those from Singapore up by more than half to 788.

    However, the number of Chinese tourists fell 6.5 percent to 714 visitors.

    Cumulative arrivals, which had fallen steadily till May, were up 0.4 percent to 391,028 in the January to November period from the same period in 2008.

    Tourist arrivals in the island increased sharply from May, when government forces defeated the Tamil Tigers, ending Sri Lanka's 30-year ethnic war.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1865988367
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Civil War Ending Promises Sri Lanka Tourism Boom

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    Taprobane Island

    NEW YORK - (Business Wire) Remote Lands, the New York and Bangkok-based ultra-luxury Asia private tour operator, is reintroducing its highly personalized, white-glove service itineraries for Sri Lanka.

    The country’s tragic civil war, which ended in May 2009 after 26 years, had largely kept western travelers away. After six months of peace, though, the island paradise once again beckons visitors with its rich culture and art, ancient architecture, marvelous beaches and stunning mountains, 5-star hotels, and much more.

    “It’s time to return to Sri Lanka, one of the world’s perfect travel destinations,” said Catherine Heald, co-founder and CEO of Remote Lands. “From its extreme physical beauty, to its diversity of experiences, to the kindness of its people, Sri Lanka truly has it all.”

    Sri Lanka is an exquisite gem of an island that Remote Lands highly recommends seeing by private helicopter. Among its many draws: ancient cities and religious sites, superb trekking and safaris, whale watching, a wild elephant preserve, untouched rainforest, and delicious cuisine. It also offers exceptional value.

    Couples considering a unique honeymoon destination should look no further than the secluded luxury beachfront resort at Amanwella on the island’s southern coast, or Taprobane, a private, romantic two-acre island just off the shore of Weligama.

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    Amanwella

    Sri Lanka boasts seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the must-see ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the rock citadel at Sigiriya, and the Dutch colonial fort of Galle, the site of Amangalla, a perfect complement to its sister Amanresort. Other charming lodging includes colonial bungalows and villas among the island’s many tea plantations.

    A favorite experience of Remote Lands’ is a private tour, led by a prominent scholar, of the works of Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s most influential and prolific architect, renowned for his pioneering work melding buildings with their natural environment. The tour includes hotels, private houses and the Lunaganga estate, a laboratory for his ideas over the decades and his most striking achievement.

    Sri Lanka’s government is aiming to open up areas in the north and east that have been off-limits for decades. Trincomalee, for example, offers the pristine Nilaveli Beach and, just offshore, excellent snorkeling around Pigeon Island. Nearby are natural hot springs and the fascinating history of Tirukoneswaram Temple, perched on the summit of Swami Rock overlooking the Indian Ocean.

    Prices for a Remote Lands luxury bespoke holiday in Sri Lanka start at $1,000 per person per day not including helicopter charter. For further details please visit www.remotelands.com.

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/civil-war-ending-promises-sri-lanka-tourism-boom,1080943.shtml

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    - Amal, in 10 years
  • A slice of heaven

    Whenever I am heading for our remote bit of heaven in the southern coast of Sri Lanka, friends often ask: ‘But what’s there for you to do?’ Actually, I never know how the time goes past here so quickly. A large number of books remain unwritten and unread. Movies I had planned to watch remain in their plastic wrapping. And dishes I had wanted to experiment with stay in their recipe books.

    The day starts with a swim. But before readers think of me as a disciplined athlete, let me hasten to clarify that my version of the backstroke is probably the slowest in the world. When my son teases me about it, I tell him I’m not in training for the Olympics, and that I would much rather look up at the sky, the trees and the clouds, than the bottom of the pool. I also use this time to mull over what I’m going to write about in my next column.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/a-slice-of-heaven-929
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • BOI approves project to build modern city hotel in Jaffna

    The Board of Investment (BOI) has granted investment approval for Tilko Jaffna City Hotels Ltd., to establish a modern tourist hotel in the heart of Jaffna Town.

    BOI Chairman and Director General Dhammika Perera signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to Mr. Thavarajah Thilagaraj, Managing Director of the Company.

    The project carried out under the Accelerated Development Programme for the Northern Province is for an initial investment of Rs. 80 million. The company will establish a modern hotel offering a comfortable stay for guests. The hotel will consist of 33 Guest Rooms and 2 Cottages to accommodate group tourist. The hotel will offer facilities such as a restaurant, gymnasium, and conference facilities.

    The hotel is established in a 340 perch land with an overview of the lagoon and the beach. Mr. Thilagaraj stated that the area lacked hotels offering proper facilities to tourist.

    Mr. Thilagaraj described the hotel as a Luxury Hotel targeting the business community, tourists and expatriates. The company has already commenced construction of the hotel and expects to commence commercial operations in February 2010.

    "There is so much investment potential in the area and investor confidence must further be enhanced" said Mr. Thilagaraj.

    According to the BOI the investor, also engaged in other development projects in the Northern and Eastern provinces, has commended on the BOI stating that it offered an excellent service.

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=70288
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Cruising to Colombo

    Louis Cruise Line of Cyprus, the fifth largest cruise operator in the world, made its maiden voyage of its luxury cruise ship ‘Aquamarine’ to Colombo on Monday from Cochin with 500 Indian passengers.

    Sri Lanka Tourism is ushering this latest call to the Colombo Port as part of a plan to integrate the tourism industry with the Asian region.

    Speaking at a press briefing on the ‘Aquamarine’, newly appointed Minister of Tourism Achala Jagoda said the Ministry is even looking at the possibility of bringing the vessel to Hambantota during the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/091213/images/ship_1.jpg

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/091213/images/ship.jpg
    The cruise ship and a bar inside.

    Managing Director of Louis Cruises India Oneil Khosa said Sri Lanka can expect 30,000 Indian passengers in five months. “It is not all about the number of passengers,” Mr. Khosa said. “It is about word of mouth and seeing Colombo. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Louis Cruises should work together to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.” He added that Sri Lanka is already included in the global marketing activities of Louis Cruises.

    Rates per passenger start at US$100 per night. “This is an excellent proposition,” Mr. Khosa said. “Even lower rates have been extended to some travel agents in Sri Lanka.”

    According to the latest statistics from Sri Lanka Tourism, the number of tourist arrivals in November 2009 increased by 20.1% year-on-year to 44,311 compared to 36,901 arrivals in November 2008. The number of tourists from India increased by 38.7% to 8,769 in November 2009.

    The ‘Aquamarine’ has 405 cabins and can carry 1,200 passengers. Captained by Stathis Romeos, this will be the first regular fixed day cruise operation to Sri Lanka. The vessel will ply between Cochin, Male and Colombo with weekly calls at the Colombo Port. It will arrive in Colombo every Monday at 2 PM and depart every Tuesday at 3 PM. The ‘Aquamarine is equipped with restaurants and bars, a nightclub, indoor cricket, slot machines for gambling, a swimming pool, shops and a beauty salon.

    As Colombo is a new market, Mr. Khosa said longer duration of cruising should be refrained from for the moment. “It all depends on how Sri Lanka is promoted.” He added that he is hopeful that within a few seasons, the duration of stay in Sri Lanka can be extended.

    A Sri Lanka tourism press release stated that an MOU has been agreed upon between Louis Cruises and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) which addresses the possibility of using Colombo as a future home port, the necessity for and the advantages of keeping the ship longer in the Colombo Port and also of making the ship available during the Cricket World Cup. Sri Lanka Tourism is also having discussions with the industry as well as with the authorities concerned, to using the sea around the island as well as inland waterways for recreational activities, including the introduction of houseboats.

    Deputy CEO of Louis Cruises, Louis Loizou said the Louis Group, founded in 1935, is a diversified group of companies functioning internationally through Louis Cruises and Louis Hotels which is the largest hotel chain in Cyprus and Greece combined.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/091213/BusinessTimes/bt22.html
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Sri Lanka to promote tourism in Northwestern beach islands

    Tue, Dec 15, 2009, 10:04 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Dec 15, Colombo: Sri Lanka government is taking measures to develop tourism along the Mannar beach in the islands of Karainagar and Velanai in the Jaffna District under the "Northern Spring" program, Governor of the Northern Province, Major General GA Chandrasiri said.

    Accordingly plans are afoot to develop the Chaaty in Velanai in the Island of Kayts and the Casurina beach in Karainagar Island of Jaffna which was a popular tourist destination before civil war broke out.

    Minister of Social Service and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda declared open the Casurina beach and the Chaaty beach for tourism on December 11th.

    Under the accelerated programme to develop Karainagar Island, the approach way to the island will be improved. A hotel with all the modern facilities is to be built in the Casurina Beach.

    The development programs aim to attract local as well as foreign tourists to the shallow pristine beaches. The local councils of Karainagar and Velanai have already begun developing the beach stretches and the surrounding areas.

    The government hopes to boost the local economy by promoting the tourism in the area.

    http://www.colombopage.com/archive_091/Dec1260894898CH.html
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Reef opens Reefresh Spa in Sri Lanka

    http://www.tourslanka.com/sri_lanka_hotels/boutique_hotels/images/Reef-Wadduwa-atm.jpg

    Reef - The Ultimate Tropical Beach Villa, Sri Lanka launched in early 2009, has now opened, within its three acres of exotic tropical gardens, its private and intimate Reefresh Spa.

    Reef is a truly spectacular luxury beachside hideaway set in three acres of exotic tropical gardens, just 45mins south of Colombo, Sri Lanka. With a 65m sandy beachfront, all weather tennis court, large swimming pool, lush tropical gardens, huge lily ponds, garden pavilions, gourmet kitchens, Reef has set a new bench mark for luxury accommodation

    http://www.treatmentabroad.net/medical-tourism/news/?EntryId82=174039


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    - Amal, in 10 years
  • More joy, less worry this Christmas

    Sri Lankans are preparing to celebrate their first Christmas and New Year holiday season in nearly three decades, without the burden of fear from LTTE attacks following the end of the civil conflict in May this year. Leisure and tourism industry officials are expecting a very successful winter season with strong occupancy rates in hotels in and out of Colombo.

    Officials also said Sri Lankan expatriates from countries across the globe such as Canada and the United States were coming to the island in large numbers on their annual journey to visit family and friends but even more so now, to see a country free of conflict.

    Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Dileep Mudadeniya said that generally, the feedback from the hotels has been very good. “Every place is full.” He said he fully expects growth in the numbers of tourists to continue through the winter season which typically stretches from mid-December on to March or even April.

    “Sri Lankans will have a good time this year,” he said, adding that there is massive interest by tourists and Sri Lankan expatriates seeking to come here on holiday. “City hotels are going to be full with a mix of foreigners and Sri Lankan expatriates. We are getting a lot of inquiries on Facebook, Twitter and on our website.”

    Mr. Mudadeniya said there are a lot of members on the Facebook and Twitter pages which continue to increase as well as a lot of blogs. “Lots of people are joining which is good for networking and marketing.” He added that there are also numerous inquiries on where to go and what to do in Sri Lanka including inquiries on how people can help in terms of promoting Sri Lanka abroad.

    Rohan Karr, director and CEO at the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo, said that this year the hotel's bookings during the months of December have increased. “It’s 10% more [than December 2008] as of now, and more Sri Lankan expatriates have booked rooms,” he said, adding that more people have attended corporate year-end events than in previous years. “There is a feel-good factor,” he said.

    Flights into Colombo are also fully booked, according to the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines. The airline’s chief executive, Manoj Gunawardene, said that a “full” flight is one at 85% of capacity. Bookings are much higher than previous Decembers: “Many Sri Lankan expatriates are coming from the US, UK, Canada and also Italy, France and Germany [in addition to other Asian cities],” he said.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/091227/BusinessTimes/bt04.html
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Alankuda Beach: Kalpitiya’s great hideaway

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3402/3495956564_43026ac9eb.jpg

    By Natasha Fernandopulle

    Kalpitiya is one of Sri Lanka’s treasures that lie secluded on the West Coast. A stretch of land, spanning 60 kilometres, north of Colombo, it is definitely one of the most beautiful coastal areas in that part of the island.

    The historic Dutch Fort and St. Peter’s Kirk are reminders of the country’s colonial history. The area is also well known for its diverse habitat, which includes the Bar Reef – that boasts of the greatest biodiversity of any coral reef situated in the waters around Sri Lanka. The Bar Reef has a high ecological, biological and aesthetic significance because it is home to 156 species of coral and 283 species of fish. The Puttalam saltpans, mangrove swamps as well as the salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches are some of its other attractions.
    Pix courtesy picasaweb.google.com /alankudabeach/

    If marine life is what you want you will not be disappointed as there is a 90% chance of seeing dolphins and whales as well as the mysterious dugongs. The latter is a rare species and found only in this part of the island.

    Among the long list of marine mammals in the Bar Reef Marine Sanctuary are the long snouted spinner dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, rissose dolphin and of course the dugong. The species of whale that can be spotted are the blue whale, mink whale, sperm whale, dwarf sperm whale and melon-headed whale.

    Three hours away from Kalpitiya lies the Cultural Triangle which has four of Sri Lanka’s seven World Heritage Sites while the Wilpattu National Park is an hour away. The well known 17th century Roman Catholic church – St. Anne’s, Talawila is five miles from Kalpitiya. A Hindu temple dating back to ancient times and dedicated to God Shiva – the Munnesweram Kovil, can also be visited as it is around one and a half hours drive from Kalpitiya.

    So much to see, so much to experience, but where can you stay? Well one of Kalpitiya’s hidden treasures is Alankuda Beach, situated on a deserted stretch of two kilometres.

    “The resort has a mix of open-style single-roomed wattle and daub cabanas and villas,” says proprietor Dallas Martenstyn. The perfect way to relax and unwind would be to have a drink at the beach bar or relax in the 40 metre fibre optic-lit pool. Be it the Indian Ocean or the clear night sky the view is breathtaking.
    The restaurant called the Ambalama is located in such a way that it gives you a perfect view of the pool and the ocean, giving you the chance to savour some delicious Sri Lankan cuisine including seafood specialties.

    http://lh6.ggpht.com/_SPkIlM15szo/StLB0jDFr8I/AAAAAAAAApE/5od1yK9vwB8/s640/20080210_36_1%20Ambalama%20%26%20Pool.jpg

    The accommodation has a jungle feel to it while at the same time allowing you to hear the waves crash at a distance. The villas and cabanas are comfortable, open spaces and so are the toilets and showers! Taps are hidden behind decorative shells while the water seems to spout out of a tree.

    So once the monsoon ends and the seas on the west coast calm down head for a relaxing or even a romantic getaway to Alankuda Beach.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/091227/Plus/plus_20.html
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Sri Lanka launches tourism promotion in Western China (http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2009/12/30/sri-lanka-launches-tourism-promotion-western-china)

    The newly established Consulate of Sri Lanka in Chengdu together with Sri Lanka Tourism organized a country promotion workshop on 16th December 2009 at the Consulate premises. The workshop, the first ever of its kind organized by Sri Lanka in Sichuan province, was attended by over 60 representatives from local travel agencies, media and airlines.

    Presiding over the event, Hussein A. Bhaila, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs elaborated on the recent developments of Sri Lanka, particularly on the peaceful post-conflict environment prevailing throughout the country. Emphasizing on the wide ranging tourist attractions and unique travel experiences Sri Lanka has to offer, the Deputy Foreign Minister invited the Chinese travel agencies of Western China to work together with Sri Lanka Tourism in promoting the island in Sichuan Province and the neighboring provinces. He invited the travel agencies and the media to visit Sri Lanka on a familiarization tour which would help them gain firsthand experience on the country.

    The Deputy Director General of Sichuan Foreign Affairs Office Tan Xin and the Vice Director of Tourism Administration of Sichuan Province Wu Mian shared their experience and feeling on Sri Lanka and described as a beautiful island and a friendly neighbor who has continued to build strong relations with China. They expressed confidence that the establishment of the new consulate in Chengdu would have positive outcomes in promoting Sri Lanka as a favorable travel and investment destination among the people of Sichuan province and the neighboring provinces. They encouraged the local travel agencies to work together with Sri Lanka tourism in their promotional efforts.

    The invitees were presented with detailed information on key tourist attractions, cultural and heritage sites, niche tourism products, etc., through a multimedia presentation followed by interactions with the invited travel agencies, media and the airlines. Important issues in areas such as new travel packages to Sri Lanka, visa procedures and convenient air links were discussed at the event.

    The travel agencies were very keen in organizing special packages for Sri Lanka for the local travelers and sought better air connectivity to Sri Lanka. CTS Agency, one of the key travel agencies in Chengdu sought the possibility of arranging chartered flights directly from Chengdu to Colombo during special Chinese holidays such as the Chinese Spring Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival when many Chinese tend to take vacations abroad.

    The travel agencies were particularly interested in promoting the well-preserved beaches of the east coast of Sri Lanka and expressed that they are looking forward to organize special tour groups to the eastern parts of the island.

    Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China Karunatilaka Amunugama, Marketing Officer of Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau Office in Beijing Shan Lin and a Representative of the Sri Lankan Airlines spoken at the event.
    - banuthev, in 10 years
  • Sri Lanka draws more cruise ships

    http://www.island.lk/2009/12/30/main.jpg

    Dec 29, 2009 (LBO) – The Sri Lanka Ports Authority said the cruise ship ‘Discovery’ of the Voyages of Discovery cruise line called at Colombo port as part of a cruise tourism revival with the end of the island’s ethnic war.

    The vessel, sailing under Bermuda flag, can carry 756 passengers and touches Colombo mainly on its voyages in the winter season, an SLPA statement said.

    SLPA managing director Nihal Keppetipola said improved security after the end of the war has created a conducive climate for a boom in tourism.

    The Discovery ship’s call follows that of one by Louise Cruise Lines in recent weeks, he said.

    “The global cruise industry is the fastest growing sector of the travel industry.”

    Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka have increased sharply since the end of the war in May when government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger separatists.

    Voyages of Discovery was formerly known as Discovery World Cruises.

    The line seeks to serve a "soft adventure" niche for travelers who not only crave adventure, but also love the comforts and amenities of traditional cruising aboard a classic ship, the statement said.

    The cruise line is now owned by UK-based All Leisure Group which is also the holding company of Swan Hellenic and Discover Egypt.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1363865016
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • I have to say that this is quite well done. I was quite impressed with the information and the quality of the website. I do hope that they spend further effort to maintain and update the site regularly. Does anyone know if the rest of he cultural sites in Sri Lanka like Anuradhapura etc have their respecive websites? Thanks

    http://www.sridaladamaligawa.lk
    - Pindar, in 10 years
  • Britain relaxes travel advisory for Sri Lanka

    Updated on Monday, January 04, 2010, 19:32 IST

    Colombo: Britain today relaxed its travel advisory for its citizen who wish to visit Sri Lanka citing "improved security situation" in the country.

    "I am pleased to announce that we have relaxed the restrictions on travel suggested in the advice we give to British visitors coming to Sri Lanka. The UK government no longer "discourages travellers from visiting any part of the Eastern Province or Jaffna District," British High Commissioner Peter Hayes said.

    "We've recently visited both Jaffna and the East and taken this decision based on our assessment of the improving security situation," a release said here.

    In light of the uncertain security situation in areas recently affected by conflict we continue to discourage British tourists from travelling to the northern districts of Kilinochchi, Mullaittivu, Mannar and Vavuniya.

    "We encourage Britons planning to travel around Sri Lanka to read our full travel advice," Hayes said. British tourists wishing to travel to Jaffna should note that the UK advises travelling to Jaffna only by approved routes, he said.

    Currently these include road travel on the A9 or air travel. Foreign nationals, including UK nationals, need to seek prior approval from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence before travelling to Jaffna, the release said.

    http://www.zeenews.com/news592629.html
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Thailand and Sri Lanka ‘top for diving’

    Posted 05 Jan 2010

    People heading off on a gap year in Thailand or Sri Lanka are going to destinations that offer some of the best diving in the world, it has been claimed.

    According to Tom Hall, travel editor at Lonely Planet, Sri Lanka offers many opportunities for exploring, although going to the country in the summer means the rainy season can be avoided.

    Writing for the Guardian, he also pointed out that the security situation in the west, south and centre of the country is safe.

    Mr Hall went on to say that the only areas to avoid for security reasons in Sri Lanka are very specific regions in the north and east.

    He added: "Thailand would also be a good option but if snorkelling is a priority, aim for the Gulf of Thailand rather than the Andaman coast if travelling in the summer – the drier weather means visibility is better here."

    Earlier this week, the Daily Telegraph reported that the Sigiriya rock fortress is an unmissable stopping point for travellers on a gap year in Sri Lanka.

    http://www.i-to-i.com/campfire/news/thailand-and-sri-lanka-top-for-diving.html
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Aitken Spence Rejuvenates Neptune Resort

    http://aitkenspencehotels.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a64ae2c9970c012875de955f970c-800wi

    Ayurveda ashrams and yoga meditation are now part of Aitken Spence Hotels’ refurbishment programme for Neptune Hotel in Beruwala.

    When the property opens its doors as ‘Heritance Mahagedera’, it will be the latest 40 to 60 room wellness resort in the groups’ prestigious Heritance portfolio. The Heritance brand mission is aimed at travelers experiencing, connecting with, and learning from Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage.

    Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels, says ayurveda, yoga, and meditation will be the priorities of the refurbishment that is scheduled to commence shortly. “Ayurveda is a science of life that has been practiced in Sri Lanka for thousands of years. It is central to our cultural inheritance. ‘Heritance Mahagedera’ will specialize in providing the inner and outer rejuvenation that ayurveda, yoga and meditation, combined with Heritance Cuisine, can provide.”

    Heritance Cuisine is unique to the Heritance brand and is based on a threefold foundation of taste, medicinal value, and presentation adapted to an “ayurveda way of life” at ‘Heritance Mahagedera’.

    But rejuvenation is only one, if not the most substantial, part of the refurbishment of the hotel. The project will also see the rooms redecorated with new soft furnishings, bathrooms, and superior bedding configurations. Executive specifications will include luxury of space and a choice of air-conditioning or otherwise.

    A complete overhaul of all public areas is planned, which will include a refreshed and welcoming porte cochere. Elsewhere, the restaurant will have a total makeover with a special Heritance Cuisine menu and new lighting, furniture, and fittings. The upgrade has further prompted the hotel to widen its sustainable practices relating to recycling both back and front of house.

    “Neptune Hotel was the first resort of Aitken Spence, but its age and mixed background had started to show,” says Hapugoda.

    “This planned refurbishment will allow us to bring the hotel into the Twenty First century, offering the same high standards of quality and comfort to satisfy today’s traveler, while being aesthetically and spiritually Sri Lankan. We also believe the time is opportune for the refurbishment and as the new property opens its doors as a Heritance, it will be to an economy in upswing”.

    A special effort has been made to respect and retain the historical ambience of the property. Neptune Hotel was Aitken Spence Hotels’ first property, designed by prominent Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa and built during 1973-1976.

    Neptune Hotel is one of 26 three- to five star hotels and resorts owned and operated by the group in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, India, and Oman.

    http://aitkenspencehotels.typepad.com/a_hope_for_future/2009/11/aitken-spence-rejuvenates-neptune-resort.html
    - Amal, in 10 years
  • Thought I'd add this here...

    Lahore Hero Visits Heritance Kandalama

    http://aitkenspencehotels.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a64ae2c9970c0120a72c4013970b-800wi

    Meher Mohammed Khalil, the driver of the coach that drove the Sri Lankan cricket team to the safety of the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore was recently welcomed as an honoured guest at Heritance Kandalama during his recent visit to Sri Lanka.

    Khalil and his wife were received at the hotel in traditional fanfare with staff members on horseback escorting the guests to the hotel and an elephant along with senior members of staff welcoming them at the entrance of the property. Subsequent to lighting the traditional oil lamp Mr.Khalil and his wife were shown to their luxury suite overlooking the awe inspiring Kandalama Lake and the Sigiriya Rock Fortress as a backdrop.

    “We are thrilled that we were able to show our gratitude to Mr.Khalil for single-handedly taking the Sri Lankan cricketers to safety when they were attacked in Lahore. We are truly honoured that we were able to extend to him and his wife our hospitality at this magnificent property” stated Mr.B.H.R Sariffo'deen, Assistant Vice President, Aitken Spence Hotel Managements.

    http://aitkenspencehotels.typepad.com/a_hope_for_future/2009/11/lahore-hero-visits-heritance-kandalama-.html
    - Amal, in 11 years
  • Sri Lanka December tourist arrival up 16-pct, annual up 2-pct

    Jan 07, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s December tourist arrivals rose 16.2 percent to 56,862 from a year earlier as travel warnings were removed while annual visitors grew 2.1 percent to 447,890, tourist promotion office data showed.

    India retained its position as the top market for generating visitors last year, with the UK remaining in second place, for the second year running.
    The December 2009 increase in arrivals was the seventh straight monthly rise in arrivals.

    It followed the end of the ethnic war in May 2009 and easing of travel advisories by key tourist generating markets like Britain against their citizens in traveling to Sri Lanka.

    The tourist arrivals from Western Europe rose 15.6 percent to 19,962 in December 2009 from a year ago with arrivals from the UK up 12.1 percent to 8,726, France up 31.6 percent to 1,833 and Germany up 13.2 percent to 3,614.

    In South Asia, the number of Indian tourist arrivals rose from 49.6 percent to 10,418.

    Overall, number of tourist arrivals from South Asia in December went up 22.1 percent to 15,339 although there was an 18.1 percent decrease in arrivals from the Maldives to 3,924.

    India was the biggest source of tourists for the second year running although arrivals from there dipped 1.9 percent to 83,634 in 2009 from 2008

    Overall arrivals from South Asia for last year fell 1.5 percent to 126,205 as opposed to 2008.
    The number of visitors from Western Europe rose 1.8 percent to 170,123 last year boosted by more visitors from France which went up 50.0 percent to 15,886.

    But arrivals from the UK, a big market, were up only 0.3 percent to 81,594 last year compared with 2008 while those from Germany, another big market, actually fell 3.2 percent to 29,654.

    The number of visitors from Eastern Europe fell 10.6 percent to 26,310 last year with tourist arrivals from Russia plunging 25.1 percent to 11,834 while arrivals picked up 6.1 percent to 14,476 from other Eastern European countries.

    Sri Lanka also got more visitors from the Middle Eastern market from where arrivals rose 41.5 percent to 23,741.

    Arrivals from East Asia too increased 7.5 percent to 48,329 due to the promotions done by the government to promote the island during the year.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1542427202
    - Amal, in 11 years
  • Sri Lanka Tourist Board should have a master plan to increase the number of tourists: one of them I believe is making every transportation has a easy access to tourists without any impediments .
    - FazilLanka, in 11 years
  • Leopard and Blue Whale safaris in Sri Lanka

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3231/3149515775_7a06e27b75.jpg
    Leopard, Yala National Park (pic courtesy hiranyamm, flickr)

    7th January 2010

    Travellers looking for an unusual wildlife experience in a new destination should consider Reef & Rainforest Tours’ wildlife safari to Sri Lanka.

    Their new 11-day safari gives wildlife lovers the rare opportunity to spot both leopards and blue whales on an adventure that includes both land and sea activities – an option previously unavailable in Sri Lanka.

    The journey begins with a special safari experience at Yala National Park, one of the best leopard spotting locations in Asia, not to mention wild elephants, boar, buffalo, macaque monkey and a host of birds.

    Here, helping guests spot the elusive leopard, will be avid conservationist and one Sir Lanka’s best known wildlife photographers, Chitral Jayatilake. Chitral received his first award in photography from the Duke of Edinburgh aged just 17 and has since held several exhibitions and published two wildlife books.

    The second part of the trip is spent at the stunning coastal resort of Mandara in Weligama with the opportunity of whale watching, seeing not only the magnificent blue whale, but dolphins and other marine life.

    Finally, there is the chance to experience the sights and sounds of the capital, Colombo, staying at the Cinnamon Grand.

    The next two departure dates are set for 24th March and 5th April 2010.

    http://www.easier.com/64278-leopard-and-blue-whale-safaris-in-sri-lanka.html

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    - Amal, in 11 years
  • The 31 Places to Go in 2010

    Published: January 10, 2010

    1. Sri Lanka

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/01/08/travel/intransit480/custom1.jpg
    Guests by the pool at the Galle Fort Hotel in Galle, Sri Lanka.

    For a quarter century, Sri Lanka seems to have been plagued by misfortune, including a brutal civil war between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority. But the conflict finally ended last May, ushering in a more peaceful era for this teardrop-shaped island off India’s coast, rich in natural beauty and cultural splendors.

    The island, with a population of just 20 million, feels like one big tropical zoo: elephants roam freely, water buffaloes idle in paddy fields and monkeys swing from trees. And then there’s the pristine coastline. The miles of sugary white sand flanked by bamboo groves that were off-limits to most visitors until recently are a happy, if unintended byproduct of the war.

    Among the most scenic, if difficult stretches to reach, is Nilaveli Beach in the Tamil north. While a few military checkpoints remain, vacationers can lounge on poolside hammocks under palm trees or snorkel in its crystal-clear waters. Or they can order cocktails at the Nilaveli Beach Hotel (www.tangerinehotels.com/nilavelibeach), a collection of recently renovated bungalows with private terraces.

    An international airport in Matara, on the island’s southern shore, is under construction, which will make the gorgeous beaches near the seaside village of Galle easier to get to. Decimated by the tsunami in 2004, the surrounding coastline is now teeming with stylish guesthouses and boutique hotels.

    Unawatuna, a crescent-shaped beach a few miles south of Galle, may be furthest along. Higher-end hotels there include Thambapanni Retreat (www.thambapanni.biz), which features four-poster beds, yoga and an ayurvedic spa. The Sun House (www.thesunhouse.com), in Galle, looks like a place where the Queen of England might stay, with its mango courtyard and colonial décor. One stylish place tucked within Galle’s city walls is the Galle Fort Hotel (www.galleforthotel.com), a refurbished gem merchant’s house run by a couple of Aussies. — Lionel Beehner

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/travel/10places.html


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    - Amal, in 12 years
  • thats awesome..no 1 on the NY times! that's bound to be a big boost! :)
    - PCK, in 13 years
  • Sri Lankan Tourism grows
    Tue, 2010-01-12 05:34 — editor
    Sri LankaBy Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune
    Colombo, 12 January, (Asiantribune.com): Srilal Miththapala, President, Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka in a communiqué indicated that the month of December continued to show a healthy improvement in the arrivals, recording 56,862 arrivals for the month, a 16.2% increase compared to December 2008.

    In the arrival pattern United Kingdom continued to dominate with about 81,500 arrivals while India generated a slightly higher figure of 82,600 arrivals.

    Region wise, Western Europe accounted for 170,000 arrivals, while the figure for South Asia stood at 126,000 arrivals.

    He indicated that on an overall basis, the total arrivals to the country for 2009 ended at 447,890 compared to 428,475 for 2008, which is an overall 2.1% increase. This is very significant because cumulatively up to June 2009 there was an almost a 12% drop compared to the previous year, which means that in the last six months of 2009, this deficit was not only wiped out, but also there was a small 2.1% overall increase.

    Occupancy in the Negombo and the South Coast for December 2009 overall was 70-80% full while Colombo was around 60-70%. Kandy and Nuwara Eliya regions did reasonably well but the cultural triangle managed only 50-60% occupancy levels, Mr Srilal indicated.

    He indicated that the minimum rates now in force in Colombo City dramatically pushed the yields up, which was clearly evident from service charge payable to Staff increased to around Rs 12,000 -20,000 in most all the larger hotels for the month of December.

    One to three-Star hotels also have seen a substantial growth in the service charge increasing from Rs. 3,000/- to 7,000/-. And most Colombo hotels have seen a substantial growth in the occupancy levels over the past 3 months.

    Referring to 2009 31st Night Mr Miththapala indicated that the New Years’ Eve activities continued with too much disruption due to the Poya Day falling on the 31st but Colombo City hotels yielded large numbers. In the resorts there was some dampening of rivalries, since alcohol was served only after 12.00 midnight.

    He indicated that during Christmas time, staff of some hotels undertook CSR activities (Hilton raised funds for the Deaf and Blink School in Ratmalana, Cinnamon Grand Santa workshops, etc).

    Looking back at the performances during the latter half of 2009 Mr Miththapala indicated that 2010 would become a challenging year for Sri Lanka Tourism. He indicated that most of the hotels would be contracting rooms at a higher price, which is vital to ensure that the hotels also refurbish and upgrade where necessary to guard against being over-priced in the region.

    Several hotels are already planning refurbishing and upgrading programmes and a foavourable response to THASL's request for duty free facilities for refurbishment from the Government, is eagerly awaited.

    Contemplating on issues Mr Miththapala indicated that although the Government continues to identify the Tourism Sector as the main thrust industry of the economy but the Provincial Councils see the industry as a means by which they can extract more and more taxes.

    He indicated that in late last year some of the Provincial Councils levied a new, arbitrary tax on hotel on liquor and cigarette sales. The issue is that the tax is levied on retail and wholesale sales, and it is quite clear that hotels do not fall into this category, since they are in the service industry. He indicated that repeated appeals to all relevant authorities fell on deaf ears, and as a last resort THASL has now taken legal action against these Provincial Councils .

    - Asian Tribune -
    - FazilLanka, in 13 years
  • Sri Lanka takes steps to boost tourism industry

    Tue, Jan 12, 2010, 09:29 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Jan 12, Colombo: Sri Lankan government is to implement a dual programme to boost the tourism industry to attract more tourists to the country, Tourism Minister, Achala Jagoda, said today.

    Addressing a media conference at his ministry, the Minister said a sight seeing Double Decker bus service will be introduced for the tourists to view the city of Colombo and the "Jet Liner Ship" would be repaired to give the tourists a view from the sea.

    The Tourism Ministry plans to establish new hotels in Jaffna, Mannar, and Mullaitivu to draw tourists to uplift the war-battered region.

    The Minister said there was a sharp increase of 2.1% in tourist arrivals in the first two weeks of January and predicted a better future for the industry.

    Tourist arrivals in December 2009 reached 56,862, a jump of 16.2% compared to December 2008. Overall tourist arrivals increased by 2.1% in the year 2009 compared to 2008.

    Sri Lanka plans to attract 2.5 million visitors to the country this year. The New York Times recently cited Sri Lanka as one of the 31 places to go in 2010.

    http://www.colombopage.com/archive_10/Jan1263311986CH.html
    - Amal, in 13 years
  • Well that was shortlived.... :bash:


    Kochi – Colombo Cruise Scrapped

    The one thing that Kochi was proud was for the Kochi – Colombo cruise. But here is some bad news. Louis cruises has decided to stop all operations from Kochi just 6 weeks after launch because of the very high operating costs. According to the company while Colombo charged $5000 as port charges for 5 hours Kochi charged $25000. Apart from the exorbitant operational charges, Kochi port lacked basic features such as passport readers. These lack of minimum ammenities led to passengers waiting in queues for upto 3 hours to get a clearance. Louis Cruise has promised to come back to Kochi after October if things improve.

    http://www.kochivibe.com/kochi-colombo-cruise-scrapped/
    - Amal, in 13 years
  • Stupidity of both parties and lack of vision ....
    - FazilLanka, in 13 years
  • SRI YOU AROUND

    DAILYCANDY GOES TO SRI LANKA

    http://static.dailycandy.com/resource.jsp?id=41597&name=fruit-market-galle.jpg
    A typical (colorful, delicious) fruit stall on the side of the road in Galle, Sri Lanka.

    Never mind the civil war you read about. It’s mostly over, and Sri Lanka is now stable, beautiful, friendly, and safe. Plus, the troubles were primarily in the north, and you’ll be roaming the south for adventure (elephant safaris), history (colonial fort towns, old Buddhist temples), rain forests (and mountains and tea plantations), and gorgeous beaches. It’s pretty much the best place we’ve ever been.

    GPS
    The island is far from everywhere, so you’ll want to stay about ten days. Jet Airways flies from the U.S. to India and connects to Colombo. (And why don’t all airlines serve curry?) For the best weather and the calmest seas, go between December and April. August and September fall between the monsoon seasons, but our October rainstorms lasted only a few minutes (and made for great photos). Small roads means it takes a while to get around, but the passing scenery is entertaining and captivating: water buffalo in rice paddies, men biking in plaid sarongs, palm trees as small as you and as tall as buildings. When you get thirsty, stop at a grubby lean-to along the road and get the guy to machete open a king coconut. Everyone says it’s the best hangover cure.

    Kandy Whirls
    To decompress from the flights, spend a night near the airport at The Wallawwa. Otherwise, head inland to the Kandy District and The KandyHouse, the eight-room hotel that was once the 1800s home of a ruling family, to spend a few days visiting the too-cute Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, the bird-rich Peradeniya Botanic Gardens, and the brilliantly named Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

    Tea for Two
    Next stop, the mountains of tea country. Until 2004, Sri Lanka was the world’s biggest tea exporter (cuppa Ceylon, indeed), and touring a plantation is really interesting and beautiful. Rest your head at Dilmah’s Tea Trails, a hotel of four colonial bungalows that used to house estate managers. Castlereagh has the best views; Tientsin has the most beautiful gardens.

    You’re Wella-come
    Now you can go to the beach. The swank Amanwella compound consists of bungalows scattered across a coconut grove outside Tangalle. The service is Amanawesome, but prices are more affordable than Aman’s usual rates (a rare civil war perk).

    http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/9599/38940031.jpg
    Amanwella

    Force yourself away from the blissful beach to visit Udawalawe National Park. You’ll see monkeys and peacocks, but elephants are the main event. Please tip your guides well: They’re all volunteers. Also great is the ancient Mulgirigala Buddhist temple complex. Brave the ascent up the mountain and you’ll be rewarded with insane views and a blessing from one of the monks in residence on the way down. Farther west around Weligama Bay, Mirissa Hills is a gorgeous art-filled home in the hills on a working cinnamon estate.

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    A mama elephant helps her baby elephant cross the road at Udawalawe National Park.

    The Tap of the World
    Sri Lanka is incredibly chic, very India meets Vietnam. (You’ll hear architect Geoffrey Bawa’s name a lot.) But the most breathtaking place to stay is Taprobane, a five-bedroom house on a tiny private island just off the coast. There’s no ferry: You wade through the Indian Ocean, carrying your clothes above your head (yes, really). The mythology speaks for itself: Founded by a descendant of a Napoleonic general, it used to be the residence of Paul Bowles, as well as fashion icon Isabella Blow. Now it’s part of the chic hotel chainlet Taprobane Collection, which also includes The Sun House and The Dutch House in Galle. If you don’t stay at the hotels, at least go for dinner and be on the lookout for Henri Tatham, the fabulous manager.

    Good Galle
    Walled fort town Galle was colonized by Arab traders, then the Portuguese, then the Dutch — and all left their mark. Amangalla may be the ultimate colonial fantasy, you’ll note, as you sip arrack sours on a rattan lounge chair at sunset, in recovery from the Ayurvedic consult and baths treatment at the exquisite spa. If the delicious hoppers at breakfast get you in the culinary mood, take a cooking lesson.

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    Start the day on a culinary high: hoppers at Amangalla. You fill the crepe-like bowls with fish curry, vegetables, and spicy condiments.

    And spend time with Olivia Richli, the kind and gorgeous general manager (who helped us plan this amazing itinerary), and ask for stories about Nesta Brohier, the grand dame who used to live in the hotel (with her much younger lover), and about taking in hundreds of locals left homeless by the tsunami. Richli can also help arrange a tour of Handunugoda Tea Estate, where you can watch glove-clad women clip white tea leaf by leaf with small scissors and learn how it is harvested, dried, and aged. Handunugoda brews make great souvenirs, as do bottles of arrack, but for something longer lasting, pick up handwoven napkins and coconut shell serving spoons at Barefoot. Galle Fort Hotel is a more budget option, but the perks at Amangalla are worth the splurge.

    Really, there’s only one downside to Sri Lanka: Eventually, you have to leave.

    http://traveldeals.topnewsdigest.com/traveldeals/sri-you-around/
    - Amal, in 13 years
  • Welcome soon to Wilpattu

    Tragic incidents forced the closure of Sri Lanka’s largest National Park – Wilpattu in 2007. But with the conflict behind us plans are underway to reopen it for visitors.

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    Malaka Rodrigo reports

    Prince Vijaya landed on the north-western coast of Sri Lanka in 543 BC and met Kuveni, the Yakkha princess of the area. Thambapanni – the beach with copper sand and Kali Villu where Kuweni had her palace are located inside the park boundaries of Wilpattu.

    These areas of historic significance will soon be accessible to the public as the Wilpattu National Park that has been closed for many years reopens to the public in a few months.

    http://www.srilankaecotourism.com/images/wilpattu_map.gif

    “De-mining in Wilpattu National Park is currently being carried out by the Security Forces. As soon as we get the security clearance; my Department will start rehabilitation work in the park,” said Ananda Wijesuriya, Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).

    The DWC will first focus on rehabilitating the road network inside the park and then look at developing visitor facilities, he said.

    Located adjoining the troubled areas of Wanni and Mannar, Wilpattu had been in the clutches of the LTTE for many years. The park was first closed in 1985 due to the armed conflict and after the ceasefire negotiations in 2002, was reopened in May 2003.

    Two tragic incidents resulted in its closure again. In the first incident, a jeep carrying a group of wildlife lovers was blown up in a landmine in May 2006. Among the group was prominent author Nihal De Silva who wrote the Gratiaen Prize winning novel “Road from Elephant Pass”.

    The second tragic incident in March 2007 cost the life of Wilpattu’s own park warden Wasantha Pushpananda who was ambushed and killed by the LTTE while on an inspection tour with a team of security forces.

    The Park has remained closed since then and the DWC is cautious not to open it until it gets the all-clear. The camping sites will be the first to open for the public once the basic facilities are set up, a DWC official said. Most of the Wilpattu camping sites are located near serene villus.

    Wilpattu is also famous for its circuit bungalows that overlook the villus. There are seven lodges, located at Maradanmaduwa, Pannikar Villu, Kalli Villu, Mena Villu, Thala Villu, Manikkapola Uttu and Kokmottai, all in need of extensive repair. A few are currently occupied by the Armed Forces, who provide security to the park.

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    A vigilant herd of Wilpattu deer

    Wilpattu has always been a fantastic experience for wildlife lovers, its key attraction being its leopards. Before the park closed, Wilpattu was ‘the place’ to see leopards. It is believed Wilpattu national park has more leopards than Yala, but this can be clarified only after proper research.

    The park also has a large population of elephants who are bigger in size, perhaps by feeding on the nutrient-rich vegetation of the villus. So the ecotourism value of Wilpattu is also huge.

    Wilpattu has a large diversity of ecosystems, but its most unique feature is the presence of many natural lakes or “villus” with fresh or brackish water that had given the park its name. Though they look like lakes, these ‘villus’ are flat basin-like fault depressions on the earth’s surface containing purely rain water. Two of these ‘villus’ are saline.

    Another equally striking feature, though confined to certain sections of the park is the copper red, loamy soils. The western sector of the park with deeply forested areas and thorny bushes is reminiscent of Yala National Park.

    Elephant, sloth bear, sambur, spotted deer are some of the 31 mammalian species that can be easily seen in the Wilpattu national park. The bird diversity within the park is high. Recent research recorded 137 species of birds where 51% out of the breeding resident species of the island had been seen within the park boundaries. The monitor lizard, Mugger crocodile, Common cobra, Indian python and several species of tortoise are among the reptiles that can be found in the Wilpattu villus.

    Wilpattu’s cultural heritage too is worth exploring. The ruins of an ancient building found in Kali Villu is believed to be the ruins of Kuveni’s palace. Another ancient love story unveiled 2000 years ago between Saliya – the son of Dutugemunu and Asoka mala has a background of Maradanmaduwa located within the national park. Ruins of pre-Vijayan periods too have been found from the area. Historians believe that Kudrimalai was a famous port in ancient times.

    Wilpattu is one of the oldest national parks of the country. It was first declared as a sanctuary in 1905 and its conservation status was elevated to that of a National Park in 1938. Areas to the north were also declared as Wilpattu Sanctuary in 1947 and remain an extension to the National Park.

    At present, the park is controlled by the security forces and the DWC presence is restricted to an office near the entrance, but wildlife officers are readying to take up the challenge to protect Wilpattu’s diverse wildlife. “We will do a full assessment of the status of the park before we start operations. We are keen on opening it to the general public,” a wildlife official said.

    How to reach Wilpattu

    The National Park lies on the northwest coast, 30 km west of Anuradhapura and spans the border between the North Western Province and North Central Province. Wilpattu North that was declared a sanctuary in 1947 is entirely in the Northern Province. The National Park borders the Moderagam Aru in the south, Kala Oya in the north and the sea on the west.

    The easiest way to reach Wilpattu from Colombo is via Negombo, Chilaw and Puttalam. The turn-off is at the little hamlet of Thimbiriwewa at the 28th milepost along the Puttalam/Anuradhapura road.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100117/Plus/plus_11.html
    - Amal, in 13 years
  • Indian Ocean: Mission possible

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    Many visitors to the Indian Ocean region want nothing more than an idyllic beach and a pampering spa. But there’s plenty here to keep adrenalin junkies happy too, says Jon Watson

    Sri Lanka

    Perhaps your clients will fancy a bit of speleology in Sri Lanka? To the uninitiated, this means cave exploration into 500 million years of history, squeezing through dark nooks in complete darkness with only a head torch to guide you.

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    Entrance to Waulpane Cave, Kathleen Johnson

    Eco Team Sri Lanka offers pot-holing tours in Waulpane Cave, where amateurs and experts can explore the “cave of bats”. This is home to thousands of the cave’s namesakes and luminous fish lurking beneath an 80ft underground waterfall.

    White-water rafting holidays are also on the rise and Eco Team offers a white-knuckle adventure into the shooting rapids of the Kelani river in Kithulgala, west Sri Lanka. Also known as the wet-zone rainforest and one of the dampest places in the country, this is a real test for hardy explorers.

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    In between rapids, check out the location where much of Oscar-winning The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed, before braving the larger grade five rapids of the Kelani gorges. Before the river run, a briefing is given on paddling techniques and “man overboard” procedures.

    Sample price: A seven-day white-water rafting experience in Kithulgala costs £365 per person including half-board hotel/camping accommodation, and it is commissionable through Eco Team. Caving in Waulpane is also available through Eco Team and costs £90 per day.

    http://www.ttglive.com/c/portal/layout?p_l_id=3208370&CMPI_SHARED_articleId=3602445&CMPI_SHARED_ImageArticleId=3602445&CMPI_SHARED_articleIdRelated=3602445&CMPI_SHARED_ToolsArticleId=3602445&CMPI_SHARED_CommentArticleId=3602445&articleTitle=Indian%20Ocean:%20Mission%20possible.
    - Amal, in 13 years
  • Sri Lanka JKH hotel unit to raise Rs3.6bn to expand

    Jan 21, 2010 (LBO) - The leisure unit of Sri Lanka's John Keells Holdings group is making a 3.6 billion rupee cash call to spruce up its hotels and build new ones as the country expects a surge of tourists after the end of a 30-year war.

    The company said it was issuing 364 million new shares at 10 rupees each to shareholders in proportion of one for every three shares held.

    "The proceeds of the Rights Issue will be utilised to fund the refurbishment of hotels in Sri Lanka as well as for new hotel projects and for the acquisition of land for new resort hotels," the group said in a statement.

    JKH has earlier said it was planning to invest nearly 6.0 billion rupees during the next three years to refurbish its hotels and build new ones.

    It is planning a 190 room hotel in Beruwela on which design work would be finished by next April.

    The hotel is expected to cost around 1.7 billion rupees, and will be a 4-star rated hotel coming under the group's mid-market 'Chaaya' brand.

    JKH has a 10-acre long stretch in Beruwala, after it bought land from Sri Lanka's Confifi group next to an existing property. JKH's Beach Hotel Bayroo, in Beruwala was damaged during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

    JKH closed its 80 room Club Oceanic Hotel in the Eastern coast of Trincomalee, to refurbish it at a cost of 400 million rupees as a 4-star rated property.

    Bentota Beach Hotel, would also be refurbished towards the end of next year at cost of 800 million rupees. The 115 room property would be 5-star rated.

    "If tourism arrivals increase we will be ready with rooms," Gunewardene told a forum organized by Leopard Capital, a private equity group in Colombo last year.

    "Cambodia saw an exponential growth after the unrest ended. Arrivals grew from 557,000 in 200 to 2.1 million in 2008".

    Sri Lanka’s annual visitors in 2009 grew from 447,890 as opposed to the 438,000 visitors from the year earlier.

    By 2011 JKH would be ready to start a 100 room 5-star hotel at its existing land in Ahungalle in the south west coast. The project may cost 1.6 billion rupees.

    It could also build another 4-star 120 room hotel in the East Coast on its existing or acquired property. JKH had access to property in Kuchchaveli as well as in Nilaveli.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=2119685705
    - Amal, in 13 years
  • http://www.dailymirror.lk/images/Ship_600_main.jpg
    The Tourism Ministry together with the Sri Lanka Navy launched the opening of a jetliner at the Colombo port which will now be available for weddings and other public functions. The jetliner was used by the navy during the war.
    http://www.dailymirror.lk/images/Ship_600_1.jpg
    http://www.dailymirror.lk/images/Ship_600_2.jpg

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    - saraprobe, in 13 years
  • http://www.dailymirror.lk/images/Ship_600_main.jpg
    The Tourism Ministry together with the Sri Lanka Navy launched the opening of a jetliner at the Colombo port which will now be available for weddings and other public functions. The jetliner was used by the navy during the war.
    http://www.dailymirror.lk/images/Ship_600_1.jpg
    http://www.dailymirror.lk/images/Ship_600_2.jpg

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Looks like a really good initiative...
    - Amal, in 13 years
  • The traveller's alphabet

    http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/61/f1/27/vue-depuis-summerville.jpg

    T: Watch Sri Lanka this year as the political situation stabilises and tourism picks up. Travel & Indulgence's pick here is all to do with cuppas. Ceylon Tea Trails is a product developed by the Dilmah tea company in the Bogawantalawa Valley in the country's central reaches, about four hours from Colombo by car.

    The trails link four classic colonial bungalows built for one-time British tea estate managers and set in lovely gardens. The houses have been sympathetically restored and offer four to six guestrooms; pursuits in the valley include cycling, trekking, whitewater rafting, tea factory tours and, of course, the taking of orange pekoe in bone china during the afternoon-tea hour. More: teatrails.com.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/travel/the-travellers-alphabet/story-e6frg8rf-1225822587764
    - Amal, in 13 years
  • Why don't they want to use this jetliner to use talking passengers from Colombo to Kochin, or Rameswaram Inida and from Indian ports to Colombo?
    - FazilLanka, in 13 years
  • Why don't they want to use this jetliner to use talking passengers from Colombo to Kochin, or Rameswaram Inida and from Indian ports to Colombo?

    Becoz from wht I heard India doesn't have a cruse policy and they charge ridiculous amount of tax and that is reason why the other passenger liner pulled out
    - saraprobe, in 13 years
  • http://www.navy.lk/assets/images/news/news_bulletin/2010/january/2010_01_23/1.jpg
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    The Sri Lanka Navy’s largest passenger craft “Jetliner” which served as a life line between the North and East during the Humanitarian Operations set sail on a new journey at the Launching Ceremony of Jetliner Entertainment Cruise Venture yesterday (22 January 2010) at the Port of Colombo. Honourable Minister of Tourism Achala Jagoda graced the groundbreaking event as the Chief Guest. He was received by Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe on his arrival. Ambassadors, Secretaries to the ministry of tourism and ministry of ports and aviation, and foreign dignitaries were among the list VIP invitees. Many senior Naval Officers and a large number of other invitees including members of the media were also present. The event was arranged by Sri Lanka Navy and Ministry of Tourism.

    The Jetliner passenger vessel played a pivotal role in the Naval operations during the humanitarian operations. It ferried thousands of security forces personnel, civilians and goods between Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai ports till the main ground supply routes were cleared and restored after the dawn of peace. It also holds the record for carrying more than three thousand security forces personnel at once. With this new venture it is set to continue her valuable service to the nation in a different sphere.

    [Click to magnify/shrink]
    The Nautical Enterprise under the theme ‘Visit Sri Lanka 2011’ is a joint venture between Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. The press conference held at the Launching Ceremony was attended by Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism Mr.George Michael, Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Aviation Mr. Ranjith De Silva, Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Mr. Bernard Gunathilake, Chairman Sri Lanka Ports Authority Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama, Managing Director Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Mr.Dilip Muddeniya and Captain of the Ship Captain Nilantha Heenatigala.

    The launching of the ship was held in keeping with Naval traditions and customs. The Commander of the Navy in reading the parchment said that on the directions of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary Ministry of Defence declare the ‘Jetliner’ to set sail on a new course of Nautical Enterprise while still maintaining its lift capabilities for the Sri Lanka Navy and extending her services for the tourism and hospitality industry. This venture will be a step forward in reaping the dividends of peace established after many years of bloody conflict in our motherland.

    Subsequently the ship left the harbour for a short sail where the invitees were treated for a sundown cocktail and later for a twilight menu. The Navy Band kept on the sprits high with their musical and cultural entertainment. A breathtaking fireworks display at sea enthralled the guests.

    The Jetliner will chart the waters as a recreational cruise ship, taking onboard weddings, corporate events and other social functions. The ship is redressed and equipped to cater to the needs of the new clientele. The ship is manned by a well disciplined and highly trained professional Naval crew who are in par with the best in the industry.

    Since the dawn of peace in the country Sri Lanka Navy in its role as the first line of defence has involved in the development process of the country. As a part of that process Navy is utilizing its assets not only as a source to generate income but also to increase the efficiency of those.

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    www.navy.lk (http://www.navy.lk/index.php?id=2157)
    - saraprobe, in 14 years
  • ^^
    The jetliner looks good! Thanks for sharing. Hopefully they can one day have a fleet of these (maybe a bit smaller, not so fancy) and commence a ferry service between coastal cities (eg Galle and Colombo). It would save a lot of time as these can keep a constant speed without traffic etc.
    - lordvader, in 14 years
  • Jan 25, 2010 (LBO) - A refurbished troop tansport is being hired out as a conference and wedding venue by the Sri Lanka Navy in a joint move with the island's tourist promotion agency, officials said.
    The 'Jetliner' was used to transport troops from the Eastern port of Trincomalee to Kankasanthurai in the northern Jaffna peninsular in long drawn out war that ended last May.

    Following a fourth month refurbishment program it will be a flag bearer of an attempt by tourist authorities to promote a 'maritime culture' in Sri Lanka.

    "We are a small country with a wealth of ocean around us, it is time we use ocean travel," tourism minister Achala Jagoda said at a press launch and demonstration cruise of the craft.

    Officials say consideration is being given to building new jetties for travel around the country to promote a maritime culture.

    Sri Lanka's is looking to boost tourism and economic activities after the end of a 30-year war when most maritime activities, including fishing were restricted.

    The 'Jetliner' can carry 600 passengers 160 cars. It has a banquet area, mini conference, hall ballroom, observation salon and deck area which has the capacity for 250 guests.

    "Guests will be screened and adequate precautions would be taken," Sri Lanka's Navy chief Thisara Samarasinge.
    The ship is being marketed as a venue for weddings, conference and corporate events.

    The ship can be booked for other events on hourly basis or for day trips, either docked on the port or outside the territorial waters from February this year, officials said.

    The vessel will be manned by Navy crew, catering and entertainment would be outsourced when required.
    - saraprobe, in 14 years
  • i wonder if this has been put up already but anyways its a great video worth watching several times.

    2VRreFw32RQ
    - PCK, in 14 years
  • ‘Colombo City Tour’

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/images/SriLankaToursim.jpg

    Thursday, 28 January 2010 00:00

    Colombo's first ever open deck city tour service took off last Sunday, 24 January from Galle Face Hotel premises. Hon. Achala Suranga Jagoda, Minister of Tourism, was the chief guest at the launching ceremony. Both Visiting foreign and local tourists along with the invitees participated in this inaugural journey.

    This tour service is a new product launch of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) in public- private partnership with Ebert Silva Holidays (Pvt.) Ltd. The city tour will be operated initially on Sundays.

    'As time goes by the service will be increased to a number of days and it depends on the popularity' said Malraj Kiriella, the Director, International Relations and Research of the SLTDA, who spearheaded the project.

    'We are on the threshold of a new era in travel and tourism in Sri Lanka. This will be a great experience for the tourists visiting the city of Colombo. We have come out of a dark era and foresee a golden age for Sri Lanka tourism' opined Mr. K.A.D George Michael, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism at the ceremony.

    The tour will commence at the Galle Face Hotel premises at 8.30hrs and en route collect passengers at points in front of leading hotels in Slave Island and Fort. The seven hour tour would include the important attractions in Colombo City and Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte. There will be live commentaries on all surrounding attractions by a professional guide in English. Information leaflets will be made available in important foreign languages and in local languages in addition to English.

    The open deck bus hired from the Sri Lanka Transport Board will give passengers a panoramic view of the city of Colombo, old and new.

    'Research has shown that Colombo is the most popular place of attraction, and introduction of this service has been a long-felt need and will enable many foreign visitors embark on a journey that covers the best in Colombo with less cost and time' said Kiriella.

    The visiting sites would include historic Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic religious sites, colonial heritages sites, Independence Square, National Museum and 'Janakala Kendraya' (National Arts and Crafts Centre in Battaramulla). The entire sightseeing would include most of the attractions in Colombo and in Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte.

    The bus is decorated depicting attractions of Colombo. The specially designed logo 'Colombo City Tour' includes frangipani flowers to emphasize its connectivity with the city of Colombo and serendipity.

    The organizers have worked out a special introductory rate for Sri Lankan adults and children at Rs.950.00 and Rs.500.00 respectively, which includes lunch, refreshments and entrance fees.

    Rajini de Silva Mendis, Managing Director, Ebert Silva said ' We are happy to join hands with the public sector on this initiative and hope to offer customers an unforgettable experience with our years of experience in the field'.

    http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/life/132-life/2243.html
    - Amal, in 15 years
  • is that the bus?? looks like they need to patch that up first and foremost!!! those buses are soo old, were imported from UK and Japan after they were used there, at least they should patch it up properly before using it for tours!
    - PCK, in 15 years
  • Sri Lanka's wildlife sanctuary sites reopened for tourism

    http://www.info.lk/srilanka/srilankanature/srilanka_parks/kumana.jpg

    http://www.info.lk/srilanka/srilankanature/srilanka_parks/lahugala.jpg

    2010-01-30 19:36:29

    COLOMBO, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Two of Sri Lanka's renowned wildlife sanctuary sites were reopened on Saturday after years of closure because of the conflict between the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels, a government official said.

    Ananda Wijesuriya, director of the Wildlife Conservation Department said the two sites were opened to the public on Saturday were located at southeastern and eastern parts of the island.

    Kumana, a bird sanctuary and a main eco-tourism attraction, is 312 km southeast of the Colombo while Lahugala, a wildlife park/ sanctuary reserve, is 318 km east of the capital.

    They have been shut for tourists since 2005 when the fighting between the two sides escalated.

    Both areas were under security clouds due to clashes until May last year when the rebels were defeated.

    "After the end of the war we received security clearance," Wijesuriya said.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/travel/2010-01/30/c_13157266.htm
    - Amal, in 15 years
  • Swedish tourists set to storm Sri Lanka (http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100131/BusinessTimes/bt22.html)

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01405/srilanka_1405356c.jpg

    Sweden is yet another new market for the already growing list of inbound tourist markets for Sri Lanka with around 7,000 Swedish charter tourists expected to visit the island during the forthcoming winter season.

    According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Swedish charter tour groups have already prioritized to include the Sri Lankan market for winter 2010. Three of the largest charter tour operators in the Scandinavian country will start flying their customers Sri Lanka by the 28th of November 2010. The major tour groups in Sweden, Apollo, Fritidsresor and Ving will transport tourists twice a week to Sri Lanka.

    Chairman of the SLTPB Bernard Goonetilleke has identified the Scandanavian market as a growth market for the future with enormous potential. “They have shown tremendous interest in Sri Lanka over the last year,” he said in the press release. “We see the potential for this market to be a strong contender for the top spot in inbound tourism to Sri Lanka.”

    The main attraction for the Swedes are the pristine beaches, nature and national parks. The SLTPB estimates that each package will costs between SEK 10,000 to SEK 11,300 (between US$1,350 to US$1,500) per person for two weeks at half-board for a double room.

    The SLTPB stated that currently Swedish production house Meter Film and Television are in the island on invitation from the SLTPB and are now in Koggala shooting for internationally acclaimed reality show ‘High School Reunion’.

    The reality programme will showcase the unique facets of the country and down south in particular.

    High School Reunion will be aired on Kanal 5 rated amongst the top five most watched TV channels in Sweden with an 85% viewer ship rate.
    - banuthev, in 15 years
  • Sri Lanka Tourism and CNN Collaborate on Global Campaign (http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100131/BusinessTimes/bt32.html)

    http://www.slintgl.lk/slintgl/images/stories/slintglnews/srilanka_0618.jpg

    The launch of the website www.visitsrilanka-2011.com for the CNN global campaign will be launched tomorrow as part of a wider and comprehensive global communication campaign which began in November 2009. A press release from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) said the website is interactive and is designed in such a manner that users are invited them to be a part of the campaign.

    The SLTPB said this is the first time a 360 degree social networking campaign will be launched on CNN through Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Flicker and a contest whereby the winners get their dream itinerary for them and nine friends. This contest, carried out in collaboration with SriLankan Airlines and the industry partners will be launched on a CNN microsite.

    Speaking on the collaboration, Junji Sumitani, Sales Director, S.E. Asia, CNN International said CNN is proud to collaborate with Sri Lanka tourism on its unique travel campaign to showcase the best the country has to offer, adding that CNN’s multi-platform campaign leverages the channel’s extensive reach amongst travellers around the world.

    Tourism Minister Achala Jagoda said in the press release the website, launched with Visit Sri Lanka 2011, will serve as an impetus to kick start the campaign. Minister of Tourism Promotion Faizer Musthapha said it is an experiment for Sri Lanka Tourism by using new marketing tools. The SLTPB said it has carefully chosen a panel of Sri Lanka personalities, who will serve as experts on the micro-site, responsible for addressing questions and concerns raised by users.

    They include recognized film maker Vimukthi Jayasundara, Director Design at Buddhi Batiks- Darshi Keerthisena, CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays - Gehan De S. Wijeratne, Miss Sri Lanka 2009 - Gamya Wijayadasa, representative of Sri Lanka in the Olympic games for three years -Julian Bolling, ODEL CEO- Otara Gunewardene and Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara.
    - banuthev, in 16 years
  • JQIjm9vvgbM
    KIZlanot3HI
    - saraprobe, in 16 years
  • i think the 2nd one (director's cut) is actually better than the 1st but its obviously a lot longer! any idea on which company did the visuals? i remember JWT did the small island big trip visuals.
    - PCK, in 16 years
  • bkHdHICMUAQ
    - Amal, in 16 years
  • Sri Lanka tourism authority gets new boss

    Feb 02, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's tourism minister has appointed a new chairman, Eranga Basnayake, to the tourism development authority, an official said.

    Ministry secretary George Micheal said the new appointment was made by tourism minister Achala Jagoda.

    The former chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Bernard Goonetilleke, who resigned is expected to be appointed a consultant.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=633650748
    - Amal, in 16 years
  • Shop, Sup, and Spa Stylishly in Colombo

    By Malayna Dawn, Compere and Communications Consultant to Colombo Fashion Week 2010

    If you’re coming to Sri Lanka to be part of Colombo Fashion Week 2010, you’ll want to make sure your entire trip is one of style and beauty. Luckily, that won’t be difficult to do in the vibrant, diverse city of Colombo! Let me tell you about some of the best places to be and sights to see.

    This year’s host is The Hilton Colombo Hotel, overlooking the Indian Ocean and Beira Lake. While you may be tempted not to leave the hotel grounds, I say you must. Within walking distance you can use the hotel’s direct access to the World Trade Center and then wander out the front entrance of either building to be introduced to the FORT District where modern day business takes place amidst old world architecture.

    Before tasting the modern shops of Colombo, you might want to take a morning three-wheeler ride ‘round the clock tower to visit the nearby PETTAH. Here you'll go back in time to when narrow roads filled with hand-cart traffic were enough to keep the tiny shops busy with the hustle and bustle of enterprise. Dutch names and buildings are juxtaposed with candy striped mosques and colorful Hindu kovils. It’s not just a shopping trip…it’s an adventure!

    You’ll probably want air-conditioned comfort in the afternoon, so tell the tuk-tuk driver to take you to…

    http://malayna-dawn.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/01/shop-sup-and-spa-stylishly-in-colombo-.html
    - Amal, in 16 years
  • Reef hotel and spa in Sri Lanka to feature in the 2010 Condé Nast Johansens portfolio

    http://www.blacktomato.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/olu-bathroom1.jpg

    Reef, The Ultimate Tropical Beach Villa, Sri Lanka has been selected to feature in the Condé Nast Johansens Luxury Spas 2010 publication. Condé Nast Johansens invite only the best to feature in the portfolio, ensuring that the discerning traveller experiences only the best.

    Reef is the only hotel and spa in Sri Lanka to feature in the 2010 Condé Nast Johansens portfolio.

    Reef is a spectacular luxury beachside hideaway set in three acres of exotic tropical gardens, just 45 mins south of Colombo, Sri Lanka. With a 65 metre beach front, all weather tennis court, large swimming pool, lush tropical gardens, huge lily ponds, garden pavilions, gourmet kitchens, Reef, and its totally private Reefresh Spa has set a new bench mark for accommodation and spas in Sri Lanka.

    To maintain the romance and privacy there are just seven exclusive and palatial suites.
    - Amal, in 16 years
  • Sri Lanka January tourist arrivals up 32 pct yr/yr

    COLOMBO, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped by a third in January from a year ago, the eighth straight monthly rise since the end of a 25-year civil war, the tourism board data showed on Wednesday.

    January tourist arrivals to the Indian Ocean island nation rose to 50,757, up 31.9 percent from a year ago.

    In the eight months since the end of the war in May, arrivals have risen 21.7 percent versus the same period a year earlier, after falling 19.8 percent in the first five months of 2009 due to the war.

    Officials at the island nation's tourism board have said the country is still benefiting from the post-war optimism.

    Sri Lanka received 447,890 visitors in 2009, a rise of 2.1 percent from a year earlier. Revenue rose by 2.2 percent to $349.6 million, mainly due to post-war boom.

    Sri Lanka is targeting 2.5 million arrivals and $2 billion in earnings by 2016.

    http://www.iii.co.uk/news/?type=afxnews&articleid=7744609&subject=economic&action=article
    - Amal, in 16 years
  • Still, SL needs to do more to aggressively promote its tourism abroad. Every time when I flew to Colombo from KL I could simply count the number of Malaysians and few western tourists on board, while the vast majority of passengers were all Sri Lankans.

    A huge proportion of tourists that I met in SL are low-cost budget travellers just like me who do not contribute much into tourism dollars. Gulf tourists are extremely known for their very high spending habits , but it seems still very few have been done to capture that market.

    Btw, I will be flying next week on Saturday to Colombo, hope to meet up with some of you there .
    - Skyprince, in 16 years
  • Visit Sri Lanka 2011 is now on the web. http://www.visitsrilanka-2011.com/. Thanks Again to Sri Lanka Tourism for adding my Airport website (www.airsrilanka.org) in Important Weblinks. I have the plan of refurbish my website with attractive design and more information.

    http://i50.tinypic.com/20upy6a.jpg

    A bit more information about my site: http://www.airsrilanka.org/projectdetails.asp.htm
    - banuthev, in 16 years
  • ..made a short and non-touristy trip to sri lanka this week. Unfortunately didnt take any photos as I had other issues :(. But will try give my openion sometimes soon :)
    - Fusionist, in 16 years
  • http://www.adaderana.lk/news_images/151492711kiosk--backdrop.gif
    5zPRq8_BYzY

    When a tourist arrives in a new location he requires various information about the place. To fulfill his needs the required information has to be provided in accurate and timely manner. Providing it almost 24 hours a day is not an easy task. Manning such information counters 2 or 3 shifts a day is an expensive exercise.

    The answer to this difficult task is found in Digital Information Kiosks. Digital Tourist Information Kiosks supply the information tourists require

    1. Accurately

    2. Timely

    3. In a language the tourist prefer

    4. In a very cost effective manner.

    When coupled with the backing of the Ministry of Tourism, information provided by TIK become a one came with authority and dependable without further clarification.

    TIK is a touch screen based information provider. With touch of few buttons displayed in the touch screen of the kiosk a tourist can get the information he wants to almost any tourism related questions. No computer literacy is required to do it.

    In the “Sri Lanka General” section information will be available on flight schedules, train time tables, currency exchange rates, international time zones, current weather and forecasts, emergency numbers, contact info of foreign missions and airlines etc. In difference to other media, the TIK will display the info in real time. For an example it will show not only the published flight schedule but also the current flight schedule what is on display at the airport.

    In the touch screen interface information are sorted under 11 main categories:

    Sri Lanka in General

    ü Culture

    ü Accommodation

    ü Dining

    ü Travel

    ü Shopping

    ü Beauty & wellness

    ü Entertainment

    ü Events

    ü Sports

    ü Leisure


    The TIKS will be placed in locations with high tourist footfalls such as:

    ü Airports

    ü Tourist Information Centres

    ü Hotels

    ü Commercial Centers

    ü Shopping malls

    ü Exhibition & Convention Centres


    Ministry of Tourism promotes Sri Lankain all major markets to achieve the target of 2.5 mln tourist by year 2016. At the same time it is observed that the earnings of the country per tourist or expenditure of tourist per day remain static or has been slightly declined during the past few years. Increasing the spending of Tourist can create a major impact across the tourism related sectors. TIK will stimulate it by providing greater exposure to the products and services on offer for a tourist. Not only primary beneficiaries of tourism development such as Hotels, Tour Operators, Gem & Jewelry merchants, Tourist Shops but also the secondary beneficiaries such as Beauty Parlors, Shopping Malls etc. also will be significantly benefitted by placing advertisements in the TIK and giving an exposure to products and services available with them.


    It says that tourists can drink in a Monday night or shop in a Tuesday morning while locals can’t do so. In that way restaurants will fill, otherwise half full restaurant seats on weekdays by attracting tourists without any additional capital outlay. It is same with shopping malls too. TIK will provide the right exposure to such establishments. The value of Tourism Dollar should be understood. Most of them have more purchasing power in comparison to locals. They are not aware of local prices. Giving right exposure to the products and services available to tourists can do a big difference to the profitability of an establishment.


    Ada Derana (http://www.adaderana.lk/news.php?nid=7218)
    - saraprobe, in 16 years
  • Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Tourism in association with Intelo Networks, a subsidiary of local signage solutions provider Design Plastics Pvt (Ltd) has plans to install around 100 digital Tourist Information Kiosks (TIK) at selected tourist locations in the island within a span of two years. The first TIK is to be placed at the Bandaranaike International Airport before the end of March, while plans are underway to roll out at least 15 machines in two months time, officials said.

    “According to the first phase of the project, we plan to place fully touch-screen TIKS in Colombo areas and specially in locations that are frequented by tourists such as five-star hotels, shopping malls, departmental stores, tourist information centres, commercial centres and Exhibition & Convention Centres,” General Manager of Intelo Networks, Reginald Mahamuni told The Nation Economist.

    The touch screen interface information in the KIT have been sorted under 11 main categories, Sri Lanka in General, Culture, Accommodation, Dining, Travel, Shopping, Beauty and Wellness, Entertainment, Events, Sports and Leisure. Under the “Sri Lanka General” section information will be available on flight schedules, train time tables, currency exchange rates, international time zones, current weather and forecasts, emergency numbers, contact info of foreign missions and airlines etc.

    “In difference to other media, the TIK will display the information in real time. For example it will show not only the published flight schedule but also the current flight schedule what is on display at the airport,” Mahamuni said.
    Each Kiosk machine is said to cost around Rs. 600,000 including its software while the new company, Intelo Networks which has specialised team of technicians will look into any faulty machines or complaints.
    “We will be assembling these machines locally up to international standards. We will generate income by running advertisements on these machines and through other sources,” Mahamuni said.
    He added that the TIKs will be stored with information based on the location where they are placed while the user will not require any computer literacy to operate the machines.

    “This is nationally important project because it will raise the income of the country per tourist arrived while bearing both direct and indirect beneficiaries in the long run,” he said.
    Established in 1982, Intelo Networks (Pvt) Ltd has grown from small beginnings to a full service sign company and presently serves corporate clients island-wide. Following the direction of development of sign industry, Design Plastics was early to enter into the field of Dynamic Digital Signage. Today its subsidiary Intelo Networks (Pvt) Ltd is a Certified Partner of Scala Inc. of USA, the world’s undisputed leader in Digital Signage Solutions.

    Nation (http://www.nation.lk/2010/02/21/busi1.htm)
    - saraprobe, in 16 years
  • Tourism Picks Up The Pieces (http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2010/02/21/tourism-picks-up-the-pieces/)

    http://www.swagatam.com/gifs/nuwara-sri-lanka-tourism.jpg

    .: Hotels Overbooked
    .: Need For International Chains Emphasized

    Tourist arrivals have seen a steady increase over the past few months. The January performance of the hotels has been excellent, with arrivals reaching 50,750, which is a 32% increase against the same period in 2009, the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) said.

    Yet the absence of world-renowned hotel chains in the country may deal a setback to the leisure industry, according to the THASL. The association is urging the Tourism Ministry to seriously start encouraging international hotel chains to invest in the country.

    “Other than Hilton, we do not have any famous international hotel chains in Sri Lanka. Earlier we had hopes of having a Hyatt Hotel in Colombo, but since the Ceylinco debacle the proposed project came to a complete standstill. Unless the government introduces investment relief and tax breaks it would not be easy to attract investors to the country,” President, THASL, Srilal Miththapala told The Sunday Leader .

    Since the war came to an end in May 2009 the number of arrivals has increased enormously. However, lack of room capacity to cater to the increasing demand has become a setback to the industry, according to Miththapala. He also blamed the relevant authorities for their failure to grant approval for the construction of the required number of new guest rooms on time and added that this move would badly impact the industry.

    “With the steady increase in arrivals and high occupancy rates coupled with enhanced high season room rates, almost all resort hotels have recorded very high revenues. But many hotels have also faced an over-booking situation, a ‘difficulty’ which Sri Lankan hotels have not experienced for a long time.

    Unless the industry increases the number of hotel rooms in order to cater to the increasing demand we would not be able to handle more arrivals,” Miththapala added.

    According to him, statistics show that only 200-250 guest rooms have been constructed during the past six months, which is insufficient. Approval has also been granted for another 150 more rooms, but construction on these rooms is yet to begin.

    “Unless the industry gives preference to increasing the number of rooms immediately in order to cater to the ever-increasing tourist arrivals to the country, we do not see how we could accommodate more guests in the long term. It is very sad to note that although there are investors waiting to invest in more than 1000 rooms in the country they are yet to get the necessary approvals for construction. This is unhealthy for the industry,” Miththapala said.

    He further said that it was the British, German and Indian markets that increased most, with gains of 24.6%, 54% and 73.5% respectively, compared to 2009.

    The resort hotels have enjoyed an occupancy level of around 70-80% in January, while the circuit hotels in the Cultural Triangle area, which were relatively under-booked, have picked up and are doing well with about 65% occupancy levels.

    In the city, five-star hotels have also done well, reaching occupancy levels of 55-60%, indicating a 25% growth over 2009.

    This increase has come from the leisure and corporate sectors, and not necessarily from convention and incentive travel. The lower-category city hotels have done much better, with an occupancy percentage closer to 80%, an encouraging sign for the industry.

    President, City Hoteliers Association, M. Shanthikumar told The Sunday Leader that although the occupancy in city hotels has gone up to 70% over the past few months, it would see a decline in occupancy in April due to long vacations and the upcoming general election.

    According to him, the minimum room rates have increased the hotels’ revenue while also benefiting the staffers, who receive a higher service charge than before.

    “Corporate clients have increased by 20% in comparison to 2009, and we are expecting this to increase in the months to come,” Shanthikumar said. Meanwhile, it is learnt that hotels, particularly in Negombo, have already started to refurbish and upgrade their hotels for the upcoming season.

    “In Negombo alone many of the hotels including the Dolphin, Sea Shells, Blue Oceanic, Goldi Sands and Browns Beach would partially reduce their operations for refurbishing activities,” Past President, Negombo Hoteliers Association and General Manager, Jetwing Beach, Hyacinth Gunawardena told The Sunday Leader.

    “We have to attract the high end market and have to compete with Bali, Maldives and Thailand if we are to sustain this,” Gunawardena added.
    - banuthev, in 16 years
  • LBO>>Economy
    Tourist Arrivals
    11 Mar, 2010 07:16:13
    ^^
    Mar 11, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka tourist arrivals surge 67.7 percent to 57,300 in February 2010 from a year earlier, with steep increases in generating markets in India, UK and Germany, official data showed.
    In 2009 38,464 visitors came to Sri Lanka amidst an intensifying war with Tamil separatists that ended in May 2009. In 2008, 40,551 tourists came in February, Sri Lanka's tourism development office said.

    Visitors from Western Europe rose 71.7 percent to 26,850 in February with UK rising 46.3 percent to 10,700, Germany up 122 percent to 5,656, France up 104 percent to 3,440 and the Netherlands up 53 percent to 1,621.

    South Asian visitors rose 66.6 percent to 11,869 with India growing 94.9 percent too 8,383, Maldives up 20 percent to 2,500 and Pakistan up 34 percent to 609.

    Arrivals from Australasia were up 32 percent to 2,067 and East Asia was up 93.7 percent to 6,104. Japanese visitors increased 50.6 percent to 1,306, visitors from Malaysia rose 420 percent to 1,191.
    Visitors from Singapore rose 112 percent to 829.

    Sri Lanka has seen a surge of tourist arrivals with the industry reporting packed hotels till March. The European winter is the peak tourist season for Sri Lanka.
    http://www.lbo.lk/fullstory.php?nid=813094662
    - pathum1986, in 17 years
  • visitors from Malaysia rose 420 percent to 1,191.


    I am not suprised with our own SkyPrince making so many trips to Sri Lanka!!!

    :)
    - Lasantha, in 17 years
  • I am not suprised with our own SkyPrince making so many trips to Sri Lanka!!!

    :)

    Am thinking of another Lanka trip this April or May.. not sure yet .

    I saw many European tourists travelling with family in Lanka, and its surprising that Europeans make almost half of tourist arrivals , unlike almost all other countries where huge chunk of tourists are from regional markets.
    - Skyprince, in 17 years
  • Lanka to earn $600m from tourism in 2010
    Board targets higher yield per visitor By Mario AndreeTourist arrivals are rising at a rapid pace with the number of visitors increasing by 67.7 percent in February to 57,300 from 34,169 a year ago, official data shows.

    Considering the industry’s potential to grow in post-war Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) estimates that income from this sector could reach around US$ 600 million this year, from an estimated number of 600,000 total arrivals.

    Tourism industry is rapidly growing and the year 2011 has been nominated as the visit Sri Lanka.

    In January this year, there was a sharp increase in the number of arrivals from the Middle East, rising from 1,176 to 2,674, a growth rate of 127.4 percent.

    Western Europe showed an increase of 87.8 percent in arrivals year-on-year but the numbers are still stand at around 445 arrivals.

    The number of tourists from Eastern Europe grew by 55.8 percent while arrivals from South Asia increased by 28.2 percent.

    The highest numbers of arrivals were from Poland attracting 1,054 with an increase of 17 percent compared year-on-year.

    There was, however, a decline of arrivals from Africa and the regional countries.

    The number of arrivals dropped from 56 to 46, declining by 17.9 percent.

    There was also a significant downfall in the number of arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean. It dropped by 53.1 percent from 130 to 61 year-on-year.

    Treasury secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara voiced optimism recently about the growth of the hotel sector, reaching 100pc occupancies this year and the industry is likely to advance at a rapid pace, exceeding targets.

    He also stressed the need for 30,000 more hotel rooms to keep up with growing demand.

    SLTDA project planners have focused on developing 13,000 new rooms to meet the demand from increasing arrivals.

    The tourism board had planned to increase the yield per visitor from the current US$80 to US$130 for 2009.

    The SLTDA is also focusing on increasing the number of tour operators from all markets.
    - FazilLanka, in 18 years
  • Ik6TjyJDrN0
    - saraprobe, in 18 years
  • More tourists from US in January

    by Shirajiv SIRIMANE

    The number of tourist arrivals from the USA increased by 21 per cent in January compared to last year.

    The Ministry of Tourism, in a bid to target more American tourists took their worldwide 'Destination Sri Lanka' and 'Visit Sri Lanka 2011' campaigns to the New York Times 2010 Travel that were held over the weekend at the Javits Convention Centre. "This is a great opportunity for us to showcase the multitude of tourist attractions Sri Lanka has to offer and build on the publicity generated from the recently published New York Times article", said Sri Lanka Tourism Honorary Director in the USA Dillan Ariyawansa.

    "In addition, the Tourism Bureau will impress upon the visitor that a thousand different possibilities are available a country which is half the size of the New York State." Sri Lanka Tourism has made arrangements to print and distribute copies of the recently published article in the New York Times where Sri Lanka has been identified as the No.1 destination to visit in 2010.

    "Things have changed. Peace has arrived and everyone is working together. Rebuilding tourism has become a top priority for the Government and the private sector", said Minister of Tourism., Achala Jagoda.

    The Government has launched major publicity campaigns to develop the tourism industry. 'Visit Sri Lanka 2011' is an international communication campaign involving CNN, Discovery Travel, BBC and Al Jazeera. Investment dollars are also flowing in and new hotels are being built.

    SriLankan Airlines and a dance troupe from Sri Lanka also participated, in the travel show.

    http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2010/03/14/new31.asp
    - SLAA, in 18 years
  • BTW has anyone seen any of the Sri Lankan ads they so grandly said would be on CNN etc yet? I haven't.
    - SLAA, in 18 years
  • Tourism promotion makes headway in North

    by Jayampathy JAYASINGHE

    Tourism promotion in the Northern Province has got off the ground. The Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Army has set up a tourist information centre at Hospital Street in Jaffna town to offer help and facilitate those visiting the northern peninsula, Minister of Tourism Achala Jagoda told the Sunday Observer.

    After the A9 Road was reopened around three lakhs of tourists, local and foreign flocked to the Northern Province during the past two months improving the income of farmers, businessmen and those self-employed. There is a surge in the demand for vegetables, fruits, handicrafts and ornamental goods.

    The Minister of Tourism has instructed his Ministry Secretary to formulate a scheme to conserve archaeological and ecclesiastical sites in the North to minimise the damage caused to the environment.

    The Environment, Fisheries, Defence, Cultural and Heritage Ministries will formulate a common policy in the near future. According to the Tourist Development Authority , the number of tourist arrivals in February reached 57,300.

    The Tourist Development Authority launched a project in 2005, to establish up-market luxury type villas in the township of Kalpitiya and the 14 islands in the area. The extent of land covering the project is around 4,000-5,000 hectares. The Tourist Development Authority along with the Board of Investment (BOI) have invited several investors in this regard.

    Another important aspect of the Kalpitiya project is regarding the residents of Baththalangunduwa and the fishermen in the adjacent areas. “These people will not be uprooted but will be the stakeholders of the hotel project,” a Tourist Development Authority official said.

    The total investment on the Kalpitiya hotel project is estimated at US dollars 4 billion and funds for the purpose will be provided by investors. Another tourist attraction under the Kalpitiya project is the seas around Kalpitiya have been earmarked as an attraction for sightseeing of Whales and dolphins. The largest mangrove plants in the country are found there.

    http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2010/03/14/new03.asp
    - SLAA, in 18 years
  • Sri Lanka a true 'Wonder of Asia'

    Sri Lanka - the Wonder of Asia, a promotional event organised in Beijing, with a rich ambience of her culture, heritage and cuisine very confidently placed this exquisite island in the Indian Ocean, as a truly miracle destination in Asia. Spearheaded by the Embassy of Sri Lanka, this event was staged on March 5, 2010 in the prestigious China World Hotel.

    The tag-line for the evening was aptly introduced in keeping with the vision of President Rajapaksa, to place Sri Lanka as 'the emerging wonder of Asia'.

    Flowing from this vision and understanding the very need to establish an iconic image to introduce Sri Lanka to the Chinese people, the event portrayed the mystique Sigiriya with its frescos as its theme.

    Organised on the occasion to celebrate the 62nd anniversary of the independence of Sri Lanka and the 53rd Year of Establishing Diplomatic Relations with China, the evening attracted a very distinguished gathering of closer to 500 persons representing Ministers, foreign Ambassadors, top ranking Government officials, persons dominating the travel trade, the business community and the entrepreneurs.

    The chief guest on the occasion was Zhang Zhi Jun, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Government.

    While congratulating Sri Lanka, for the success achieved in eradicating terrorism from her soil, he pledged China's continuous support for economic development and building a mutually beneficial partnership between the two countries.

    Ambassador Karunatilaka Amunugama, speaking on the occasion, emphasised that for the first time in almost three decades, Sri Lanka was not under the shadow of terrorism and that the 62nd anniversary is celebrated with a great sense of oneness and pride.

    He reiterated that with the resounding electoral victory for President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the recently concluded Presidential elections, a new era of peace and hope has dawned in the country to achieve prosperity, which the people so richly deserve.

    In the context of bilateral relations, he spoke of the time honoured partnership and the friendship between the two countries which had been nurtured under the care of leaders of both countries and the assistance extended by the Chinese Government in protecting Sri Lanka's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    The Ambassador also wished China a successful launching of the Expo 2010 in Shanghai in May and the Asian Games in Guangzhou in October this year.

    He reiterated that Sri Lanka looked on with much anticipation to participate in these two events.

    Ambassador Amunugama also noted that the promotional exercise in Beijing certainly enriched the efforts of the Tourism Promotional Authority to position Sri Lanka as the Destination to Visit in 2011 amongst the Chinese traveller.

    Set against the Sigiriya rock standing solitarily and majestically as the backdrop, one of the most prominent tourism attractions of Sri Lankan history, the dancers of the Channa-Upuli Performing Arts Foundation and the troupe of Ravibandu Vidyapathy captivated the attention of the audience with scintillating music and dance performances and a mixture of traditional and contemporary drum beats that kept the audience spell-bound.

    The Chefs of Mount Lavinia Hotel catered for the evening with spice infused Sri Lanka, cuisine introducing many a favourite mouth watering dishes of Sri Lanka to the invitees.

    The foyer area of the China World Hotel, was decorated fittingly to promote Sri Lanka as a key tourist destination in Asia, simultaneously focusing on her strengths for trade and investment promotion.

    The Photographic Exhibition captioned 'Sri Lanka - Love at First Sight' most appropriately promoted the country as a wedding destination capturing through the lens of the Chinese photographers visiting Sri Lanka on familiarisation tours, the beauty and the exotic nature of the country.

    In blending with this theme, were the trade displays created by the commercial section of the Embassy, displaying a couple of booths in showcasing Sri Lanka's targeted export items to China such as Ceylon tea in different flavours etc.

    In adding further to the wonder of the evening the drummers of Sri Lanka and China portrayed their strength and unity through a synchronised item of harmonious beats. Certain Chinese Institutes in the fields of culture, trade and investment, education and training, were felicitated for the contributions made towards enhancing people to people interactions.

    The convener of the Sri Lanka community in Beijing was also felicitated for the efforts made in bringing the expat Sri Lankans together with the patronage of the Embassy. The Mission of Sri Lanka together with Sri Lankan Airlines and the promotional agencies such as Sri Lanka Tourism Promotional Bureau have been making a valiant effort in the past three years by organising an event of a grand scale annually to focus the country in China, particularly due to the great potentials emerging with China as a key outbound tourist destination. The figures indicate a major surge in Chinese outbound tourism projecting approx a movement of over 48 million persons annually which they expect to rise up to 52 million this year, with good spending ability. Sri Lanka's neighbours such as India and Maldives are already established destinations for Chinese travellers.

    Under such circumstances in organising unique focused events promoting Sri Lanka as an appealing exotic island would attract more Chinese travellers to the country.

    In conjunction with the Sri Lanka evening, the Mount Lavinia Hotel has also collaborated with the China World Hotel hosted a week long food festival promoting Sri Lanka cuisine and introduced signature dishes such as hoppers, ambulthial, stringhopper, pillau Kottu and which satisfied the Chinese consumer amply.

    http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2010/03/14/fin70.asp
    - SLAA, in 18 years
  • SLCB promotes film locations

    N Ramji, third from the left with SLCB’s Achini Dandunnage and Kumudu Hennedige and Chandran Ratnam of Asian Film Production.

    SLCB hosted N Ramji, Managing Director of Travel Masters India ( P) Ltd, well-known film location provider for Indian Movies recently. SLCB assisted Ramji to do a full recce covering Kandy, Galle, Koggala, Trincomalee and China Bay. Sri Lanka will be chosen for full or part scenes for movies from Bollywood and Hollywood in the forthcoming productions following this visit.

    Having established contact during the MICE promotion in Chennai last December, by inviting Ramji, SLCB received assistance from SriLankan Airlines, Taj Group and Chandran Ratnam of Asian Film Locations pvt Ltd, to make the recce a success and to enable Ramji to chose locations which SLCB believes will generate positive results in the coming months.

    http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2010/03/14/fin70.asp
    - SLAA, in 18 years
  • Countrywide tourism infrastructure development drive gets underway

    ...The SLTDA plans to expedite infrastructure development in existing tourism locations and to develop Kalpitiya islands under an integrated project while the authorities also plan to attract half a million tourists this year with earnings of US$ 600 as the travel industry recovers rapidly after the end of the war.

    The upgrading and refurbishment of tourist hotels, and the setting up of around 50 to 60 ‘comfort centres’ by the roadside leading to tourist destinations are now underway. Mr Basnayake, a gem businessman in Balangoda who served as a director at the State Gem Corporation and is an accountant, said that the aim is to link up the overall infrastructure development program in the country to ensure that most essential pre requisites are in place for tourism investments.

    These centres will have a cafeteria, rest room cooking facilities as well as sanitation facilities mainly for local travellers who are going on pilgrimages and pleasure trips. When tourists ride out of Colombo to outstations, they can refresh at these centres which will be managed by the private sector. It will also be used to maintain the area clean with the help of residents and visitors, he said.

    The SLTDA is fast-tracking the development of Kalpitiya islands to create a unique, branded international green resort for up-market tourism, which would be a benchmark project in the region, hoping to surpass tourism in the Maldives.

    Mr Basnayake said that the ownership of 14 out of 22 islands in Kalpitiya covering an area of 4000 acres will be handed over to prospective investors on a 30-year lease for this purpose under this Integrated Tourism Development Project. This is believed to be the largest ever tourism project that the island has ever seen. The project aims to develop a total of 17 hotels with three five star deluxe hotels and three four star hotels adding 5000 new rooms and 10,000 beds.

    Several reputed international hotel chains, have already made plans to build luxury resorts comprising of premium leisure, spa club and floating restaurants. Similar development initiatives have been made in the East Coast as well. In this endeavour setting up of several luxury resorts in the areas of Pasikudah and Kuchchaveli has already been planned as the first phase of development, he said.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100314/BusinessTimes/bt20.html
    - Amal, in 19 years
  • Sri Lanka to allow recreational flying

    Mar 16, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka has decided to lift restrictions on private flying and open up her skies for recreational aviation to lure tourists after the end of a 30-year war, a senior official said.

    Director-general of civil aviation Parakrama Dissanayake said the decision was taken at a meeting between civil aviation authorities and the air force last week.

    Dissanayake said the authorities had been getting inquiries from tourists keen on bringing their own equipment for use in the island.

    "Tourists have been asking whether they can bring hot air balloons and hang gliders," he said. "Till now the answer has been 'No'. But now we want to allow it."

    The country needs to promote recreational aviation activities, Dissanayake told LBO.

    "With the end of the war we need to come in line with other countries and let people use the air space for recreational activities."

    These include hot-air ballooning, use of hang-gliders and powered-gliders, and flying micro-light aircraft and model aircraft.

    Hot-air ballooning was allowed a few years ago but restricted to certain parts of the island.

    Dissanayake said they want to revive an 'open skies' scheme started in November 2006 in the island's south and extend it to the entire island, although some airspaces over certain areas like defence installations and ports would still be restricted.

    Restrictions on recreational aviation were imposed as the threat posed by Tamil Tiger rebels in the ethnic war intensified.

    Private flying was banned and even commercial pilot training suspended for some years after the Tigers acquired their own light aircraft which were used for bombing on a few occasions.

    The Tigers were defeated by government forces in May 2009, ending the 30-year war, and leading to a marked revival in tourist arrivals.

    "The relaxation should happen very soon - in the next couple of months," Dissanayake said.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1942581884
    - Amal, in 20 years
  • Sri Lanka hotels dress up for post-war rush

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3097/3110754524_6187cd4dea.jpg

    By Mel Gunasekera (AFP) – 3 hours ago

    COLOMBO — Sri Lanka's hotel owners are racing to refurbish and add thousands more rooms as foreign holidaymakers pour into the country after the end of nearly four decades of ethnic bloodshed.

    Leading hotel groups plan to spend millions of dollars on new decor and facilities for the influx of tourists drawn to the plentiful sunshine, beaches and tropical wildlife on the Indian Ocean island nation.

    The ambitious expansion comes amid a post-war revival that has pushed up hotel room rates and given the hospitality industry something to cheer for the first time in years.

    For once, after seeing tourists put off by violence and travel warnings from foreign governments, the industry says it is struggling to find places for the visitors, most of whom come from Britain, Germany, France, India and Japan.

    "Hotels are overbooked, a 'problem' which our hotels have not experienced for a very long time," said Srilal Miththapala, who heads the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka.

    Counting on this solid demand, many are now investing in new furniture, bars, restaurants, swimming pools and extensions.

    Sri Lanka's tourist board expects the total number of hotel rooms to grow from about 15,000 now to 22,000 in the next two years.

    In a sign of the changes underway, Sri Lanka's biggest leisure operator John Keells Holdings is partially refurbishing one of its flagship Colombo hotels, while two of its beach-front resorts are set for a complete facelift.

    The group's resort in the eastern seaport town of Trincomalee, once a hotbed for Tamil Tiger rebels, will re-open in May as a retro-chic five-star hotel.

    "With the war behind us, there is pent-up demand for a bit of luxury targeting well-heeled guests. We're very bullish," said its deputy chairman, Ajit Gunewardene.

    The Tamil Tigers, who waged a 37-year separatist war of suicide bombings, assassinations and military offensives, were crushed by government forces last May, finally bringing peace to the Buddhist-majority nation.

    John Keells, which owns seven resorts and two city hotels with 1,600 rooms, will spend in excess of 900 million dollars over three years to renovate and build three hotels, Gunewardene said.

    Rival operator Aitken Spence Group says it is spending nearly 30 million dollars in the next year to spruce up properties and build three hotels in the island's war-torn north and east.

    Shiromal Cooray, a director at the Jetwing Group which manages a chain of 10 hotels, admitted that significant improvement was needed because nearly half of the country's current hotel rooms are below so-called "star class."

    Jetwing plans to spend more than seven million dollars this year to improve its properties.

    Dileep Mudadeniya, who heads the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, says most hotels have been fully occupied in the past three or four months.

    A key foreign exchange earner, the number of holidaymakers in February soared 68 percent to 57,300 over the same month a year earlier, according to tourist board figures.

    "Forward bookings are encouraging," said Mudadeniya. "I was told that 20 to 30 hotels are closed for any new reservations till the end of March because they are fully booked."

    The industry is hoping to attract 2.5 million visitors by 2016, up from 447,890 in 2009, the final year of hostilities.

    It is also hoping to earn two billion dollars annually in tourist revenue by 2016, up from 350 million dollars last year.

    The downside for holidaymakers is that the days of bargain hotel rates in Sri Lanka appear to be over.

    A year ago, visitors could easily get discounts of 50 percent or more on advertised room rates.

    "There are virtually no rooms in the southern resorts. Bookings are heavy," said Lakal Jayasinghe, who manages the Tangerine Beach Hotel, a deluxe beach resort in the south.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iut3DU2QMr2RswfQ8YpxoqXW7wGw
    - Amal, in 20 years
  • 1-WfXSacm84
    - saraprobe, in 21 years
  • What happened to the Hyatt and Sheraton hotels that were planned to be built? Hopefully if the private sector isnt willing to build these hotels, the state can take over and build them, whilst giving management to world class hotel companies that run on a profit basis (like the Hilton and the former Intercontinental). By having world class hotel chains, Sri Lanka would improve its credibility in terms of business etc.
    - lordvader, in 21 years
  • no message
    - banuthev, in 21 years
  • What happened to the Hyatt and Sheraton hotels that were planned to be built? Hopefully if the private sector isnt willing to build these hotels, the state can take over and build them, whilst giving management to world class hotel companies that run on a profit basis (like the Hilton and the former Intercontinental). By having world class hotel chains, Sri Lanka would improve its credibility in terms of business etc.

    Yes, yesterday Gov owned State Provident Fund bought a stake of a beach hotel, I think they should invest like here in superannuation funds do!!
    - saraprobe, in 21 years
  • Hi Saraprobe, do you by any chance have the full article for the NatGeo Article ranking, or a list of all the other countries??
    - SLAA, in 21 years
  • Lanka to host Indian Film Academy Awards

    Dulshani GUNAWARDENA

    Sri Lanka is to host this year's International Indian Film Academy(IIFA) Awards.

    A celebration of Indian cinema, the IIFA Awards is a huge landmark in the Bollywood calendar. Since its inception in 2000 it has been held in a variety of international destinations. Previous hosts include the likes of the United Kingdom, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore and Thailand.

    The IIFA Awards will be held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium from June 2 to 4. Sri Lanka will be the hub of international attention with IIFA awards drawing many illustrious figures of Bollywood together with prominent business people.

    Sri Lanka has been chosen from amongst countries such as South Africa, Abu Dhabi, Australia and Korea to host this prestigious event.

    Parallel to the IIFA Awards, an international fashion show and worldwide film premier and a trade and business forum with the participation of over hundred CEOs will be held.

    Also to be looked forwards is the Asia Cup, a 20-20 match to be played between Bollywood stars and Asian cricketers.

    The event promises a forty percent increase in tourist arrivals.

    "This is a very rare and wonderful opportunity for Sri Lanka. Thanks to the prevailing peace, Sri Lanka has received international recognition," Minister of Tourism, Achala Jaagoda stated.

    The event will garner media coverage from over 400 media organizations worldwide.

    This will culminate in a total value of 40 million dollars worth of airtime.The Ministry of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Defence and Sports will coordinate in handling this event.

    This event will provide massive opportunities for Sri Lanka and India to strengthen their trade and business ties.

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2010/03/26/news11.asp
    - SLAA, in 21 years
  • Luxury Voyage

    26 Mar, 2010 12:05:30

    Sri Lanka in bid to lure cruise ship calls
    Mar 26, 2010 (LBO) - Once a lucrative foreign exchange provider to Sri Lanka, cruise tourism is seen as bringing back more well-heeled tourists to the island, just as it did before the ethnic war.

    Sri Lanka is expecting an estimated 21,000 cruise passengers this year with 30 liners having confirm calls, travel trade officials said.
    But port facilities need to be upgraded along with transport to take visitors on inland tours.

    Colombo port on the western coast and Galle port in the south are the only ports with passenger terminals where cruise ships can dock.

    But Galle, for long a favourite port of call for yachts and cruise ships, is too small for the bigger cruise liners to navigate to the berth.

    "When a large vessel comes by, they have to dock mid-stream and transfer passengers to the jetty on 'tender boats'," said Tony Mantara, Chairman of the travel trade Advisory Panel for Cruise Tourism

    "We need state-of-the-art passenger terminals," Mantara told LBO in an interview, adding that a brand new port built in southern Hambantota should also have a cruise ship terminal to draw visitors to tourist sites in the region.


    Not enough well-informed, English-speaking guides are available in the country, Mantara said.
    The severe lack of proper transportation too is a short-coming when catering to the luxury leisure market.

    Over 90 percent of the luxury buses operated are nearly 10 years old and vehicles operated by the jetty service have to be upgraded to meet the requirements of demanding, up-market tourists.

    Some of the international cruise lines already making regular calls in the island's ports include Carnival Cruises, Swan Hellenic and Crystal Cruises.

    Several other luxury cruise lines are also showing interest with the end of the island's 30-year ethnic war in May 2009.

    Seven luxury cruise lines have already made inquiries about calling at Sri Lankan ports including Oceania Cruises, ResidenSea, AIDA Cruise and Costa.

    The island which used to attract about 130 cruise ships a year before the conflict, saw cruise calls falling by nearly half during the three-decade Tamil Tiger separatist war.

    Even during the war the country used to get about 65-75 cruise vessels a year.

    The number of calls is down this year partly because of the global economic crisis which has affected spending power of travellers, although there are signs of a recovery in cruising.

    Somali pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa are another reason for the decline in cruise ship voyages in Indian Ocean waters.
    - FazilLanka, in 21 years
  • Overseas Support

    26 Mar, 2010 06:44:32

    Sri Lanka gets foreign loans for tourism, roads Mar 26, 2010 (LBO) - The World Bank has approved a loan of 18 million US dollars to Sri Lanka to develop sustainable tourism, international trade minister Gamini Peiris said.
    "This is a matter of high priority for Sri Lanka now," he told a news conference, referring to the revival in tourism following the end of the 30-year ethnic war in May 2009.
    The World Bank loan is interest free and repayable in 20 years with a 10-year grace period.

    Peiris also said Korea's Export-Import Bank was giving another loan of 40 million dollars to upgrade a road connecting the hill-country towns of Hatton and Nuwara Eliya.

    The bank is charging only a 0.1 percent interest a year and the loan is repayable in 40 years, including a 10-year grace period.

    "With the end of terrorism, large funds are coming from abroad," Peiris said. "It shows the confidence investors have in us."

    In 2009 China gave 294 million dollars, Japan 311 million dollars, the Asian Development Bank 283 million dollars and the World Bank 202 million dollars, he said.


    "These funds are to be used for infrastructure development," Peiris said.
    - FazilLanka, in 21 years
  • Sri Lanka's largest national park reopened after war
    COLOMBO, March 26 (PNA/Xinhua) -- A popular belief among lovers of nature is that any time of the day one can be sure of spotting a leopard at the Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka's largest national park located in the northwestern coastal dry zone.

    It is not just a saying. Designated as a sanctuary in 1905 and upgraded to a national park in 1938, the Wilpattu National Park is among the top national parks in the world.

    However, the park, about 180 km north of the capital Colombo, had been closed to visitors since June 2006 due to the operations of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE).

    After the conclusion of the island's bloody civil war in May 2009, the 131,693-hectare park reopened to visitors last month.

    Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said all of the island's national parks are now open, following the reopening of the Wilpattu park.

    Ranawaka said the revenue of his ministry will increase with the opening of all national parks.

    Park warden Weerasinghe Dissanayake said the LTTE killed 23 wildlife officers in 1985, forcing the closure of the park.

    He said it was reopened on March 16, 2003 after the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the government and the LTTE, but it had to be closed again in 2006 because seven persons, including a wildlife tracker, was killed by a LTTE blast.

    However, the fauna and flora of the park have positively grown during its closure period, said Dissanayake.

    Dissanayake said 31 species of mammals including those in danger of extinction have been identified in the park.

    The elephant (elephas maximus), Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus), leopard (panthera pardus kotiya) and water buffalo (bubalus bubalis) are among those threatened species living within the park, he said.

    He said the small water tanks in the park support both resident and migratory water fowl, including large breeding population of the Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) and Open Billed Stork (anastomus oscitans).

    Other wetland bird species such as Garganey, Pin Tail, Whistling Teal, have also been found in the park, Dissanayake said.

    "At Wilpattu, among the reptiles found, the most common are the Monitor (Varanus bengalensis), Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), the Soft Shelled Turtle (Lissemys punctata) who are residents in the large permanent small tanks," he said.

    Visitors can also see star tortoises roaming on the grasslands while termites of the Genus Trinervitermes clan probably account for the most significant proportion of the invertebrate species, Dissanayake said.

    He said nearly 60 lakes and tanks at the park.

    There are many small tanks and lakes at Wilpattu which is the main topographical feature of the park, said Dissanayake, adding that they are often flat and contain purely rain water.

    Dissanayake said the park is not only rich in biodiversity but also has a historical value.

    According to the popular legend, Vijaya, the creator of Sri Lanka's main Sinhala race landed at Kudrimalai in Sri Lanka from India in 543 B.C. and he married Kuweni, who lived in Kali Villu.

    "Both Kudrimalai and Kali Villu have been found in Wilpattu," said Dissanayake.

    He said though situated in a dry zone, the climate inside the park is very different from other dry zones in the island. It has 1,000 mm annual rainfall and an average temperature of 27.2 degrees Celsius.

    The period between September and December is known as the rainy season at Wilpattu with the north eastern monsoon rains falling heavily and inter monsoon rains come to Wilpattu between March and April, he said, adding that the period of drought extends from May to early September.

    Dissanayake said the park has seven bungalows, but they are under renovation at present.

    The minister welcomes all nature lovers who were unable to enjoy the natural treasures of Wilpattu in the past few years to visit the park. (PNA/Xinhua) http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=6&sid=&nid=6&rid=266611
    - hakz2007, in 21 years
  • Sri Lanka ranked top travel destination for 2010

    National Geographic has named Sri Lanka the No. 2 of the 25 'Best New Trips for 2010' giving the island nation known as the 'Wonder of the World' yet another top travel ranking this year.

    In its list of 'Best New Trips for 2010,' National Geographic said, after the tsunami of 2004 and the resolution of a decades-long conflict, Sri Lanka is finally starting to look like its old self: a peaceful destination where surf lineups are nonexistent despite world-class waves and centuries-old tea estates are lined with mountain bike ready trails.

    'The silver lining of the conflict is that the land and wildlife have remained untouched,' says Lisa Bolger, trip coordinator for Access Trips, one of the very few outfitters leading excursions to the Indian Ocean island this coming year.

    The National Geographic notice, which touted Sri Lanka as 'Missing in action No More,' is the third top ranking that Sri Lanka has received recently from premiere travel publications.

    The New York Times on January 10 named Sri Lanka the No. 1 travel destination in 2010 noting that the long conflict against the LTTE terrorist is over and that there is no better time to travel to Sri Lanka's unspoiled beaches, mountainous terrain and wildlife parks. It wrote: 'The island, with a population of just 20 million, feels like one big tropical zoo: elephants roam freely, water buffaloes idle in paddy fields and monkeys swing from trees.

    And then there's the pristine coastline.

    The miles of sugary white sand flanked by bamboo groves that were off-limits to most visitors until recently are a happy, if unintended byproduct of the war.

    Also in January, the luxury-living website DailyCandy.com raved about Sri Lanka reporting that, 'Really, there's only one downside to Sri Lanka: Eventually, you have to leave.' Travel to Sri Lanka began to increase dramatically just days after the conflict ended in May 2009.

    Tourist visits have jumped each month since then, with an impressive 67.7 percent jump in February compared to the same month in 2009. There have been no terrorist incidents anywhere in the island since the conflict ended, and a number of countries, including the U.S., have eased previous travel warnings.

    Sri Lanka has long been known for its elegant, five-star destinations along its coastline and in its central highlands, which are dotted by sweeping green tea plantations and mountain vistas. The island nation also features an impressive string of wildlife parks that are home to Asian elephant herds, leopards and other exotic animals.

    http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2010/03/28/fin70.asp
    - SLAA, in 21 years
  • Sri Lanka Q1 tourist arrivals up over 50 percent

    Published: 07 Apr 2010 21:14:41 PST

    COLOMBO, March 10 - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped by 50.3 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to a year earlier, boosted by the end of a 25-year civil war, tourism board data showed on Thursday. Arrivals to the Indian Ocean island nation in March rose 53.7 percent to 52,352 from the same month last year.

    Arrivals have risen for 10 straight months since the end of the war in May and were up 29.3 percent during the June 2009-March 2010 period compared to a year earlier.

    The hotel and travel index <.CSEHT> on the Colombo Stock Exchange has almost tripled since the war's end, outpacing the rise in the overall index <.CSE>, which has doubled since then.

    Earnings from tourism jumped 49 percent in January to $44.7 million, the central bank's latest data showed. Sri Lanka is targeting 2.5 million arrivals and $2 billion in earnings by 2016. ($1=113.75 Sri Lankan rupee)

    http://news.alibaba.com/article/detail/markets/100273772-1-sri-lanka-q1-tourist-arrivals.html
    - Amal, in 21 years
  • The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) is targeting foreign investment of US$5 billion in the next six years after securing US$602 million last year and US$ 250 million for the first three months this year.

    Disclosing the board’s ambitious investment promotion (FDI) plan, BOI Chairman Dhammika Perera told a media conference in Colombo on Tuesday that they plan to generate 80,000 new direct employment opportunities, develop 50,000 new hotel rooms, set up 50 IT/BPO companies, add 5,000 hospital beds and establish 25 higher education institutes for 30,000 students during this period.
    He said that the BOI received US$5,600 million as FDIs since 1978 and 50% of this amount had been received during the 2006-2009 period.

    Mr Perera announced that nine new companies will start projects at the Horana Export Processing Zone. The total value of their investment once completed will be US$ 57.15 million and 1,221 workers employed at the zone.

    He revealed that Unilever Sri Lanka will set up a massive factory at the zone that will be producing food items, soap and toothpaste and investing US$ 40 million and providing employment for100 workers. Another 300 room Hilton hotel will come up in Tangalle, he said.

    The Horana zone in the Kalutara District commenced operations in November 1999 on 385 acres. The current total investment there is US$54 million and its 11 enterprises provides employment to 1,623 workers.

    ST (http://sundaytimes.lk/100411/BusinessTimes/bt13.htm)
    - saraprobe, in 21 years
  • Tourism boom in post war Sri Lanka
    http://www.news.lk//images/stories/Multimedia_Gallery/Photo_Gallery/Tourist_arrive2ssss.jpg

    It is now boom for tourism in Sri Lanka. The island’s hotel owners are racing to refurbish and add thousands more rooms as foreign holidaymakers pour into the country with the end of the war, the Ministry of Tourism revealed.

    Leading hotel groups plan to spend millions of dollars on refurbishments. The ambitious expansion comes amid a post-war revival that has pushed up hotel room rates and given the hospitality industry something to celebrate for the first time in years.

    For once, after seeing tourists put off by violence and travel warnings from foreign governments, the industry says it is struggling to find places for the visitors, most of whom come from Britain, Germany, France, India and Japan.

    Counting on this solid demand, many are now investing in new furniture, bars, restaurants, swimming pools and extensions.

    Sri Lanka’s Tourist Board expects the total number of hotel rooms to grow from about 15 000 now to 22 000.

    The industry is hoping to attract 2.5 million visitors by 2016, up from 447 890 in 2009, the final year of hostilities.

    It is also hoping to earn $2-billion annually in tourist revenue by 2016, up from $350-million last year.http://www.news.lk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=14737&Itemid=44
    - hakz2007, in 21 years
  • Yahoo! Travel Magazine ranks Sri Lanka among top 10

    Sri Lanka is among the top 10 most affordable destinations in the world, according to the German-language yahoo! Travel Magazine.

    The other countries recommended by the magazine for a ‘memorable holiday’ are Malaysia, Thailand, India, Bulgaria, Croatia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt and Hungary.

    Meanwhile travel analysts expect that in 2010 the global tourist industry will return to its pre-crisis levels with growing interest towards the event tourism, Novinite reports.

    The National Geographic channel recently in an exclusive report categorized Sri Lanka as the second best place to visit. The commentators, Times Travel Writer Jil Crawshow and Editor of Wandertrust Magazine describe Sri Lanka as ‘definitely a best place to visit’.

    The National Geographic Adventure too has ranked Sri Lanka as the Second Best New Trips for 2010 out of 25 countries, accrediting the country as the “Wonder of the World.” Sri Lanka was ranked as the number one tourist destination by the ‘New York Times’ in its list of “31 Places to go in 2010”.

    Just days after this ranking, a leading lifestyle web resource, Daily Candy, weighed in with a similarly enthusiastic travel recommendation, Praising Sri Lanka as “the best place ever been”. Tourist arrivals in the country increased sharply from May in 2009 after defeating terrorism. © (http://www.dailynews.lk/2010/04/09/news37.asp)
    - banuthev, in 22 years
  • The 2010 It List

    by Ondine Cohane

    http://www.concierge.com/images/cnt/articles/october07/asian_beach_finder/cnt_asianbeach_005p.jpg
    Stilt fishermen have been plying their trade along Sri Lanka's southern coast

    Sri Lanka

    For over 25 years, this beautiful island in the Indian Ocean was torn by a brutal and bloody civil war. But the conflict finally ended in May 2009, and travelers looking for a tropical, low-key getaway are beginning to trickle back. Galle, an atmospheric walled fortress city, has become a cultural hub in the last few years: The country's second film festival will take place there in December 2010, and the city's fledgling literary festival has attracted international talent including Gore Vidal and Vikram Seth, who both shacked up at the luxurious Amangalla hotel. If the Aman is sold out, book a room at one of Galle's new boutique hotels, such as Era, with eight bedrooms and a huge saltwater pool facing the ocean.

    From Galle, guests take excursions to discover the fifth-century fortresses that dot the landscape, villages populated by traditional stilt fishermen (pictured), restaurants housed in old colonial mansions, and historic tea plantations where the world's best brews are served with afternoon crumpets and cream. How to wind up the trip? Sybarites might choose to keep lounging—the stylish Amanwella resort promises more pristine tropical beaches, while the beautiful thatched bungalows of Jetwing Vil Uyana are set in a nature reserve with an Ayurvedic spa. The more adventure-minded can pursue elephant safaris in Minneriya and whitewater rafting in Kitulgala.

    http://www.concierge.com/ideas/hotspots/tours/501243?page=8
    - Amal, in 22 years
  • HOT LIST 2010

    Villa Bentota

    http://www.concierge.com/images/destinations/hotels/asia/srilanka/bentota/villabentota/srilanka_thevillabentota_005p.jpg

    Sri Lankan design guru Shanth Fernando takes his Paradise Road brand's minimalist palette to this 1880s colonial mansion that was redone in the early 1970s by the founder of tropical architecture, Geoffrey Bawa. Here in Bentota, halfway down the coast between Colombo and Galle, the 15 rooms and suites are each unique but come with elegant woven cane furniture and a blurring between indoor and outdoor living through gracious balconies and terraces. All but three face the Indian Ocean and work best for guests wishing to avoid the occasional sound of trains running along tracks between the property and the long, palm-fringed beach. Fernando fills the many public spaces with his prodigious collection of far-flung artifacts: Jaffna wooden animals, Chinese celadon pots, Sri Lanka objets d'art from the Portuguese period, and Dutch door frames. An alfresco dining pavilion facing Galle Road offers up a bountiful menu that includes classic Sri Lankan black pork and cashew curry with gotukola sambal and sweet mango chutney. The efficient, all-male staff look out for guests around the clock, serving romantic breakfasts on the sprawling lawn, organizing visits to Bawa's nearby gardens at Lunuganga, and delivering mosquito coils to guests at sunset.

    Which room to book: The two-bedroom Mohotti Suite, with elevated four-poster beds and a glass-encased living room, is one of the island's best-value indulgences.

    http://www.concierge.com/tools/travelawards/hotlist/2010/hotels/asia/504695?id=504695&lastUrl=/tools/travelawards/hotlist/2010/hotels/asia
    - Amal, in 22 years
  • Hotel school to boost tourism industry
    Ariyapala WANSATHILAKE - Kurunegala Central Special

    Building a hotel school will be a premier event of the Kurunegala District to expand the tourism industry in the Sath Korale, said Wayamba Chief Minister Athula Wijesinghe at a media conference held at the Chief Minister's office yesterday.

    The Provincial Council and the Tourism Ministry will build two storeyed hotel school at the Kurunegala Heraliyawa industrial park at a cost of Rs. 100 million.

    The Tourism Ministry will provide all infrastructure facilities to this school. About 900 pupils will be enrolled for a six month course annually. Those who passed the G.C.E. O/L examination can apply for the course, the Chief Minister said.
    - FazilLanka, in 22 years
  • Sri Lanka braced for tourist onslaught

    By Joe Leahy in Colombo

    Published: April 23 2010 08:29 | Last updated: April 23 2010 08:29

    Tourism is rebounding so quickly in Sri Lanka after the end of the island’s civil war that in one or two years the country will lack the hotel capacity to meet visitor arrivals, according to the head of the country’s biggest listed company.

    Ajit Gunawardene, chief executive of John Keells, said Sri Lanka’s existing tourist infrastructure could handle a maximum of 800,000 visitors a year, comfortably meeting expected demand this year of 500,000.

    But in the next one or two years, visitors arrivals are expected to double and then double again two years later to 2m, suggesting that unless the country embarks on a hotel construction boom it will fail to meet demand.

    “This gives you an indication of the type of momentum we want to maintain,” Mr Gunawardene said.

    Investors in Sri Lanka are betting that the island’s violent past is behind it following the defeat of the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam last May in its battle for an independent Tamil homeland in the north and east.

    Hopes of political stability have been fuelled by landslide victories in the presidential and parliamentary elections this year by the incumbent leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his ruling coalition, the United People’s Freedom Alliance.

    Sri Lanka’s market is up 22 per cent so far this year.

    The rally has been led by John Keells, which accounts for about 10 per cent of market capitalisation and is expected to be one of the key beneficiaries of the economic recovery given its interests in hotels, ports and retail.

    “The UPFA’s win bodes well for policy continuity and investment-led growth,” said Anushka Shah, an economist at Citigroup.

    Tourist arrivals have risen for 10 consecutive months since May and were up 29.3 per cent in the nine months ended March 31 compared with a year earlier.

    Mr Gunawardene said John Keells had begun renovating existing hotels and building new ones to meet the tourism boom.

    It is upgrading its major hotel in Colombo, overhauling a hotel in Trincomalee in the war-torn east as well as building more tourist hotels in the popular south.

    John Keells also plans to participate in the expansion of Colombo’s port, which is strategically placed on shipping lanes between Europe, the Middle East and China.

    The group is expected to bid with its partner Denmark’s Maersk for an additional terminal when the port’s capacity is increased to 16m twenty foot equivalent units a year over the next decade. That would make it South Asia’s biggest port.

    Tenders for the three new terminals in phase I are expected to be valued at about $500m.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2c03ccb4-4e98-11df-abb5-00144feab49a.html
    - Amal, in 22 years
  • the FT does have some good articles on them!! Thanks Amal..
    - Chariya, in 22 years
  • Just read that article this morning as well. The FT generally does good, factual articles as its reader base is well-informed and business minded. Also it limits political agenda aside from finance :)

    That's great news... I've seen Sri Lanka articles around the major world newspapers this year (not just Europe/NA but also Far East) and it seems to be getting the message through. More people definitely want to discover Sri Lanka, and it may help the airlines as well (SriLankan). We might also get some new carriers in for a bit of diversity!
    - dramirez, in 22 years
  • http://www.colombocitytour.com/index.html

    A Big Bus style Colombo city tour. Great idea I think! $30 charge which I think is a little high, even with all the entrance fees included...
    - dramirez, in 23 years
  • Sri Lanka John Keells hotel in upgrade investment deal

    May 03, 2010 (LBO) - Habarana Lodge has signed a deal with the Board of Investment to invest 2.5 million US dollars to re-furbish and upgrade its hotel in north-central Sri Lanka, the investment promotion agency said.

    The 140-room Cinnamon Lodge Hotel at Habarana, part of the John Keells group hotel chain, will be upgraded to a five-star rated hotel, the BOI statement said.

    "The hotel is expected to attract more guests with the boom in the tourism industry."

    BOI approval for projects enables companies to be entitled to incentives like tax breaks and duty free import of equipment and raw materials.

    Sri Lanka's tourist industry has revived with a sharp upturn in arrivals following the end of the 30-year ethnic war last May.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=859722975
    - Amal, in 24 years
  • The Cinnamon brand is probably the strongest large hotel brand in Sri Lanka, I hear very good reviews from their hotels. Website is lovely as well!

    Also, there are several new small luxury hotels/villas coming up all the time... keep an eye on http://www.reddottours.com/sri-lanka-holidays-accomodation-new-properties-more.htm.
    - dramirez, in 25 years
  • Chaaya Blu lights up Trinco

    http://www.chaayahotels.com/images/blulogo.png
    http://www.chaayahotels.com/images/logoun.jpg

    The blue and emerald waves juxtaposed against the surreal white of the famed Trinco sands form a picturesque backdrop to the newest resort under the John Keells Hotels umbrella, Chaaya Blu Trincomalee.

    Conceptualized by architect Channa Daswatte who was inspired by the esoteric James Bond tale Die Another Day, Chaaya Blu is about retro chic placed cleverly within the 1970s double arched architecture.

    With Sri Lanka possessing a relatively mature tourism industry by Asian standards John Keells Holdings Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunewardene said that for those who have been in the leisure industry for over three decades, ‘the East Coast has been an Eldorado in our very back yard.

    Therefore it is no surprise that with the dawn of peace, one of the first investment decisions taken by the John Keells Hotels group was towards ensuring our portfolio contained a resort of international standards in Trincomalee with the potential to become the most sought-after destination on this belt.

    Chaaya Blu Trincomalee will not only address the present dearth in quality star class rooms on the East Coast but by design, will introduce a new flavour to Sri Lankan resort accommodation as a whole.’

    Chaaya Blu was thus positioned to become the first resort off the mark in the reinvigorated East Coast.

    ‘We needed to do something fast, which meant reusing old resources but modernizing the concept,’ said Daswatte. “Aligning all this, I also thought of having some retro-fun with this old building, to be slightly off the wall,” he said.

    With fewer trees dotting the beach unlike on the southern coast which is made up of swaying palms, the design brings together the blue of the sea and the white of the sand, with a touch of orange denoting the sun. “Chaaya Blu encapsulates the ring of the hip and maybe those lost teenage retro years which we didn’t notice living through when we were growing up.

    It really was an energetic period and I want the resort to relive some of that,” he said.

    The whole feel is cool, easy, relaxing; from the mosaic walls to strategically placed disco balls in the foyer, to the cool interiors of the white rooms accessorized with white painted clay lamps and terra cotta tiles dipped in white paint for a touch of the Caribbean; polished cement beds with tie and dye and mosaic walls and Wetakeiya rugs and lots of denim complimenting the mid-century Scandinavian limed furniture. Executive Vice President Jayantissa Kehelpannala enthused about the broad white beaches and abundant marine life of Sri Lanka’s East Coast which are now steps away from the designer retro interiors of Chaaya Blu. He said, “This seaside retreat, with its superior rooms, beach chalets, restaurants and bars is an open invite to enjoy ‘the Blu’ to its fullest.

    Make the most of some of the best dive spots in Asia, go snorkeling around Pigeon Island, join a whale and dolphin watching expedition or visit our excursion counter at the hotel to embark on exciting and insightful tours in to the yet unexplored locality.”

    The four star Chaaya Blu with its eighty rooms including thirty six chalets and two suites combines a series of bleached wood decks that encircle the periphery of the resort, making up centralised spaces to enjoy the sun and sea.

    A timber boardwalk that protrudes across the reception and onto the beach and into the sea allows guests to gain an eyeful of Trincomalee’s unique landscape and brings to life the tru ‘Blu’ that seafarers of old were effusive about, a panorama that fills the eye and fulfills the senses.

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2010/05/04/bus23.asp
    - Amal, in 25 years
  • Colombo selected as venue for IIFA Awards 2010: Event expected to generate foreign exchange earnings of AED 207 million

    Posted: 05-05-2010 , 11:46 GMT

    Post-war Sri Lanka has witnessed a dramatic upsurge in the number of Middle East tourists by a phenomenal 106.1% in Q1 2010. This was announced on the second day of Arabian Travel Market by the Middle East office of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB).

    The strong growth is set to continue as Sri Lanka has just won the bid to host the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) awards night in Colombo this year.

    “Tourist arrivals from January to March 2010 registered a 106.1 per cent growth, more than double the same period last year,” observed Ms Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori, Middle East Director of SLTPB.

    Ms. Mansoori said: “Destination Sri Lanka attracted Middle East tourists with its easy accessibility of just four hours of flying time, with daily flights from most major airlines. UAE residents could fly to Colombo from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The biggest number of visitors from the Middle East travelled from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan.”

    She noted that Sri Lanka is gearing up to receive a further boost this year when the prestigious IIFA Awards is held in Colombo from June 3 to 5, 2010.

    The organizers of IIFA confirmed that Sri Lanka will host the IIFA 2010 event in Colombo at the Sugathadasa Stadium and the Cinnamon Grand hotel as the main venues selected to organize their main events by IIFA.

    In its efforts to promote a sense of brotherhood across nations, IIFA explores the uniqueness and authenticity of the host country and springboards a campaign to promote bonds between cinema lovers across the world and the host nation. IIFA promotes Tourism and awareness of the host country to the far corners of the world.

    A range of celebrities will also be taking part in a T- 20 Cricket Match organized for the general public with the Asian cricketers who will be in Sri Lanka to participate for the Asia cup and this will attract large number of cinema and sports lovers and will create vibrant media exposure.

    An exclusive fashion show is a part of the IIFA itinerary the idea behind the whole event is to show case the latest talent in the Indian industry while giving a prominent exposure to the local models and the designers who are anticipating for international a platform to showcase their talent.

    IIFA Awards are expected to generate foreign exchange earnings of AED 207 million and around 800,000 guest nights. The expected direct economic impact of the event is AED 55 million based on calculations from previous host destinations.

    Worldwide, Sri Lanka recorded an average growth of 50.3 per cent increase in tourism during the first quarter this year compared to the same period in 2009.

    “With peace finally dawning on Sri Lanka after years of ethnic strife, more areas previously inaccessible have now opened up for tourism operation,” Ms Al Mansoori remarked.

    Some of the factors that draw modern day Arab travellers to their preferred destinations are cultural attractions, entertainment, shopping, and dining. Sri Lanka offers a good product those scores on all counts.

    Government’s support for the tourism sector and expansion of low-cost carrier services are the main contributing factors to the growth of the tourism industry.

    http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/UAE/315830
    - Amal, in 25 years
  • Sri Lanka April tourist arrivals up 47 percent

    2010-05-06 09:22

    COLOMBO, May 6 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped by 47 percent in April compared to a year earlier boosted by the end of a 25-year civil war.

    Tourism board data showed on Thursday that arrivals have risen for 11 straight months since the end of the war in May last year and were up 23.4 percent during the June 2009 to April 2010 period compared to a year earlier.

    The hotel and travel index on the Colombo Stock Exchange has almost tripled since the war's end, outpacing the rise in the overall index, which has doubled since then.

    Tourism is one of the main foreign exchange earners of the $42 billion economy along with remittances, garments, and tea. Tourism revenue was $350 million in 2009.

    EARNINGS FROM TOURISM JUMPED 49 PERCENT IN THE FIRST TWO months in this year to $95.1 million, the central bank's latest data showed. Sri Lanka is targeting 2.5 million arrivals and $2 billion in earnings by 2016.

    http://www.iii.co.uk/news/?type=afxnews&articleid=7878416&action=article
    - Amal, in 25 years
  • http://www.eturbonews.com/14848/sri-lanka-tourism-reaches-dizzying-heights-last-months

    While February has always been the peak month of the Sri Lankan Tourism calendar, this year it is not only the increase in numbers but also the relative increase in yields that is noteworthy. For many years during the conflict, hoteliers had to resort to discounting to fill their rooms, but not so this year. Hence earnings from tourism should also show a healthy increase.

    Several hotels reported 100 percent occupancy levels for the month, no mean feat under any circumstances. Resorts in the Negombo area had the highest overall occupancies of close to 90 percent occupancy, while most of the other areas also recorded a very high occupancy levels. In fact, there was a considerable overbooking in resort areas, and many hotels have now suspended forward sales for the next few months in an effort to manage the situation.

    All markets show healthy increases for the month, with western Europe (71.7 percent YOY increase), Middle East (127.4 percent), east Asia (93.7 percent), and south Asia (66.6 percent) leading the growth.

    Hence, as expected, 2010 has got off to a flying start with the first two months having 108,057 arrivals compared to 72,637 last year for the same period, a 49 percent increase.

    In preparation for the next winter season (which is expected to be very good), several hotels have already planned refurbishing activities during the forthcoming summer months from May to October 2010. Information collected by the Tourist Hotels Association indicates that close to 1,000 rooms will be temporarily "out of stock" due to refurbishing/upgrading activities in several leading resort hotels. In the Negombo region alone, there will be refurbishing activities in Club Hotel Dolphin, Blue Oceanic Hotel, Sea Shells Hotel, and Goldi Sands Hotel. Other hotels undergoing various forms of upgrading/refurbishing are Airport Garden, Taj exotica, The Blue Water, Cinnamon Grand, Mt. Lavania, Club Oceanic, Palm Garden, Riverina, Coral Sands, Hotel Sigiriya, Cinnamon Lodge, Berjaya, and Saman Villas. It is estimated that close upon Rs 3.0 Bn will be spent on refurbishing and upgrading the product according to the survey.

    This is indeed a very good sign. The Sri Lankan Hotel product has over the years lost out to its regional competition, because everyone was in a survival mode, not having surplus cash to plow back for refurbishing/upgrading activities. With price revisions in the offing, it is imperative, therefore, that the product offering is improved to guard against the destination losing its "value for money" proposition.

    However, it also noteworthy that it is mostly the larger hotels that are taking this initiative. With much larger stakes in the industry and more "corporate muscle," they have better access to capital than most of the SME sector. The SME sector comprises almost 60 percent or more of the THASL membership, and it is this sector that needs urgent support right now. The government needs to come out with an urgent short-term plan to help refurbishing of hotels by way of incentives, including duty-free imports of capital items for refurbishing and also some form of preferential interest bearing loans for the SME sector.
    - mrpanini, in 25 years
  • Sri Lanka hotels eyed by Thailand's Minor: report

    May 08, 2010 (LBO) - Bangkok-based Minor International is looking to buy or build beach resorts in Sri Lanka, after the island emerged from a 30-year war and prospects for tourism brightened, a media report said.

    Minor, which runs 'Anantara' branded hotels is Thailand's biggest hotel and fast food chain operator.

    "We are now more optimistic about the potential in Sri Lanka," Chief Executive Officer William Heinecke was quoted as saying by Bloomberg newswires while on visit to Sri Lanka.

    "Our focus is around the Indian Ocean, and we do have a substantial budget approved for expanding. We see good returns in Sri Lanka."

    Minor is building its fourth resort in the Maldives. In 2007, Minor bought 20 percent of Sri Lanka's Serendib Hotels.

    Heinecke said they were considering investing in properties in the southern and eastern coasts.

    Following the end of the war with Tamil Tiger separatists, interest has been renewed especially in Sri Lanka's east coast, parts of which was under Tiger control during the war.

    Minor also operates hotels in Thailand under the Marriott and Four Seasons brands and runs Thai franchises for Burger King Swensens, Pizza Company and Coffee Club.

    Bloomberg quoted Heinecke as saying that "preliminary discussions" were held on developing restaurant brands.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=815484150
    - Amal, in 25 years
  • Sri Lanka records world's highest growth in tourism

    Sri Lanka has topped another list by recording the highest growth in tourist arrivals during the first two months of 2010.

    An interim report of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) lists Sri Lanka with a 50 percent growth in tourist arrivals among 77 countries that have reported international arrivals data so far.

    The report states that Sri Lanka outperformed 23 other countries with double-digit growth rates. Saudi Arabia was ranked second (+45%) with Israel ranking 3rd (+37%), while Vietnam (+36%) at the 4th place and Nepal (+30%) fifth, Sri Lanka News Network reported.

    http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20100510_07
    - Amal, in 26 years
  • Sri Lanka to offer boat tours in Mahaweli reservoirs for tourists

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/113/311052757_7eae8a1bcb.jpg

    Sun, May 9, 2010, 12:21 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    May 08, Colombo: Very soon the tourists to Sri Lanka will be able to take boat rides in the scenic Mahaweli reservoirs in the country's hill region.

    According to Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva boat tours will be started in Victoria, Kothmale, and Maduru Oya reservoirs of the Mahaweli irrigation zone.

    The program will be started from the Randenigala reservoir for a nominal fee, a Mahaweli authority official said.

    Entry to the areas of those reservoirs were forbidden for public during the armed conflict and now the country has gained peace the government plans to rake in some revenue from the scenic beauty in those areas and the wild life in the Victoria-Randenigala sanctuary.

    The Minister has instructed the Mahaweli Authority to work in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Navy to initiate the program.

    The Ministry also has directed the officials to take measures to operate a luxury bus services to the reservoir areas from star class hotels in Kandy, Dambulla and Polonnaruwa areas to facilitate the visits by foreign and local tourists.

    http://www.colombopage.com/archive_10A/May09_1273344710CH.php
    - Amal, in 27 years
  • :applause::applause::applause:

    SRI LANKA RECORDS WORLD'S HIGHEST GROWTH IN TOURISM
    COLOMBO, May 10 (NNN-GOVT PORTAL) -- Sri Lanka has topped another list by recording the highest growth in tourist arrivals during the first two months of 2010, PRIU reported.

    An interim report of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) lists Sri Lanka with a 50 percent growth in tourist arrivals among 77 countries that have reported international arrivals data so far.

    The report states that Sri Lanka outperformed 23 other countries with double-digit growth rates. Saudi Arabia was ranked second ( 45%) with Israel ranking 3rd ( 37%), while Vietnam ( 36%) at the 4th place and Nepal ( 30%) fifth, Sri Lanka News Network reported.

    In 2009, South Asia, with nearly ten million arrivals, accounted for only 1.1 percent of international tourist arrivals. In the same year South Asia earned $15 billion in receipts from tourism with Sri Lanka earning $350 million. Maldives earned $590 million while India had the highest earning of $10.6 billion for the same period.

    Marketed as Asia’s most treasured island, Sri Lanka’s diverse attractions have long been a favorite of European tourists. More recently the country has been heavily wooing Indian, Arabic and Chinese travelers as well.

    Tourism is currently the fourth foreign exchange earner of the country, behind foreign remittances, apparel and tea.

    According to Sri Lanka Tourist Board statistics the employment generation is over 150,000 and with the current arrival trend this is expected to shoot up to 600,000 by 2016. With the average tourist arrivals which is around 425,000 to bring in a revenue around US $450 million.

    Sri Lanka is hosting several international events such as Indian International Film Awards, Pacific Asia Travel meeting and Asia Cup Cricket which will definitely see an influx of tourist arrivals in the country this year, the PRIU added. http://namnewsnetwork.org/v2/read.php?id=119838
    - hakz2007, in 27 years
  • Charms of Chaaya now in Trinco

    Painting a canvas of serene blues and pure whites with a touch of the orange of the rising sun, Chaaya Blu Trincomalee, opened its doors yesterday on the white sands of the East Coast.

    The very first four-star resort on the East Coast, Chaaya Blu was also a first investment decision by the John Keells Hotels Group with the dawning of peace last year.

    With its retro-chic 1970s double arched architecture inspired by the James Bond movie, ‘Die Another Day’, Chaaya Blu was conceptualised by master architect Channa Daswatte who wanted to complement the unique landscape of Trincomalee rather than simply add yet another resort onto the horizon.

    Deputy Chairman of John Keells Holdings Ajit Gunewardene says, “This ‘70s property now revamped as a stylish retro-chic product will also set trends in modern resort interiors being outside the typical Sri Lankan resort design. Despite the uniqueness of its design, what the hotel truly promotes is an exploration of its surroundings; from the scenic white beaches to the popular sites, flavours and culture of the locality.”

    Daswatte says he wanted to have some retro-fun with the old building and went “slightly off the wall!” Given that Trincomalee’s landscape has fewer trees complemented by a sea that transforms from emerald to turquoise depending on the time of day, he has brought in the ambience of easy relaxation.

    Take in the mosaic walls in the foyer; the cool interiors of the white rooms with their white painted clay lamps and terra cotta tiles dipped in white paint for a touch of the Caribbean; polished cement beds with tie and dye drapes, mosaic walls and wetakeiya rugs and lots of denim complimenting the mid-century Scandinavian limed furniture.

    The design encompasses the unparalleled view of the sea from anywhere in the resort – from the bar, the restaurant, the combination of bleached wood decks that encircle the resort or the centralised spaces where wining and dining is mandatory.

    There’s even a beach bar built around a Banyan Tree which overlooks Swami Rock and a timber deck that stretches from the reception, all the way to the beach and out into the sea to create an infinite panorama. Chaaya Blu has 80 rooms including 36 beach chalets and two suites and is positioned as a resort, “Where Great Stories Begin” – this theme realized in an abundance of experiences, excursions and explorations whether on land or sea.

    Yet another raison d’etre that makes Chaaya Blu special is the abundant sightings of Blue Whales. Executive Vice President Jayantissa Kehelpannala opines that the broad white beaches and abundant marine offerings of the East Coast, not forgetting that the discovery of great blue whales in Trincomalee is a further tribute to the amazing diversity of Sri Lankan tourism.

    "We take pride in bearing witness to this and launching a resort of the calibre of Chaaya Blu, a first of its kind on the East Coast, within a mere year of gaining peace in Sri Lanka.”

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100516/Plus/plus_20.html
    - Amal, in 27 years
  • ^^ a pic of Chaaya Blu, Trincomalee

    http://www.srilankanexpeditions.com/images/upload/mainnew_copy34.jpg

    any better pics ?
    - Fusionist, in 27 years
  • Tourists Return to Paradise Isle a Year After War’s End

    By Amantha Perera

    COLOMBO, May 17, 2010 (IPS) - A year since Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war ended on May 18 last year, tourists are returning in huge numbers to a popular beach destination located over 300 kilometres from where the last battles were fought.

    Nowhere is the relief at the end of fighting more tangible than on the beautiful beaches of Hikkaduwa, south of the capital Colombo.

    The war against the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, fighting for a separate state for the minority Tamils, cost over 70,000 lives in over two and half decades and sent over 280,000 fleeing for their lives in its final phase.

    Hikkaduwa, famous for its coral reef, sandy beaches and swanky hotels, is on the rebound. Visitors who abandoned the sun and the beach when bombs started going off have begun to return.

    The best days may be still ahead of this famous tourist destination south of the capital Colombo. Already, it is bracing itself for huge arrivals during the next European winter season.

    Arrivals grew by an impressive 50 percent or an increase to 160,000 from 106,000 in the first quarter of 2010, compared to 2009, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, the government agency that monitors tourist arrivals. This year, the island known for its scenic beauty expects over half a million tourist arrivals, making 2010 one of the best seasons in the last half a decade.

    "We saw very good arrival rates this season (between November 2009 and April 2010)," Siri Goonewardene, president of the Hikkaduwa Hoteliers’ Association, told IPS. "With the war no more, travellers feel safer visiting here and there were no unexpected security-related incidents that would have driven them away."

    The general manager of Coral Sands, a 75-room luxury hotel on the Hikkaduwa beach, expects better results later this year when the next winter season starts. "The bookings have been good. If the trend continues the next season will be definitely better than this one," says Goonewardene.

    He adds that operators expect about a 50 percent growth in arrivals next season. The upbeat assessment is shared by operators who run smaller hotels and restaurants and others who depend on the tourist trade.

    "This season was good. We had a high number of visitors," says Dhammika Silva, who runs a small hotel at Mirissa, a cove-like beach south of Hikkaduwa.

    He depends on individual tourists who visit the Mirissa area as his business is too small to tie up with tour operators. "I needed more people on the beach having a good time to make ends meet. This time it happened."

    The same is true of Nimal, who sells traditional woodcarvings from a small shop near the beach. "We had a very good season. I made some good sales," adds Nimal, who simply identified himself by his first name.

    These hopes for a bumper tourist season are a far cry from the beach operators’ downcast mood less than 18 months back. With the war raging in the north, by the time the winter season began in November 2008, arrivals were sliding.

    With earnings going down, in 2008, tourism fell to number six in the country’s top foreign revenue earners from the fourth slot, accounting only for 2.8 percent of the gross national product.

    The industry supports a large workforce, much of it informal. According to a labour survey conducted by the Sri Lanka Census and Statistics Department in 2007, over 100,000 were employed in the trade, 56 percent of whom were informal employees.

    It was the informal employees that felt the pinch when arrivals kept going down without the security of at least a small wage packet. In early 2009, business operators like Nimal were complaining that they could not keep their shops open and at least pay the utilities. Some decided to close shop.

    The downturn in arrivals due to the war attracted low spenders to the island. Silva says that many tourists from Eastern Europe and Russia began arriving in Sri Lanka when the big spenders from Western Europe stayed away. "I have nothing against them. But these were budget travellers who travel through the region. They don’t spend much," he told IPS.

    Nimal concurs. "They are not the type who buy souvenirs, let alone expensive carvings, they will show up in the number of arrivals, but have no money." Goonewardene from Coral Sands warned that the high numbers should not be an indication that the industry has fully recovered. "When the numbers are analysed, we will see that there will not be a 50 percent increase in earnings corresponding to the increase in arrivals."

    He says the government should launch an aggressive public relations campaign to attract high-end spenders and give incentives like tax breaks to the industry.

    The new government that took office last month has brought tourism under the purview of the Economic Development Ministry, which has been tasked with accelerating development.

    It is an indication that tourism is to be a vital component in the new economic plans.

    "It is good that the government is showing signs of making tourism part of the bigger national plans. Whoever invests in tourism now will be making a lot of money come next season if we make the right decisions," Silva told IPS.

    http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=51458
    - Amal, in 27 years
  • During my recent trip to Srilanka, I had to pay min US $ 20 per person as entry fee in almost all the places, which amounts to approx. INR 900 or SLR 2300. For our family of 3 adult persons, I spent total approx. US $ 2000 only on entry fees. This is very much on the higher side for a tourist to feel comfortable. My friends and their families were also with us totalling to 11 members and the total spend was almost US $ 7000.(only on entry fees)

    When I complained, I was asked to report to the SL Tourism Board, which I am planning to do.

    To attract tourists from India and other SAARC countries, SLTB can have a reduced entry fee. In Kandy Buddha's Tooth Relic Temple, people of SAARC countrues are charged only SLR 300 per person.
    - kannan infratech, in 28 years
  • During my recent trip to Srilanka, I had to pay min US $ 20 per person as entry fee in almost all the places, which amounts to approx. INR 900 or SLR 2300. For our family of 3 adult persons, I spent total approx. US $ 2000 only on entry fees. This is very much on the higher side for a tourist to feel comfortable. My friends and their families were also with us totalling to 11 members and the total spend was almost US $ 7000.(only on entry fees)

    When I complained, I was asked to report to the SL Tourism Board, which I am planning to do.

    To attract tourists from India and other SAARC countries, SLTB can have a reduced entry fee. In Kandy Buddha's Tooth Relic Temple, people of SAARC countrues are charged only SLR 300 per person.

    Well this always used to be the case for foreigners even in 1994 to enter Sigiriya its was around SLR 500 for a foreigner, so I suppose SLR 2300 entry fees in 2010 sounds plausible. You should have booked a holiday package which included all the sites you were planning to visit it would have been cheaper in that case.

    Although I think a reduced fee should be applicable for tourists from SAARC nations, provided that this works both ways!!
    - Chariya, in 28 years
  • During my recent trip to Srilanka, I had to pay min US $ 20 per person as entry fee in almost all the places, which amounts to approx. INR 900 or SLR 2300. For our family of 3 adult persons, I spent total approx. US $ 2000 only on entry fees. This is very much on the higher side for a tourist to feel comfortable. My friends and their families were also with us totalling to 11 members and the total spend was almost US $ 7000.(only on entry fees)

    When I complained, I was asked to report to the SL Tourism Board, which I am planning to do.

    To attract tourists from India and other SAARC countries, SLTB can have a reduced entry fee. In Kandy Buddha's Tooth Relic Temple, people of SAARC countrues are charged only SLR 300 per person.

    Firstly i'd like to start off with averge wages in sri lanka is over two times that of india, maintaining/ providing seucrity does'nt come cheap. also this is an industry its there to make profit. it not a non profit voluntee run orgnisation. i'm sure they market thier prices very competively, and make thier bussiness much more productive and profitable.

    But i do agree that this price may not be affordable for manny indians, or even other SAARC nations expect for possibly the maldives.

    I guess we could make a 'speical' arangment for SAARC countries say reduce the fees, so we get high volumes of tourist. but thats not up to me. i'm sure they price thier fees based on supply/ demand, cost of productions et.c, to maintain themselfs highly profitable.

    Also spending $7000 USD for 11 people on holiday is more than resonable. couples spend upwards of $5000 USD on a good holiday.


    Although I think a reduced fee should be applicable for tourists from SAARC nations, provided that this works both ways!!

    Yes, but we cant make 'speical' arrangment to countries just becuase thier from SAARC. it is an industry, we need to maintain profitabilty. also SAARC countries is one of our biggest markets, based on current statisctics, there has been huge surge, in the number tourist, and turnover from SAARC countries, sri lanka currently has the fastest growing tourism industry, also one the fastest growing economies in the world. there is no sign of slowing down tell me that the fees are priced perfectly if not i'd say its too low.

    working bothways wont work for us, because not manny sri lankans dont vist SAARC countries expect for maldives, most the vists are for bussines purposes again expect for maldives. so having that sort of agreement would be sucide.
    - colomboexchange, in 28 years
  • During my recent trip to Srilanka, I had to pay min US $ 20 per person as entry fee in almost all the places, which amounts to approx. INR 900 or SLR 2300. For our family of 3 adult persons, I spent total approx. US $ 2000 only on entry fees. This is very much on the higher side for a tourist to feel comfortable. My friends and their families were also with us totalling to 11 members and the total spend was almost US $ 7000.(only on entry fees)

    When I complained, I was asked to report to the SL Tourism Board, which I am planning to do.

    To attract tourists from India and other SAARC countries, SLTB can have a reduced entry fee. In Kandy Buddha's Tooth Relic Temple, people of SAARC countrues are charged only SLR 300 per person.

    Common concern voiced by tourists which is quite reasonable (in my opinion).

    Tourists end up feeling ripped off, or feeling as if they have been treated unfairly.

    However, if I am not mistaken the two tier system is also used in several other countries. ie Thailand, Indonesia. Assumption is that the foreign tourist is richer than the locals, hence can afford a higher price.

    Agree with reduced entry fee for citizens of SAARC countries.

    $US 2000 sounds like an awful lot for entry fees for 3 people.

    Assuming you visited 10 places with entry fee of $20 for each = $200 (10x20) X 3 = $600

    Assuming you visited 20 places with entry fee of $20 for each = $400 (20x20) x 3 = $1200
    - Amal, in 28 years
  • Sri Lankans hit Tamil Tiger tourist trail

    By Mel Gunasekera (AFP) – 9 hours ago

    KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka — The wreckage left by a brutal war has created a new tourist trail in Sri Lanka just a year after the Tamil Tiger rebels were crushed by government forces.

    A giant water tower smashed to the ground is a star attraction for hundreds of people driving through the former war zone where the rebels once had their de facto capital.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jMPIKJD8RY_xPt8EucD2DEauMHGA
    - Amal, in 29 years
  • I agree, $2000 USD is a hell of a lot of money, you must have visited a lot of sites!

    My main problem with the pricing system is that the charge for some sites is extortionate compared to the quality of the exhibits. It's mainly the smaller museums which can be bypassed (e.g. Yapahuwa's small museum charges the equivalent of $8 for an extremely poor exhibit). Fair enough, I think Polonnaruwa/Anuradhapura, while a little costly is worth it because of the extent of the ruins and how fantastic some of them are. Sigiriya is somewhat known as really expensive (~ $25 per adult)...

    That being said, there are plenty of affordable sights which are better, Mihintale, Peradeniya and even Pinnawela is much more affordable.

    And yes, two-tier pricing is used quite widely across Asia.

    However, in both Bangladesh, Nepal and some sights in India, we were offered a nice SAARC discount.

    Also, this is very objective but $5000 USD is a lot of money to spend on a couples holiday... at least for me :D
    - dramirez, in 29 years
  • yes I think the entry fee for SAARC nations to touristic sites be made more affordable. I do think there already is a system in place, ie. reduced fee for SAARC tourists in Sri Lanka. For example in Galle Fort Museums etc. I think they need be made applicable to all tourist sites.
    - Fusionist, in 30 years
  • yes I think the entry fee for SAARC nations to touristic sites be made more affordable. I do think there already is a system in place, ie. reduced fee for SAARC tourists in Sri Lanka. For example in Galle Fort Museums etc. I think they need be made applicable to all tourist sites.

    why?? r u crazy? currently tourist from south asia our biggest market is booming well into the double digit figures, that is a sign saying that the prices perfect if not, not high enough.

    we'r not going to reduce our turnover, and make our companies less profitable just because thier south asian.:lol::lol:

    possibly once this forward momentum starts to slow down, and get to high single digit growths, than maybe would try reducing the fees to increase the volomes of tourist, in order to maintain double digit turnover growth. the turnover must always be increasing no matter what, sort of structure u decide to take.

    but right now, the answer to your question will we reduce the fees. the answer is a big fat and firm NOOOOO.

    will be reduce the fees in the future, possibly, but still unlikely.

    Also may i add,

    will there a be a speical arrangment for SAARC nations, answer " NOO" wll there be in the future " possibly" but unlikely.
    and hope not. there should'nt be speical arrangment for SAARC countries, cos u could say that would be racist.
    - colomboexchange, in 30 years
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    - Amal, in 30 years
  • Sri Lanka: Once off-limits areas are reopening to tourists

    Foreign correspondent Peter Popham returns to discover how much has changed since the civil war ended

    http://www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00378/4974676_378105s.jpg
    Golden wonder: The beach resort of Nilaveli is on the brink of a boom

    Saturday, 22 May 2010

    You can rarely drive more than a couple of blocks in Colombo before a soldier extends an arm to your taxi or tuk-tuk, and subjects car and driver to a security check. So far, so familiar: moving around the Sri Lankan capital has been like this for years. The difference now is that the soldiers generally have smiles on their faces as you pull up. And when they see that the passenger is a tourist, as often as not they send you on your way with a laconic wave.

    The checkpoints and the razor wire are still in place, but with its long civil war slipping into the past, Sri Lanka is slowly getting back to normal. No war since the crushing of Nazi Germany was finished off so decisively as this one, with the Tamil Tiger leadership slaughtered in a final showdown last May in a mangrove swamp on the north-east coast. And however fierce the lingering controversy about war crimes and the fate of Tamil civilians caught in the middle, it's wonderful what removing the threat of suicide bombs can do for a nation's mood.

    If the difference peace makes is subtle, that's because even at its height the war never closed Sri Lanka down. It never destroyed the things about the island that visitors love most: the glorious beaches of the south and west, the tea estates and the rolling hill country, and even the great archaeological site of Anuradhapura towards the north.

    The advent of peace has done little to change the appeal of places on the well-trodden tourist itinerary: the main difference is that they will become more crowded.

    But what it does mean is that visitors who love Sri Lanka, and who have perhaps been several times before, can now raise their eyes, unfold their maps and plot journeys to corners that have long been out of bounds.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/asia/sri-lanka-once-offlimits-areas-are-reopening-to-tourists-1979651.html
    - Amal, in 30 years
  • Sri Lankan Tourism Authority launches Rooms in Homes project

    Saturday, 22 May 2010 - 10:12 AM SL Time

    Fifteen guest houses have been set up without any help in Jaffna soon after the end of terrorism up to now. This is a healthy sign for the development of tourism in Jaffna, a senior tourism official said.

    Small and medium hoteliers have far more greater potential to increase tourist arrivals as the country is opened for tourism. Households are encouraged to provide accommodation to tourists in Jaffna and other tourist destinations.

    Rooms in Homes project will provide opportunities for households to accommodate tourists and earn an income.

    The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority having understood the need is now conducting the Rooms in Homes project to assist interested people to bring more business opportunities to the country.

    Sri Lanka at present has only 14,600 hotel room facilities and this will give an attractive supplementary accommodation by encouraging households to provide accommodation for tourists.

    The Government understood this as a timely need to support them in what they need, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Director General S. Kalaiselvam told Daily News Business. An advertisement about the project was displayed in November last year to which 300 houseowners have responded by now.

    Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has already registered 82 house room providers.

    Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority will market the product of Rooms in Homes by linking them with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority s corporate website.

    An accommodation guide will be given to tourists providing them information on accommodation in these houses.

    It is expected to conduct this project all over the island covering even North and East areas. However, a minimal participation was shown in Jaffna compared with the other districts for the project, he said.

    http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2010/5/56755.html
    - Amal, in 30 years
  • Nice article, but I still believe a comprehensive media awareness campaign should be started globally now and not in 2011 or later...I can't comprehend the logic behind preparing a campaign, like "Visit Sri Lanka 2011"...we want and need foreign travellers to spend their vacation here and spend valuable foreign exchange...time is precious and the more time we waste by not positioning our country on the global tourist/holiday map again, the more money is lost by the industry stakeholders that have already had to sacrifice and undergo so much in the past...
    - phil.froelich, in 30 years
  • Colombo selected as venue for IIFA Awards 2010: Event expected to generate foreign exchange earnings of AED 207 million

    Posted: 05-05-2010 , 11:46 GMT

    Post-war Sri Lanka has witnessed a dramatic upsurge in the number of Middle East tourists by a phenomenal 106.1% in Q1 2010. This was announced on the second day of Arabian Travel Market by the Middle East office of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB).

    The strong growth is set to continue as Sri Lanka has just won the bid to host the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) awards night in Colombo this year.

    “Tourist arrivals from January to March 2010 registered a 106.1 per cent growth, more than double the same period last year,” observed Ms Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori, Middle East Director of SLTPB.

    Ms. Mansoori said: “Destination Sri Lanka attracted Middle East tourists with its easy accessibility of just four hours of flying time, with daily flights from most major airlines. UAE residents could fly to Colombo from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The biggest number of visitors from the Middle East travelled from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan.”

    She noted that Sri Lanka is gearing up to receive a further boost this year when the prestigious IIFA Awards is held in Colombo from June 3 to 5, 2010.

    The organizers of IIFA confirmed that Sri Lanka will host the IIFA 2010 event in Colombo at the Sugathadasa Stadium and the Cinnamon Grand hotel as the main venues selected to organize their main events by IIFA.

    In its efforts to promote a sense of brotherhood across nations, IIFA explores the uniqueness and authenticity of the host country and springboards a campaign to promote bonds between cinema lovers across the world and the host nation. IIFA promotes Tourism and awareness of the host country to the far corners of the world.

    A range of celebrities will also be taking part in a T- 20 Cricket Match organized for the general public with the Asian cricketers who will be in Sri Lanka to participate for the Asia cup and this will attract large number of cinema and sports lovers and will create vibrant media exposure.

    An exclusive fashion show is a part of the IIFA itinerary the idea behind the whole event is to show case the latest talent in the Indian industry while giving a prominent exposure to the local models and the designers who are anticipating for international a platform to showcase their talent.

    IIFA Awards are expected to generate foreign exchange earnings of AED 207 million and around 800,000 guest nights. The expected direct economic impact of the event is AED 55 million based on calculations from previous host destinations.

    Worldwide, Sri Lanka recorded an average growth of 50.3 per cent increase in tourism during the first quarter this year compared to the same period in 2009.

    “With peace finally dawning on Sri Lanka after years of ethnic strife, more areas previously inaccessible have now opened up for tourism operation,” Ms Al Mansoori remarked.

    Some of the factors that draw modern day Arab travellers to their preferred destinations are cultural attractions, entertainment, shopping, and dining. Sri Lanka offers a good product those scores on all counts.

    Government’s support for the tourism sector and expansion of low-cost carrier services are the main contributing factors to the growth of the tourism industry.

    http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/UAE/315830


    I KNOW ITS GUD FOR OUR ECONOMY, but does any of u really care about this Indian film awards in Sri lanka ?:lol:
    - tig, in 30 years
  • This is a grand opportunity, I think its important to work together with India, because we can benefit greatly from their international exposure and booming economy...I don't understand why there is prejudice against Indians here sometimes...
    - phil.froelich, in 30 years
  • I KNOW ITS GUD FOR OUR ECONOMY, but does any of u really care about this Indian film awards in Sri lanka ?:lol:

    Well tig are you able to come up with anything better?? We should be glad that we are hosting this.. I seriously think we are lucky to get this our way and am sure Jacqueline has had some sort of influence in this happening.. whatever said and done that woman has done her part!!

    Although I hate Hindi movies and its pisses me off when I see them all over our Sri Lankan channels when opportunities like this come our way we should grab them with both hands and feet!!
    - Chariya, in 30 years
  • Well tig are you able to come up with anything better?? We should be glad that we are hosting this.. I seriously think we are lucky to get this our way and am sure Jacqueline has had some sort of influence in this happening.. whatever said and done that woman has done her part!!

    Although I hate Hindi movies and its pisses me off when I see them all over our Sri Lankan channels when opportunities like this come our way we should grab them with both hands and feet!!

    well it is a big move for India also. India is desparate to woo some popularity amongst its neighbours, and one thing that they use is Bollywood, and Indian cuisine. India is equally desparat to host such events in the neighbourhood, given that China is hosting education programmes, and espanding more business ties in Sri Lanka.

    So Sri Lanka doesnt 'have' to grab it with both hands and feet ! Its simply a win-win cultural exchange programme that benefits both the countries. ;)
    - Fusionist, in 30 years
  • This is a grand opportunity, I think its important to work together with India, because we can benefit greatly from their international exposure and booming economy...I don't understand why there is prejudice against Indians here sometimes...

    loool booming economy. i would'nt call india having a booming economy. their growth rates collopse to below zero after recording growth rates in the rage of 6-7%.
    the avg growth rate of india is around 2%, while sri lanka has around 6%.
    look at IMF recorded growth rates for india past 60 years. u'll see india connot have stability.
    - colomboexchange, in 30 years
  • well it is a big move for India also. India is desparate to woo some popularity amongst its neighbours, and one thing that they use is Bollywood, and Indian cuisine. India is equally desparat to host such events in the neighbourhood, given that China is hosting education programmes, and espanding more business ties in Sri Lanka.

    So Sri Lanka doesnt 'have' to grab it with both hands and feet ! Its simply a win-win cultural exchange programme that benefits both the countries. ;)

    I know what you are saying.. but am sure we have the upper hand on this one!
    - Chariya, in 31 years
  • This is a grand opportunity, I think its important to work together with India, because we can benefit greatly from their international exposure and booming economy...I don't understand why there is prejudice against Indians here sometimes...

    +1000000000000000
    - Indian Rockstars, in 31 years
  • U.S. State Dept lifts travel warning on Sri Lanka

    updated 9:39 a.m. ET May 27, 2010

    WASHINGTON - The State Department announced Wednesday it had canceled a travel warning for Sri Lanka, in a boost for the Indian Ocean island state that ended a long war last year and hopes to draw more tourists.

    The end of the travel warning comes just over a year after Sri Lanka declared victory over the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) following 27 years of civil war.

    The LTTE had not staged any attacks in the capital Colombo or elsewhere in Sri Lanka since then, the State Department said in a statement.

    Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris is scheduled to hold talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington Friday. (Reporting by Paul Eckert; Editing by Eric Walsh)

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37367235/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/



    Sri Lanka welcomes end to US travel warning

    (AFP) – 7 hours ago

    COLOMBO — Sri Lanka on Thursday welcomed the lifting of a US warning against travel to the Indian Ocean island, anticipating a boost to tourism and investment a year after a bloody civil war ended.

    "This is something we have been looking forward to," tourism bureau chief Dileep Mudadeniya said. "It will have a knock-on effect on (travel) insurance rates and also encourage more business travel from the West."

    The US announcement came soon after the first anniversary of the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels in a brutal military offensive that finally ended the guerrillas' separatist campaign after 37 years of war.

    The conflict claimed up to 100,000 lives, according to United Nations estimates.

    The US State Department said in a statement that it had "cancelled the Travel Warning for Sri Lanka due to improvements in safety and security conditions throughout the country".

    Tourists were not directly targeted even during the worst of fighting between troops and Tamil Tigers, but the violence seriously affected the island's image.

    The tourism industry is now staging a dramatic revival. The number of holidaymakers arriving in the four months to April this year rose nearly 50 percent from a year earlier to just under 200,000.

    The industry is hoping to attract 2.5 million visitors by 2016, up from 447,890 in 2009. It is also hoping to earn two billion dollars annually in tourist revenue by 2016, up from 350 million dollars last year.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jrGi88AmnyYos3r8zaPxdoYcSa8A
    - Amal, in 31 years
  • Sri Lanka is a very beautiful country!
    I like to visit the ancient rock fortress and palace of Sigiriya!
    If anybody was there, i like to have some information!
    - indochinas, in 31 years
  • Sri Lanka - Colombo hotels gear up for IIFA

    The city is well prepared for the Indian Film Awards (IIFA) to be held this week, said Colombo City Tourist Hotels Association (CCTHA) President, M. Shanthikumar.

    Hotels in Colombo would make available 650 rooms-nights per day, on a bed and breakfast basis and 148 suites on a full-board basis, which would amount to a total of 2,600 room-nights, for the period of the glitzy IIFA.

    Due to the magnitude of this event, the hotels have also taken the additional step of releasing some of their members to assist the organizers in the varied arrangements, he said to the Island.

    "There is no doubt this mega event will be a big boost to the Tourism Industry and the contribution of the 2,600 room-nights will not only benefit the City Hotels, but the tourism industry in general creating an awareness and boosting the image of the country, by giving tremendous exposure," he said.

    "India has become one of the largest tourist markets in recent times and this prestigious event, would definitely enhance future arrivals and with its vast potential, Sri Lanka would benefit immensely, even by a small increase.

    http://www.isria.com/pages/31_May_2010_46.php
    - Amal, in 31 years
  • Indian tourist arrivals up

    Charumini de SILVA

    The number of tourist arrivals from India have increased rapidly during the first quarter of this year.

    There is over 75 percent increase on Indian tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during the first four months of this year, Colombo City, Hoteliers Association Vice President, Amal Gunathilake said at a press briefing yesterday.

    She said that Sri Lanka has a great opportunity to attract more Indian visitors in the coming years through hosting the Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) awards. Colombo city hotels have given 20 percent of their luxury rooms for celebrities who will participate at the event as a compliment.

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2010/06/01/bus03.asp
    - Amal, in 31 years
  • Indian tourist arrivals up

    Colombo city hotels have given 20 percent of their luxury rooms for celebrities who will participate at the event as a compliment.

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2010/06/01/bus03.asp

    given for free? surely cant be right.:lol:
    - Marilyn schell, in 31 years
  • Amal,

    Thanks for posting this article. It looks like homes for rent in Sri Lanka (http://srilankahouserental.com/homes-for-rent-in-sri-lanka.php) are really going to start popping up quite soon! Hopefully the US Travel advisory lift will let people know how safe Sri Lanka really is now!
    - SriLankaHouseRental, in 31 years
  • Sri Lanka May tourist arrivals jump 42 percent

    COLOMBO, June 4 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped by 42.3 percent in May compared to a year earlier, boosted by the end of the country's 25-year civil war, tourism board data showed on Friday.

    Arrivals have risen for 12 straight months since the end of the war in May last year, and were up 31.2 percent in the June 2009-May 2010 period compared to a year earlier.

    The hotel and travel index on the Colombo Stock Exchange has almost tripled since the war's end, outpacing the rise in the overall stock index, which has more than doubled since then.

    Tourism is one of the main foreign exchange earners of the $42 billion economy along with remittances, garments, and tea. The revenue from tourism was $350 million in 2009.

    • EARNINGS FROM TOURISM JUMPED 68.8 PERCENT IN THE FIRST FOUR months in this year to $174.9 million, the central bank's latest data showed. Sri Lanka is targeting 2.5 million arrivals and $2 billion in earnings by 2016.

    http://www.iii.co.uk/news/?type=afxnews&articleid=7927378&subject=economic&action=article
    - Amal, in 32 years
  • Hy6FGhQs7n0
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    - saraprobe, in 32 years
  • Sri Lanka's Arugam Bay surfing paradise

    June 25, 2010 Arugam Bay, SRI LANKA (LBO) - Top professional surfers from around the world were at Sri Lanka's Arugam Bay, a small village in the eastern coast of the island which was limited to an adventurous few until now.

    "It is a fun wave," says Nat Young from USA, who shone at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) SriLankan Airlines Pro championship this week.

    ...SriLankan Airlines, the island's national carrier, who was the main sponsor of the championship, wants to make the Arugam Bay event a permanent fixture on the ASP circuit.

    "We first negotiated with them in 2004, but the war broke out and we shifted to the Maldives, because of the security situation," says SriLankan Airlines chief Manoj Gunewardena.

    "But now people can come here freely.

    "Our intention is to make this a high profile global event and over the next three years also encourage other corporate sponsors to come in."

    Lanka Sportreizen, a Sri Lankan inbound tour operator specializing in water and adventure sports who provided logistics support for the championship, believes the event has helped raise the profile of surfing in the island.

    "We would like to see more tourists coming here and both tourists and locals learning to surf," says Lanka Sportreizen chief Tilak Weerasinghe, himself a windsurfer who went on to form his own sport travel firm and training school.

    FULL STORY: http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=2091933058
    - Amal, in 33 years
  • Sri Lanka Ceylon Hotels Corp to upgrade hotels

    June 24, 2010 (LBO) - Ceylon Hotels Corporation, which has properties on prime locations throughout Sri Lanka, has lured a top executive from a big hotel group and plans to upgrade several hotels, a stock exchange filing said.

    The CHC, part of the Gale Face Hotel group, plans to spend 350-500 million rupees on the refurbishment, according to a decision by the firm’s board of directors Thursday.

    CHC’s Tissamaharama resthouse in the south is to be upgraded to a four-star level acceptable to tour operators while the Lihiniya Surf Hotel Bentota on the south-west coast will also be upgraded to a four-star level, it said.

    Both hotels are to be closed for refurbishment from July 15 and are expected to be re-launched by November 15 in time for the peak winter tourist season.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=194390352
    - Amal, in 33 years
  • Sri Lanka welcomes surfers as shadow of war recedes

    http://www.nation.lk/2010/06/27/main1.jpg
    The sun, sea and sand of picturesque Arugam Bay in the tourism lane come alive as Australian Julian Wilson, winner of the inaugural SriLankan Airlines Pro Surfing 2010 championship, is carried on the shoulders of two jubilant Aussie supporters last Thursday

    01:17 GMT, Sunday, 27 June 2010 02:17 UK

    Just over a year after the end of the long war between the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tiger rebels, the country has played host to its first surfing championship. And as the BBC's Charles Haviland discovered, both surfers and local residents hope it will not be the last.

    As dawn breaks over Arugam Bay, a fisherman casts his net into the lagoon near the long, low bridge that links the remote village to the rest of the country.

    By 0700, Arugam's other main industry is storming into life at the southern end of the beach.

    On the massive waves breaking in a blue-green sea, contestants in the Sri Lankan Airlines Pro Surf 2010 "surf their brains out", to quote one of the live commentators.

    They ride the waves in virtuoso performances, astonishingly staying upright - mostly.

    "Oh, and he's disappeared!" roars the Aussie commentator as a losing semi-finalist disappears into a wave that looks 20 feet tall.

    "Oh my gosh - just 40 seconds remaining - it was do or die - he had to roll the dice, had to have a go!"

    'Cool experience'

    By now there are just two surfers left, of the 128 that started a week earlier. The final winner is a 21-year-old Australian, Julian Wilson.

    Top-notch surfing - this is known as a six-star contest - has come to Sri Lanka and Wilson says he feels "unreal" to have won.

    "It's been such a cool experience over here," he tells the BBC.

    "The local people have taken such good care of us; the waves have been good every day," he says. He hopes to return next year.

    The locals of Arugam and Pottuvil, including groups of well-behaved schoolchildren and their teachers, have flocked to see the surfing.

    Early in the morning some clamber up the dunes for the best view.


    FULL STORY: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/south_asia/10425220.stm
    - Amal, in 33 years
  • July 10, 2010 (LBO) - Amaya Leisure, a firm connected to Sri Lanka's Vallibel group said it would invest 100 million US dollars in the next four years in four new hotels in an aggressive expansion to meet growing demand post-war demand in the island, an official said.
    "We intent completing all these projects before 2014," Amaya Leisure managing director Lalin Samarawickrama told a forum in Colombo organized by Acuity, an investment bank.

    "If we (Sri Lanka) are to reach 2,500,000 tourists, we need bedrooms. Amaya intends expanding to 1,000 bedrooms by 2014. That is our target."

    Last year 447,000 tourist came to Sri Lanka and 600,000 are expected this year. In June 2010 arrivals were up 48 percent following the end of a 30-year war in May 2009.

    Group Growth

    Amaya leisure started in 1981 as Connaissance, a tour operator, just before a 30-year ethnic war intensified sharply following ethic riots in 1983.

    In 1994 it build a chalet type hotel near Kandalama lake in central Sri Lanka. This was rebranded in 2005 as Amaya Lake and has 106 rooms and has been upgraded to 4-star standard.

    Samarawickrama said the group pioneered hotel branding in Sri Lanka, and was soon followed by Chaya and Cinnammon brands of John Keells group and Heritance of Aitken Spence.

    Amaya Hills in Sri Lanka's hill capital Kandy (formerly known as Le Kandyan) has also recently been refurbished to a 4-star standard with 104 rooms.
    In 2003 the group purchased a major stake in Hotel Reefcomber in Hikkaduwa in the southwest beach resort area and is now managing it under the brand Amaya Reef as a 3-star property. It also has a 50-room luxury property called The Fortress, in Galle on the south coast.

    Greenfield

    The firm is planning to put 90 million US dollars in to four new hotels, Samarawickrama said.

    Amaya Sands, in Wadduwa in the south western coast will be a 120 room hotel costing 15 million US dollars.

    "Foreign architects are finalizing the designs. The concept is there and hopefully by 2012 we should be able to put this out in to the market."

    In Negambo, north of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo the firm is planning a 30 million US dollar 200 room hotel on a 14-acre land, for which architectural designs are being finalized.

    In Kalpitiya, further north, it is planning a 30-room chalet type property estimated to cost 15 million US dollars on a 24 acre plot of land. The group is hoping to start on it by February 2011.

    Amaya is also planning a 20 million US dollar 200 room resort on a 10-acre land it owns in Mirissa, near Matara in the south coast of the island.

    "Development of the southern highway we feel that time of getting to places like Matara will be shortened," Samarawickrama.

    Expansion

    Amaya Leisure would also spend 10 million dollars expanding existing properties.

    Under the expansion Amaya Lake would get 25 rooms, a restaurant, Amaya Hills would get a 20-room luxury wing with heated swimming pools and Amaya Reef would get 10 more rooms pushing the total to 60 rooms.

    Colombo's Continental Hotel, now owned by listed Hayleys group has connections to Amaya through it key shareholder Dhammika Perera, who owns the Vallibel group. The group has grown after it came under Perera's control.

    "Continental is also on the verge of spending 10 million US dollars in reifurbishging the property. They have another 50 million dollar development in the back of the hotel to develop further bedrooms'.

    Amaya was also looking at Maldives, India and Oman, where companies like Aitken Spence already have a presence.

    Financing

    Samarawickrama said the group would hold at least 51 percent in the new hotels and see seek outside equity. Bank finance would be around 60 percent and the group was talking to banks to get dollar financing.

    "We are looking at the possibility of borrowing in foreign currency," Smarawickrama said. Current (rupee) rates are around 12 percent. The best solution would be to borrow in dollars."

    Dollar loans are less than half that. Sri Lanka's interest rates are high partly due to a lavishly spending government which borrows most of the peoples' savings for current spending.

    It is compounded by a soft pegged exchange rate central bank which monetizes debt from time to time or through part of the year and has to raise rates to very high levels to bring inflation down or to counter balance of payments problems, which are a consequence of soft pegs.

    High interest rate volatility found in soft-pegged central banking regime pushes borrowers towards foreign currency borrowings, especially in the anchor pegged currency such as the US dollar in Sri Lanka.
    - saraprobe, in 33 years
  • Tourist arrivals up 48% in June

    Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka increased by 48.4% during the first half of 2010 (January-June), with a total of 278,652 arrivals to the country in comparison to 187,729 arrivals during the same period last year (2009).

    The number of arrivals for the month of June 2010 was recorded as 44,730, which was an increase of 47.9%. In June 2009, the number was 30,234, according to the latest figures released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

    Figures showed an increase in the number of arrivals from South Asia, Western Europe, East Asia, North America, Australasia, Middle East, North America and Eastern Europe in the first half of 2010.


    http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/business/127-local/15333.html
    - Amal, in 33 years
  • Sri Lanka Jetwing upgrading two hotels, mulling new ones

    July 09, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Jetwing leisure group has is spending 1.3 billion rupees to expand and upgrade two hotels during this year and is evaluating other projects to meet a tourism boom after the end of a 30-year war, an official said.

    Jetwing operates a chain of 10 hotels around Sri Lanka made up of 530 rooms and it also has operations in Vietnam and Laos.

    Jetwing was putting 700 million rupees to Jetwing Blue, formerly Blue Oceanic Hotel in Negombo, north of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, which is scheduled to be completed by December.

    "We are completely repositioning the hotel, changing rooms, building new rooms," Jetwing hotels chief Hiran Cooray told a business forum in Colombo organized by Acuity, an investment bank.

    "It will have a conference banquet facility to cater to 500 people."

    FULL STORY: http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1313676559
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • Sri Lanka Spence to put US$78mn in hotels

    July 12, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Aitken Spence group is planning to put 78 million US dollars in to the leisure sector after a war ended in Sri Lanka with new hotels in the south western coast being started first, an official said.

    "We envisage a post-war investment around 9.0 billion rupees (78 million US dollars) given the opportunities that we have," Aitken Spence director Gehan Perera told a forum organized by Acuity, an investment bank.

    A 30-year war which had hamstrung tourism ended in May 2009, and arrivals are up over 40 percent this year.

    Aiken Spence owns or operates 27 hotels with 2,020 rooms in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman.

    The firm will refurbish and expand a 94-room hotel in Kalutara, formerly known as Golden Sun which it only managed at first but has since taken full control after a Singapore based shareholder sold out.

    A hotel in Beruwala is being done up and will be relaunched as Heritance Mahagedera in early 2011 positioned as a 64-room specialized Ayurveda (a traditional South Asian healthcare system) resort.

    Its premium hotels, branded Heritance, includes a 5-star resort next to a lake in Kandalama in central Sri Lanka, a former tea factory in the central hills and a beach resort in Ahungalle in the south western coast.

    FULL STORY: http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=169865000
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • Three new major resorts

    Indunil HEWAGE

    Sri Lanka’s Tourism industry is geared to employ 600,000 people in the hotel industry by 2016.

    Tourism Development Authority Director General S. Kalaiselvam told Daily News Business that the country has 14,000 hotel rooms and 50 percent of the hotel upgrading process has already been started.

    The upgrading process will start this summer.

    The Government has formulated several measures to facilitate the development of the hotel industry.

    Three new resorts will be constructed in Kalpitiya, Pasikudah and Kuchchaveli in the future.

    http://www.dailynews.lk/2010/07/07/bus01.asp
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • Sri Lanka hotel room rates to be upped 20-pct in winter: official

    July 19, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's leisure operators will push up room rates by about 20 percent in the coming winter season, amid a post war tourism boom that has seen a near 50 percent jump in arrivals, officials said.

    "In the coming winter most of hotels have increased rates in hard currency by over 20 percent," Jetwing chief Hiran Cooray told a forum in Colombo.
    "Some of the improved and repositioned hotels will get even more. There has to be proper product development to get prices as well."


    FULL STORY: http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1599202110
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • July 19, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka is to call for tenders from investors to build a marina at a new tourist resort being developed on the island's north-western coast, a senior tourism official said.
    Tissa Sooriyagoda, project director at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, said the Kalpitiya tourist resort covers a total of 5,000 acres which are available for development by investors.

    Two resorts have already been approved by the authority and several more are under consideration in the area which has a sheltered bay and several islands.

    "Now we're talking with investors on building infrastructure such as a marina for boats," he told LBO.

    "We're going to call for tenders."

    Tourist resorts in the area would need berthing facilities for boats and yachts.

    A landing area for sea planes has also been identified, Sooriyagoda said.

    Sri Lanka is witnessing a tourism boom with the end of the island's 30-year ethnic war in May 2009.

    Arrivals this year are up almost 50 percent compared with last year.
    - saraprobe, in 34 years
  • Sri Lanka leisure industry in boom but profits still elusive

    July 20, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's hoteliers say 10 billion US dollars have to be invested to more than double the country's hotels rooms to 35,000 by 2016 to cater to an expected 2.5 million tourists, but the journey is not a cake walk.

    Already valuations of traded stocks have zoomed to dizzy 'dot com' heights, and profits to justify the valuations are lagging several years behind.
    Dizzy Multiples

    The hotel sector is trading at a very high 103 times profits in the Colombo stocks. Profits have only just started to emerge in a sector which saw losses for most of last year.

    "Most of the hotels were in the negative territory before December, so it was eating into total profits of the market," says Saminda Weerasinghe, head of research at Acuity Stockbrokers in Colombo.

    "In December hotels contributed 3.0 percent to profits. In March it was 8.0 percent."

    Occupancy in hotels is now reaching 80 percent in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has 14,500 hotel rooms rated by star category by the state tourism authority. The hotels are expected to be able to accommodate about 750,000 tourists.

    This year the industry is expecting 600,000 arrivals, up from 447,000 last year. Sri Lanka's tourism authority is projecting 2.5 million tourists by 2016.

    Weerasinghe says about 2,000 to 3,000 hotel rooms are expected to be put up by developers over the next two years. It may go up to 20,000 by 2016, he says.

    FULL STORY: http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1709224427
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • Two Sri Lanka beaches make top grade: Forbes

    July 21, 2010 (LBO) - A beach stretch from Tangalle Bay to Weligama in Sri Lanka's south and Bentota in the southwest have been named among the top 10 in Asia by Forbes, a business magazine.

    The beaches were judged by a panel which included Graham Uden, a photographer based in Hong Kong and John Borthwick, a Sydney-based travel writer and photographer.

    FULL ARTICLE: http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=1842763988
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • Sri Lanka’s tourism industry blossoms as more tourists flock to Sri Lanka

    23 July 2010

    More tourists have visited Sri Lanka in 2010 to experience the beauty of our island. Visitor numbers from January to June this year rose nearly 50% compared to the same period last year, with 279,000 tourists arriving in Sri Lanka.

    The Government has set a target of 600,000 visitors this year in preparation for next year’s official worldwide ‘Visit Sri Lanka’ campaign. With investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector over the next six years estimated to be around US$ 3 billion, the expansion of tourism in the island looks set to become a key generator of new direct and indirect job opportunities.

    The leisure and hotel industries are already experiencing rapid growth. Olivia Richli, General Manager at the Amangalla resort in Galle Fort in the south of Sri Lanka, said: “After 5 years of highs and lows in occupancy, we are now enjoying the fruits of peace on this beautiful island. Amangalla has had its best year ever, and the rest of the year is going to be very busy as we see renewed interest in Sri Lanka from many quarters.”

    Tyrone Rabot, manager of the Galle Face Hotel in the capital, Colombo, part of Sri Lanka’s premier hotel group, added: “We have seen numbers of tourists generally, and those from Europe in particular, rise significantly over the past year. It is an exciting time for Sri Lanka and its tourism industry, our revenues have increased dramatically and we see huge potential for more growth in the coming years.”

    Sri Lanka featured in the 2010 New York Times list of most attractive tourist locations in the world and National Geographic Channel named Sri Lanka its second most attractive place to visit. The Tourist Promotion Bureau also won a prestigious industry award this year.

    http://www.unitesrilanka.org/sri-lanka-travel/sri-lanka%E2%80%99s-tourism-industry-blossoms-as-more-tourists-flock-to-sri-lanka/
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • Britain removes travel ban to former Sri Lanka battle zones

    2010-07-30 18:38:33

    COLOMBO, July 30 (Xinhua) -- The British government has removed the restriction on travel imposed to its citizens touring Sri Lanka's Northern Province.

    "This latest change means we no longer advise against travel to any part of Sri Lanka," the British Ambassador in Colombo Peter Hayes was quoted as saying in an embassy press release issued here Friday.

    Most western nations have now relaxed travel advisories following the end to Sri Lanka's protracted battle between the government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in May last year.

    Travel restrictions to east came to be relaxed immediately after the government troops' victory over the rebels.

    Travel to north has now been given the go-ahead in view of the rapid return to normalcy in the former war zones.

    International insurance companies have also lifted risk insurance premiums for shipping purposes on Sri Lanka.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-07/30/c_13423087.htm
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • Sri Lankan, Hawaiian sites make world heritage list

    (AFP) – 1 hour ago

    BRASILIA — A region of mountainous forests in Sri Lanka and an isolated archipelago off Hawaii have been added to UNESCO's World Heritage list, officials of the UN cultural and scientific body said Saturday.

    The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization decided to add the two sites on Friday as it held a 10-day meeting to revise the list in Brasilia.

    The additions brought to 892 the number of environmentally or culturally unique sites considered important to our planet and civilizations.

    Sri Lanka's highland region, situated in the south central part of the island, was added because of its "extraordinary range of flora and fauna," which includes endangered species such as the langur and loris primates and the Sri Lankan leopard, a UNESCO statement said.

    FULL STORY: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iZ8HVysVps7PIxtfQ1-e9C8knP1Q


    Sri Lanka now has 8 world heritage sites:


    Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
    Ancient City of Sigiriya
    Sacred City of Anuradhapura
    Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
    Sacred City of Kandy
    Sinharaja Forest Reserve
    Golden Temple of Dambulla
    Central Highlands of Sri Lanka


    ---
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • Chaya Bey - Beruwala

    President lays foundation for Rs. 3 b Chaaya Bey Beruwela Tuesday, 10 August 2010 00:58
    The John Keells Hotels Group has commenced the development of a 200-room, 4-star hotel, to be named Chaaya Bey Beruwela. The ceremonial laying of the foundation stone took place on Saturday, 7 August at 9 a.m. under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

    Also present were Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Cabinet Minister of Plantation Mahinda Buddhadasa Samarasinghe, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman BOI Jayampathi Bandaranayake, Chairman John Keells Holding Susantha Ratnayake and other distinguished invitees.

    This new sprawling beach resort will be brought under the flag of Chaaya Hotels and Resorts, joining the family of six other 4-star resorts in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

    The total investment in the new project including the cost of land will be Rs. 3 billion and is expected to be completed by December 2012.

    The historic city of Beruwala is the first permanent city of Arab settlements. The word 'Bey' represents a provincial governor or nobleman of the Turkish Empire and as typical of all Chaaya Hotels and Resorts, this resort by name will be a tribute to the unique heritage of this destination.

    The southern portion of Beruwala has been the centre of tourism since its inception in the 1960s and its popularity has not faded despite the many storms the tourism industry has weathered.

    Chaaya Bey Beruwela with a 200 room inventory will be a 4-star quality beach resort; spacious rooms fitted with modern amenities will be the perfect beach getaway. The construction and the design of this property will be done under the watchful eyes of architect Channa Daswatte.

    The architectural feature of the proposed hotel represents the 'Tropical Asian Style,' where the use of local materials and building techniques are incorporated to provide guests with an authentic experience.

    "Sri Lanka is on the threshold of unprecedented development, especially in the leisure industry, and we are well positioned, both in terms of organisational and financial capability, to capitalise on this opportunity," said Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman - John Keells Holdings, commenting on the new venture of the group.

    "In anticipation of this rejuvenated leisure industry in Sri Lanka, a total of over Rs. 6 billion has already been invested and/or committed by the Group for construction and refurbishment of hotels, in keeping with our goals of providing uncompromised customer satisfaction and an array of properties that showcase the best of Sri Lanka."

    Ajit Gunewardene, Deputy Chairman of John Keells Holdings, commenting on the expected tourist influx, said: "It's an exciting era for Sri Lankan tourism and for the John Keells Hotels Group. We expect this winter to display the significant shortfall in the country's inventory to cope up with demand, particularly for quality star-class rooms."

    Furthermore, he stated that the potential and land available for development in the southern coastal belt was limited and almost non-existent on the most sought after stretch, which is the Golden Mile from Beruwala to Bentota.

    "We believe this sprawling resort in Beruwela with its 200 rooms and array of restaurants and facilities will be a benchmark for the quality and class of tourism that Sri Lanka wishes to offer and will play a significant role in bridging the deficit in supply on the southern coastal stretch."

    Chaaya Bey Beruwela will be the first star quality hotel property to be built from scratch since the end of the ethnic conflict. John Keells Hotels Group is proud to pioneer one of the first major investments made towards addressing the deficit of star quality accommodation in the island
    - Colombo Express, in 34 years
  • Sri Lanka July tourist arrivals up 50-pct

    Aug 13, 2010 (LBO) - Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka surged by 50 percent in July 2010 to 63,339 from a year ago as post-war optimism and removal of travel advisories encouraged visitors even during the off-season, latest data shows.

    The increase in the number of visitors was driven largely by more arrivals from Western Europe, the traditional main market for Sri Lanka, from where arrivals shot up 72 percent to 28,738

    The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority's latest monthly bulletin showed that visitors from Britain, for long a key market, helped drive the increase in arrivals from Western Europe.

    Arrivals from the UK went up by 50 percent to 11,734 in July 2010 compared with the same month a year ago.

    The number of visitors from Germany, another traditional market, went up 33 percent to 3,540 and visitors from France more than doubled to 3,738 while those from the Netherlands almost doubled to 2,697.

    July is considered part of the off-season for the island's tourism industry with the peak season coinciding with the northern hemisphere winter.

    Sri Lanka's 30-year ethnic war ended in 2009, resulting in an immediate increase in the number of tourists to the island.

    The subsequent removal of travel warnings against visiting the island, absence of violence and improved economic and political stability is helping drive the increase in tourist arrivals.

    The tourism office data showed that the number of visitors from the Middle East, a new market the tourism industry is trying to exploit, rose by 68 percent to 6,975.

    The number arrivals from South Asia, which has also emerged as a big market for Sri Lanka, rose 15 percent to 12,736 in July 2010 from a year ago led by visitors from India, up 35 percent to 9,058.

    The total number of tourist arrivals in the January-July 2010 period was up 48.7 percent to 341,991 from the same period a year ago.

    http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=750000557
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • I still cannot believe that there is still a place like Sri Lanka ( and Yemen ) in this continent with very little Western influence. The Lankan people generally are, I must say, quite conservative in their daily norms yet have very modern mindset and quite a big picture of the world . For me, that's the biggest attraction of Sri Lanka :cheers: If I have a chance I really want to live there - any kind of job that I'm interested in , even with local salary !

    Been for 6 times and am going again for 7th trip , next month.
    - Skyprince, in 34 years
  • http://www.news360.lk/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Khoon-Kouk-Chairman-of-Shangri-La-Asia-met-President-Mahinda-Rajapaksa.jpg

    Sri Lanka’s booming tourism sector has started to attract international attention with top tourism operators showing an interest to expand their services to Sri Lanka.

    The latest to enter the fray is Shangri-La which operates a number of Hotels and Resorts in many parts of the world.

    Making its moves the Chairman of the Shangri-La Asia Khoon Kouk visited Sri Lanka to explore possible opportunities.

    He also met President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday to express his interest on the country’s tourism sector.

    The interest from International leisure operators on Sri Lanka comes at a time when the nations tourism sector is showing greater signs of boom.

    During the 1st 7 months of this year Sri Lanka has seen its visitor numbers climbing by 47% to stand at 341,991 compared to just 229,952 arrivals reported during the same period last year.

    Industry is hoping that the figure will get closer to the 550,000 mark at the end of this year, way above the last years arrival figure of just 450,000.

    Recently Minor International PLC of Thailand together with local partner Hemas acquired the Kani Lanka Resort and Spa situated in southern town of Kalutara to be developed as a luxury resort.

    The investment for the particular development is estimated at US$ 22 million and once developed will operate under the world famous brand of “Anantara”.

    Apart from that, A Maldivian Hotel developer is making plans to build a 150 room tourism resort in Pasikuda in the eastern province.

    Maldives Blue Continent will pump in US $ 6 million for the project.

    Recently Jetair announced that it will launch charter flights to Sri Lanka from Brussels, starting from October this year.

    The announcement came at an event held in Belgium with the participation of nearly 600 travel agents.

    Sri Lankan Airlines also announced that it too has decided to increase flight frequencies to destinations such as Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Karachchi and several Indian cities to meet the growing demand from tourists who wants to travel to the Island.

    United State’s and several other western nations who had travel warnings / advisories imposed on the country has either relaxed or taken them out totally.

    Stock Analysts and Fund Managers operating in the Colombo Stock Exchange recommend investors to look at tourism stocks as a potential counter in the bourse to invest.

    Ending of the civil conflict in year 2009 is cited as the reason behind this latest surge
    http://www.ft.lk (http://www.ft.lk/)

    According to Daily Financial times Shangri-La is planning for one city hotel and one near H'tota, Awesome news:cheers:
    - saraprobe, in 34 years
  • Shangri-La is one of the best hotel chains. Their service, quality, food and products are really something else. Staying in a Shangri-La offers much better value for money than many other chains. I hope they do move in because they also market their properties well, especially catering for the Asian market.
    - dramirez, in 34 years
  • ^^ You make me proud actually, because I am working with Shangri-la :) And I really cannot wait for the two Shangri-la's in Colombo and Hambantota .
    - Skyprince, in 34 years
  • I really want to live there - any kind of job that I'm interested in , even with local salary !

    Well Shangri La is apparently coming to Sri Lanka... :)
    - Amal, in 34 years
  • Tourism booms as room strength and hotels grow

    Guides so busy … unable to attend tourism meetings: Official

    By Chanaka de Silva

    In the new phase of tourism development where island resorts are being established, another of the 14 islands in the northwest coast of Kalpitiya is being leased out next week. This in addition to one other island leased earlier and both islands from the Kalpitiya islands’ development plan would add 350 rooms to the Sri Lanka’s tourism room strength, a top government official said this week.

    “Of the 14 islands we will be developing another six islands in the near future. A key feature in this project is that we have integrated the people of the area and will not be moving them. At present projections these resorts should be ready by 2012,” S. Kalaiselvam, Director-General, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), told the Business Times.

    Commenting further on other projects in the pipeline, he said; “Pasekudah will also be developed on the East coast. Where we had only three hotels we have now planned 13 new projects. On completion this will add another 1000 rooms to the pool. Of the investors six parties have already started construction.”
    Further new development in the East will include Kuchchaveli where a 500-acre block of land is to be offered for development. It is now in the process of been declared a tourism promotion area. With this done it will possible to monitor all development activities there. The process of actively seeking other properties for development is also underway, he added.

    “With the increase in tourism we are looking towards the SMEs for active participation. Here they are encouraged to register ‘home stay’ facilities with the SLTDA. Any unit meeting the requirements may register under this scheme. As a large number of rooms are required now in the North with the festivals and both the tourists and the Diaspora arriving, this is a pressing requirement. As at now 300 parties have registered. Their details are displayed on the SLTDA website and could be booked on line direct,” he said.

    Referring to the incentives on offer to the tourism investor, Mr Kalaiselvam said; “The most attractive incentive is land to an investor. Any investor who meets the criteria will be eligible for this. In addition various duty free concessions and tax holidays are also available. The biggest incentive for the industry is the tourist and with the end of the war we have been able to attract them here in numbers.”

    He expects tourism numbers to exceed 600,000 this year. “We have already passed the 340,000 mark in the first seven months of this year. The industry is so busy now that when we call a meeting with the guides no one attends as they are all on tour.”

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100822/BusinessTimes/bt40.html
    - Amal, in 35 years

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