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DateLine Saturday, 11 August 2007

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Leisure industry poised for better times

The leisure industry is gearing for better times with increased arrivals and revolving towards better prospects for the winter.

President Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators, Dirk Grigson, said that the industry is slowly but surely moving up. "This is a positive sign," he said.

Tarnishing the image of Sri Lanka with adverse publicity internationally is drastically diminishing and due to this fact foreign community had gradually ceased looking at Sri Lanka with sour eyes. Grigson, who was involved in the industry for well over three decades, said that the softening of the French Travel advisory to helps the industry. He said that already French operators have included Sri Lanka in their winter brochures. "Positive results from this would image for the winter," he said.

Meanwhile an official from the Sri Lanka Tourist Board said that they were happy with the resumption of night flights. Most of the airlines have resumed their operations," he said. They also welcomed resumption of flights by Austrian Airlines next month.

Etihad pull out of Colombo last month due to operational reasons while Cathy Pacific is reviewing their schedule to fly back to Colombo.

Following is the changed schedule of the flights at the Colombo airport.

****

Lead Schedule

Number of Airlines before closure	- 23 
Number of movements before closure
Arrivals				- 302/Week
Departures				- 302/Week

Airport closure for night operation on 10.05.2007

Number of Airlines after closure	- 21
(Cathy, Air Sahara Stopped)

Number of movements after closure
Arrivals				- 235/Week
Departures				- 235/Week

Night operations resumed on 01.07.2007
Number of Airlines Currently Operating	- 22
Number of movements as at 24.07.2007
Arrivals				- 301/Week
Departure				- 301/Week

Flights operating after 22.30 hrs
SriLankan Airlines			- 04   Week
Emirates				- 08   Week
Jet Liner (Air Sahara)			- 07   Week
Total					- 19   Week

Rs 50m investment for eco friendly resort in Gampha

SundaraGama Eco Resort in the Gampaha district, is a home away from home, an eco friendly resort bringing together all the luxuries of a modern hotel with a peaceful surrounding and a quiet serene environment depicting a real Sri Lankan village.

The hotel which started few years ago is gradually drawing popularity in the area, and now is planning to invest Rs 50 million to complete its second phase, Proprietor, Kapila Bandara said. The hotel is managed by Eco Green Hotels (Pvt) Limited.

He said that the Resort had commenced business with an initial investment of Rs 94 million, and located in a serene environment with frequent arrivals of birds and the surrounded wildlife which adds the charm of the hotel.

It has attracted many people including honeymooners and leisure travellers from various parts of the country.

The hotel is rich with all the facilities and equipment for wedding ceremonies and to conduct workshops and seminars. It also offers many tailor-made day packages for the visitors to relieve their stress and to be away from the hurly-burly of their busy life.

The first phase of the resort was completed two years ago and consists of a Banquet Hall for weddings, seminars and any functions.

A swimming pool, children's playground are also available.

It has five cottages /cabanas and will go up to 15 cottage type rooms with the completion of the second phase.

They are also planning to build 10 cottages/ cabanas, 30 rooms with or without AC, spa, gymnasium, yoga center and many more, Bandara said.

This eco resort is situated in a five-acre land surrounded with lush greenery imparts a feeling of a real Sri Lankan village rhythm.

The trees in the hotel preserve the old charm and to attract birds to the hotel to promote the eco tourism, he said. According to Bandara they also arrange excursions to historic and archaeological sites in the Gampaha district namely Gampaha Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens, Varana Temple, Pillikuthuwa Cave, Attanagalla Temple, Dadagamuva Temple are some of the sites.

During the evening they offers a lot of things to guests with barbecue dinner, traditional music and dancing and many more entertainment activities, he said.


Amazing fares from Emirates to London

Ticketing count-ers at Emirates Colombo and leading travel agents may be besieged this month, following the airline's announcement of special fares to London.

The award-winning, Dubai-based carrier is offering a Colombo - London Economy Class return ticket at an amazing fair, a saving of nearly 19 per cent.

Business and First Class return tickets to the same destination will cost Rs. 162,000 and Rs. 195,000 respectively, offer travellers an opportunity to save up to Rs. 114,500 on a ticket on these classes.

"These prices look almost too good to be true, and bookings will be on a first come first served basis," said Emirates Sales Manager Devika Ellepola.

"We have just one stipulation - booking and ticketing must be done before August 31 for outbound travel in the months of September and October." Launched barely two weeks after the airline resumed its full schedule of flights to Colombo, these special fares are inclusive of fuel surcharge but exclude country taxes.

Emirates' London promotion is also well timed for parents or family accompanying students travelling to the UK for their studies.

The airline has announced special one-way student fares that will also be valid during this period.

The winner of more than 300 major international awards, Emirates operates 17 services a week from Colombo to Dubai and 91 flights a week from Dubai to five points in the UK, including Heathrow and Gatwick in London.

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