Tuesday, 30 November 2010
"Sri Lanka is witnessing a dramatic rise in visitors which in turn has enabled vast development of Sri Lanka's existing tourism infrastructure with new hotels and better road networks currently underway island-wide to cope with the destinations increasing popularity," remarked Ms Heba Al Mansoori, Middle East Director of SLTPB.
Ms Al Mansoori noted that several hotel giants are undertaking expansion, refurbishment and major re-development plans in order to meet increased demand for hotel rooms. "All this will help accommodate the exponential increase in tourist arrivals."
Several development projects in the East are currently underway which was previously inaccessible. Three areas which are of focus are Pasikudah, Kucheveli and Kalpitiya. Many hotel projects are in progress and by the year 2011/2012 we hope to have added 1,000 rooms.
In addition other development is also in progress in the rest of the island. We just opened the new Port in the South of the country and a new Airport will be soon opened as well in the South.
SLTPB opened its office in Dubai in May 2008 to maximize the opportunities emerging throughout the Middle East while strengthening support for the travel trade in the region.
Since the opening, the Dubai office has co-ordinated all of Sri Lanka's tourism promotional activities in the Arab markets including exhibition participation, marketing visits, presentations and road shows, brochure distribution, public relations, as well as familiarization visits to the island for influential business and travel journalists. The office also functions as the preliminary contact point and enquiry processing centre for travel trade companies and tourists in the region.
Sri Lanka is now on the threshold of developing to its full potential as a prime tourism destination with diverse offerings for members of the whole family whether it is beaches, shopping, visits to wildlife reserves, heritage and culture sites, relaxing at a spa, or simply enjoying the cuisine.
Titled ‘The BIA Shopping Festival’, the promotion marks the first time in BIA’s history that all 57 outlets have joined together in a collective manner to promote the airport as a destination, the airport authority said.
Launched on 15 November, it will run until 15 January – making it the first mega promotion in the ‘Visit Sri Lanka 2011’ calendar year.
Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) Chairman Prasanna J. Wickramasuriya said: “After almost three decades of turmoil in our country, peace prevails in a renewed Sri Lanka and we feel that contributing to this sense of euphoria is mandatory on our part.
“We are confident that our airport is on par with international airports in the region and as such, having a promotion such as this seasonal bonanza is the first step in a series of seasonal events that we hope to give all passengers traveling via the airport.
Friday, 26 November 2010
As the winter season approaches in Europe, tourist arrivals has started to increase for Sri Lanka. Tourists from Western Europe alone rose by massive 46 per cent in October.
UK continue to lead with 13.7 per cent increase to 7,494 tourists. Germany surprisingly went up by 62.3 per cent to 4,381 according to the date by Sri Lanka tourism. Tourist arrivals from other European countries like Switzerland, Spain, Belgium etc also doubled during the period.
Experts says that European winter will continue to bring huge tourist inflow for Sri Lanka. Being a cheap beach destination, Sri Lanka will attract European tourists during the winter season.
South Asia lead the tourism growth in Sri Lanka with India remaining the biggest market for Sri Lanka with 13,200 tourists or 43 per cent increase. Maldives was next with 2,459 tourists. South Asia contributed 130,516 tourists in the first 10 months of 2010, up by 22 per cent.
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
According to him during the last 10 years annual tourist arrivals had been below 400,000. However, at present the monthly arrival is between 50,000 - 60,000, he added. "The dawn of peace acted as a catalyst to spur tourist arrivals to the country. It also helped Sri Lanka to utilize its full potential to supplement healthy growth," he added.
Outlining plans for the future Dr.Godahewa said that Sri Lanka Tourism would embark on a major promotional program under the theme "Visit Sri Lanka" during 2011 to attract more tourists. He said that under sub themes such as "Beach" for January,"Sports" for February etc. various initiatives would be adopted every month to spur tourism. He noted that the idea was to get the support of all stakeholders involved in the process. In addition plans are afoot to establish tourism villages, at least one for each Province, he added. Dr.Godahewa said that with the above initiatives and with ones in the pipeline Sri Lanka was well on track to achieve its goal of 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016.
He is the owner of the richest casino business namely 'Delta' in the world who is rated as the 57th in the list of richest persons in the world. With the beginning of a casino region in Colombo city for tourism promotion, the area around beira lake is becoming a casino centre for both local and foreign affluent crowd.
Malraj B. Kiriella, director general of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) told reporters that the World Bank has provided 125.4 million U.S. dollars for Small and Medium Enterprise development, local service improvements and tourism development in those two provinces.
Sri Lanka's decades long civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam and government troops blocked tourists to enter the Northern Province and some parts of the Eastern Province while island's northern coastal belt put totally unreachable.
Kiriella said the country's tourism industry depends on southern coast and some wildlife parks during last three decades due to the war, but now both foreign and local tourists could enjoy the untouched beauty in the northern sea as war is ended.
"Sri Lanka's beautiful beaches are located in Trincomallee in the Eastern Province and Mullaitivu in the Northern Province," he said, adding that several wildlife parks are now open for visitors without any restriction.
The SLTDA expect to upgrade facilities such as circuit bungalows and camping sites in those wildlife parks with the assistance of Wildlife Department, said Kiriella.
He said they have already identified some areas including Elephant Pass, Kilaly in the Northern Province to be developed as tourism zones.
Kiriella said tourist arrivals recorded a 40 percent increase for the first nine months and 445,000 tourists had visited the island by the end of September.
"We will expect 600,000 by the end of this year," he said, adding that North and East tourism development would help the government to get 2.5 million tourists by 2016.
Addressing a media conference at the Main Press Centre (MPC) here this morning, Fernando said all South Asian nations have given their concent for Sri Lanka’s eleventh hour bid to host the inaugural South Asian Beach Games in the Southern Sri Lanka.
“The South Asian nations have been discussing to have this type of Beach Games for nearly five years. In fact, Maldives and Bangladesh have put forward their bids to host the first ever Games. However, we wanted to prove a point before we present our host bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and all South Asian national NOCs gave their consent our last minute bid,” a happy Fernando disclosed.
Fernando said Sri Lanka will try to host the Asian Beach Games in a highly successful manner and prove its organizational skills before the deadline to present the formal bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in May next year. “Hambantota will be hosting the World Cup cricket and then the South Asian Beach Games. That would add more weight to Hambantota’s bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games,” he said.
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Deputy finance minister Sarath Amunugama told the Sri Lankan Parliament that gambling will now be legal in designated areas of the country, according to a report in the Hindustan Times.
The minister also added that the new bill would ensure a central control on licensing new casinos and gambling outlets.
The move has been condemned by Christian and Buddhist leaders in Sri Lanka who fear the government is trying to turn Colombo, the country’s largest city, into an international gambling den.
Sri Lanka are the latest in a growing line of Asian countries to legalise gambling, with Vietnam only last week granting licences for firms to take bets on football in the Communist state.
Sunday, 14 November 2010
The bid submission for the Integrated Kalpitiya Development Project was called on 3 November and will remain open till the first week of December. But what is interesting is that we have received a large number of proposals this time around, just two weeks after the islands being opened for leasing. "There are many new names that have put in proposals. This shows that Sri Lanka tourism is on a roll - SLTDA official
All proposals for land leasing in the Kalpitiya development zone have received high demand from those in the leisure sector, a Tourism Authority official said yesterday.
Kalpitiya, a popular tourist hub, showed interest in leasing out land in 14 islands around the area in a proposed tourism development plan by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
In the initial bid, which put up five islands for grabs, only two islands - Ippantivu and Vellai - were awarded to potential investors. The two islands were given to Qube Lanka Leisure Pvt. Ltd. and Lets Travel Pvt. Ltd. respectively, for a total investment of Rs. 2,900 million. The official stated that proposals were received for only two of the five islands that were initially put up for the bid.
However, the proposals that were called for the remaining 12 islands have received a large number of entries and the Technical Evaluation Committee appointed by the former Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism will have a lot on their hands this time, he said.
"The bid submission for the Integrated Kalpitiya Development Project was called on 3 November and will remain open till the first week of December. But what is interesting is that we have received a large number of proposals this time around, just two weeks after the islands being opened for leasing."
All proposals received have been on joint venture schemes and include a lot of newcomers to the tourism and leisure industry.
"There are many new names that have put in proposals. This shows that Sri Lanka tourism is on a roll and that its importance has spread far and wide across the globe.
Many local companies too have given in proposals but due to the large investment that is on the other end, almost all are proposed as joint ventures."
If and when all 14 islands, which extend over a land area of 167,267 hectares, are put to good use and hotels built, the authorities expect them to generate direct employment to 15,000 persons in and around the area.
Another 22,500 employment opportunities would be created indirectly. The number of hotel rooms expected to be constructed stands at 4,500, the official said.
The development in the area would also include marine based activities such as scuba diving and snorkelling on Bar Reef, whale watching in offshore areas beyond 20 km from Bar Reef Marine Sanctuary (BRMS), dolphin watching within the BRMS and in Dutch and Portugal Bays, bird watching in the entire area, mangrove tours, deep sea angling and fishing, wind surfing, kite boarding, canoeing and kayaking, which would enhance tourism potential.
Both water-based recreational and fisheries activities should be controlled, obtaining the advice of relevant specialists. Special golf courses and diving resorts will be built to offer unique opportunities for the travellers.
Investment opportunities available at the proposed tourism area include luxury accommodation units to attract up-market tourists such as hotels, chalets, water bungalows, ayurvedic hotels, beach cabanas, sun huts, outdoor barbeque pits, and open air performance areas. Low cost accommodation units for budget travellers are also encouraged.
The official claimed that investment opportunities were also open for domestic airport and travel, amusement parks, high speed boat safaris, observation towers, agro and livestock farms as well as hot air balloon transport.
However, the proposed Underwater Visitors Centre which has been graphically identified by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has still not been put out to bid.
The centre, which would offer excellent opportunities for both domestic and international tourists to study marine biology around the area, is a special project and would need separate attention, he said. Bids for the centre may probably be called for early next year, he noted.
At a well-attended World Travel Market press conference, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa officially launched the 2011 Visit Sri Lanka campaign, with its theme of eight wonderful experiences in eight days.
This year he said it was exciting that more than 50 Sri Lankan hotels and travel companies had committed to attending the event and marketing their products to attendees – the biggest turn-out ever.
The Sri Lankan pavilion demanded attention with its banners proclaiming Visit Sri Lanka 2011. It was opened by Justice Nihal Jayasinghe, Sri Lankan High Commissioner in UK.
Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Malraj Kiriella, Acting Managing Director, and Sanjika Perera, Director UK and Ireland, of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, along with Nishatha Wickramasinghe, Chairman, Sri Lankan Airlines, joined the 50 industry leaders to present the Sri Lanka tourism story.
Dr. Godahewa applauded the industry support for the campaign logo and slogan, 'Refreshingly Sri Lanka'…..the Wonder of Asia.
He said the eight different colours of the letters of Sri Lanka in the new logo represented eight different stories: Pristine: beach; Wild: wildlife & nature; Thrills: sports and soft adventure, Scenic: Tea country, Heritage: 2500 years of civilization and eight UNESCO sites; Bliss: Ayurveda, and upmarket boutiques for chilling out; Essence: authenticity of people, eco tourism, culture and unique places for weddings.
Mr. Malraj Kiriella explained that the 12 letters of the 'Wonder of Asia' depict the 12 month calendar of events for the Visit Sri Lanka 2011 Campaign.
'Every month we will be celebrating a different theme. First up is January which will promote beaches at the season’s peak. February will feature Sri Lanka co-hosting of ICC matches. March will promote MICE combined with the organizing of UNWTO regional commission meeting in Sri Lanka.
At a well-attended World Travel Market press conference, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr Nalaka Godahewa launched the 2011 Visit Sri Lanka campaign, with its theme of eight wonderful experiences in eight days. This year he said it was exciting that more than 50 Sri Lankan hotel and travel companies had committed to attending the event and marketing their products to attendees - the biggest turnout ever.
The Sri Lankan pavilion demanded attention with its banners proclaiming Visit Sri Lanka 2011. It was opened by Sri Lankan High Commissioner in UK Justice Nihal Jayasinghe. Dr Nalaka Godahewa applauded the industry support for the campaign logo and slogan, Refreshingly Sri Lanka.... the Wonder of Asia.
He said the eight different colours of the letters of Sri Lanka in the new logo represented eight different stories:
These are Pristine: beach; Wild: wildlife and nature; Thrills: sports and soft adventure; Scenic: Tea country; Heritage: 2500 years of civilization and eight UNESCO sites: Bliss: Ayurveda and upmarket boutiques for chilling out; Essence: authenticity of people, eco tourism, culture, the arts, shopping and Festive: entertainment of festivals and events and a unique place for weddings. Malraj Kiriella explained that the 12 letters of the Wonder of Asia depict the 12 month calendar of events for the Visit Sri Lanka 2011 Campaign.
"Every month we will be celebrating a different theme. First up is January which will promote beaches at the season's peak. February will feature Sri Lanka co-hosting of ICC matches. March will promote meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, (MICE) combined with the organizing of UNWTO regional commission meeting in Sri Lanka," Kiriella said.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
The tourism industry in Sri Lanka will bring USD 2.75 billion to the country within the next five years. Tourist Board Chairman Nalaka Godahewa said that the real growth will begin from 2012 once all infrastructure such as hotels and roads are ready.
There is a lot of interest among investors to develop the industry but the process will take sometime’ he said.
Over 400,000 tourists have arrived in Sri Lanka up to October this year which is a nearly 47 percent increase compared to last year. India, UK, Germany, the Middle East,the Maldives, France , Australia, Canada, USA and the Netherlands were the top 10 tourist generating countries to Sri Lanka up to August 2010.
There are only about 15,000 rooms at present in Five Star hotels to unclassified category which is not sufficient to meet future demand. Therefore, the tourism industry has identified new lands in several areas such as Passikuda, Kuchchiveli and Kalpitiya to construct new holiday resorts.
Two hundred and fifteen tourist establishments have been registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). A total of 958 rooms come under these establishments according to SLTDA sources.
Proposals have been made for a one-stop-shop at the Sri Lanka Tourism Head Office to process all tourism related projects. In addition Sri Lanka Tourism have stabilized comfort centres to facilitate domestic travel in several areas including Bentota and Pasikuda.
Meanwhile, regional tourism plans also have been done and a three year action plan from 2010 to 2012 have been prepared for the development of the Eastern Province and another proposal for the Northern Province will be prepared before 2010.
A total of 700,000 tourists are expected next year. Plans are being drawn to build 36,000 additional rooms by 2016 with a total investment of USD 3,000 million. It is expected that 15 percent of the total population in the country will depend on tourism related jobs by 2016.
In conjunction with President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second swearing-in, The Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority has planned to launch 2011 as Tourism Year, with each month devoted to promote each category of tourism product available in the country.
The 12 tourism products to be promoted each month are Heritage tourism, Nature and Wild Life Tourism, People and Culture tourism, Sports and Adventure tourism, MICE (Meetings, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism, Weddings and Honeymoons tourism, Shopping and Entertainment tourism, Health tourism including promotion of Ayurvedic and modern health facilities, Pilgrimmange tourism, Community tourism which will include agri-tourism as well, Culinary tourism, Beaches and beach-related tourism.
Addressing the Cabinet news briefing the Minister said such an idea had crossed the mind of the Government.
He justified this move given the tourism factor. Even Muslim countries have zones of this nature designated for gambling and the like in order to attract tourists, he said. However he refuted recent claims by opposition members that the government was considering a gambling bill .
There are three areas that we talk about with regards to development the development of our aquatic resources, investment and tourism. If we are to open up to tourism then there needs to be certain facilities in the country, he said.
Scripted by professor K. D. Paranavitana, the travel directory, probably the first such attempt in film format to promote the tourism of one’s country, includes a compact and complete information and all the data pertaining to Sri Lanka’s tourism such as history, archaeology, religious, cultural and social aspects. The audio visual editing of the DVD is by Suresh Ranga Weudagedara while the editor is Thivanka Udagesara and executive producer is Kumudini Kulawardhana.