Presidential awards for travel and tourism lauded
“This inaugural Presidential awards for Travel and Tourism 2007, is
aimed ‘to recognise and reward excellence’ among stakeholders of the
past and present. It also aims to encourage and ensure an even greater
contribution from its stakeholders in the future, to ensure the
sustainable development of the tourism industry,” said Acting Secretary,
Ministry of Tourism George Micheal.
Based on an idea conceived by the Minister of Tourism Milinda
Moragoda, Presidential awards for Travel and Tourism has been an
initiative of Sri Lanka tourism.
The panel of judges for the Presidential awards for Travel and
Tourism consisted of Nalin Attygalle as Chairman, Dr. Hilary Cooray, Dr.
L. N. Senaweera, Ambassador Nihal Rodrigo, Sujatha Weerakoon and Ganaka
This year’s awards, consisted 44 awards, covering 11 industry
segments acknowledged all aspects and sectors of the tourism industry in
“It will also recognise individuals who have played a major role in
meeting the many challenges the industry has faced, by sharing their
vision and energy for the development of this great industry,” he said.
He said that the event was a success.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake was the chief guest.
Chairman, judges committee, Nalin Attygalle said though the response
was good, he was dissappointed in the manner in which some top hoteliers
“There was no professionalism in their applications which he
discussed,” he said.
John Keells wins five awards
John Keells Group was awarded five Presidential Awards for travel and
tourism. Cinnamon Grand Colombo won two Presidential Tourism Awards,
being adjudged the Best City Five Star Hotel and for having the best
Restaurant, the Lagoon which is well know for its unique sea food
The John Keells Group’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility
and sustainable development was reflected in the Presidential Corporate
Social Responsibility Industry Award won by Chaaya Village Habarana for
its contribution to the community.
The award for the Best Effort in Tourism Marketing went to the launch
campaign for Chaaya Hotels and Resorts. Kuoni Travel Ltd was the proud
winner of Presidential Award for the Best Destination Loyal Partner -
Foreign Tour Operator Category.
The award was received by Whittall Boustead (Travel) Ltd the
Destination Management Company of the John Keells Group who has
represented Kuoni since 1993 in Sri Lanka.
Cinnamon Grand Colombo was proud to win two prestigious Presidential
Tourism Awards, being adjudged the Best City Five Star Hotel and for
having the best Restaurant, the Lagoon which is well know for its unique
sea food concept.
This is a significant achievement for an indigenous brand that was
born just two years ago and recognizes Cinnamon Grand’s unique brand of
hospitality, service and cuisine.
Winning against renowned international hotel chains, Cinnamon Grand
is renowned not only for being the market leader in setting benchmarks
and standards, but also in revolutionizing the very definition of
hospitality in Sri Lanka with innovative features, products and services
that conform to its theme of indulgence.
The Deputy Chairman, John Keells Holdings and President Leisure
Group, Ajit Gunewardene stated he was very proud of the achievements of
the leisure group and reiterated the group’s commitment to continue to
invest and grow this sector.
He added that this is only the beginning as they forge ahead with new
innovative and exciting projects and further expansion in Sri Lanka and
Confifi wins two awards
Confifi won two awards at the inaugural Presidential Awards for
Travel & Tourism Excellence 2007 held recently at the Presidential
Secretariat, when Confifi Group’s Riverina Hotel Beruwela and Club Palm
Garden Hotel Beruwela were adjudged Sri Lanka’s best holiday resorts in
their respective hotel categories.
This was a fitting tribute to Confifi Group Hotels who have excelled
in hospitality services since its inception in 1969 when the first
Confifi Beach Hotel was built by present Chairman Prof. M.T.A. Furkhan
who saw future potential in the islands tourism industry at a time when
Tourism was relatively unknown in the destination.
Through the last 37 years Confifi maintained this theme and again
strategically spread their inviting hospitality to a diverse client base
by building new hotels but each at a different level.
Following the 2-star Confifi Beach Hotel, the 3-star Club Palm Garden
was built in 1976, the 4-star Riverina Hotel was built in 1983 and the
flagship 5-star Eden Resort & Spa opened its doors to guests in 1995,
all on the coveted “golden mile” of beach in Beruwela.
“Both resorts well deserve these accolades as they have consistently
strived to maintain a high standard of hospitality and services to both
foreign and local guests.
This recognition at national level will go boost morale and
confidence for the future amongst each and every staff member of both
resorts who have been very ably led by their respective General Managers
Chang Cey Wen at Riverina and Nilantha Rupasinghe at Club Palm Garden
and the Directors of Confifi Management Services especially.
Ajit Jayamanne - Director Operations - for his untiring efforts for
their role to achieve the Awards” said Tony Maheswaran -
Director/General Manager Sales and Marketing for Confifi Group Hotels.
Heritance Kandalama, best 5-Star Resort, Best Chef
Sri Lanka’s most awarded hotel, Heritance Kandalama was awarded the
Presidential Award for Best 5-Star Resort while Dimuthu Kumarasinghe,
Skills Development Chef of the Aitken Spence Group won the award for the
Best Chef at the Presidential Awards for Travel & Tourism Excellence
2007 held at the Presidential Secretariat.
The Aitken Spence Group was the most awarded group at the Awards,
bagging five awards including the Best Destination Management Company
and Best Professional Conference Organization (PCO).
The group’s Skills Development Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe
receiving the Presidential Award on behalf of Heritance
Kandalama for the Best 5-Star Resort from Prime Minister
Heritance Kandalama has positioned Sri Lanka on the global tourism
map with its recent recognition as one of the Top 15 Green Hotels of the
World by the popular US-based Travel & Leisure magazine published by
American Express Publishing Corporation.
Designed by world-renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa, the hotel has
also been recognized by the United Nations Global Compact Network Sri
Lanka as one of the corporate sector’s top five best practices.
The hotel is the first super brand hotel in Sri Lanka with ISO 22000
HACCP certification and ISO 14001 environmental certification.
It is also a tourism symbol promoting Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage
with its strategic setting amidst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of
Dambulla Cave Temple and the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
The group’s Skills Development Chef Dimuthu Kumarasinghe could
probably be considered one of the world’s best chef, is a fitting winner
of the Presidential Award. Dimuthu has on his list of unprecedented
merits: a record nine gold medals at the Culinary World Cup 2006 in
Luxembourg, four gold medals at the Culinary Olympics 2004 in Germany,
and has been felicitated by the World Association of Cooks Societies for
his achievements and contribution towards innovative culinary skills. He
currently works at Heritance Ahungalla while passing on his skills to
his peers within the group’s hotel as its Skills Development Chef.
“This is yet another testament of our continued commitment to
innovation and standards within our hotels and promoting Sri Lanka
Dimuthu’s achievement further testifies our investment in people and
This recognition will further our commitment to positioning Sri Lanka
as a world tourist destination”, said Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director
of Aitken Spence Hotels.
The Presidential Awards for Travel and Tourism Excellence was
inaugurated by the Ministry of Tourism to foster competitiveness and
uplift the standards of the local tourism and travel industry.
The hotel was selected by an eminent panel of judges based on a
comprehensive evaluation criterion comprising revenue generation,
innovation, social, cultural, environmental and economic best practices,
as well as its contribution as a role model for tourism excellence.
Presidential Awards for Travel and Tourism
Tourism legends Dharmasiri Senanayake, Anandatissa de Alwis,
Deshamanya Geoffrey Bawa
General awards: Legends - 1. Late Dharmasiri Senanayake, 2. Late
Ananda Tissa de Alwis, 3. Late Deshamanya Jeoffrey Bawa.
Pioneer award - 1. Late A. C. H. de Soysa, 2. Late Mrs. Pearl
Heenetigala, 3. Late Ms Mark Bostock, 4. Late Sudanapala Rodrigo.
Tourist Hotels (star classified):
Best 5 star city hotel - Cinnamon Grand Colombo.
Best 5 star resort: Kandalama Hotels Limited.
Best 4 star hotel - Riverina Hotel.
Best 2 star hotel - Club Palm Garden, Beruwala.
Tourist Hotels (other):
Best Boutique Hotel - Saman Villas.
Best Restaurant - The Lagoon.
Airline: Best Charter Airline Operation - First Choice Airways.
Best Destination Local Partners (Local):
Tour Operator - Aitken Spence Travels.
Domestic Tour Operator - Ebert Silva Touring Company.
Conference Management Company - Ace Travels and Conventions.
Best Communication Effort:
Tourism Marketing Communication Company - Masters Advertising.
Media Initiative (Print) - Ms Delerine Munzeer.
Best Niche Operation:
Ayurveda Based Tourism Operation - Barberyn Ayurveda Beach Resort.
Adventure Tourism Operator - Lanka Sprotreizen.
Best Tour Guide - Riza Badurdeen.
Chauffer Guide - Ravindra Palagolla (Aitken Spence Travels. Chef -
Dimuthu Kumarasinghe (Aitken Spence).
Exceptional Individual - Dr. Publis Silva (Mount Lavinia Hotel).
Corporate Social Responsibility:
Corporate Social Responsibility (Industry) - Chaaya Village.
Corporate Social Responsibility (Civil Society) - Ruhunu Tourist
Best Destination Loyal Partners (Foreign) - Tour Operator - Kouni
Travel Limited. Journalist - Ms Sachiyo Iwase.
Best Provincial Tourism Project: Provincial Destination Development
and Marketing Initiative - Southern Provincial - Ruhunu Tourist Bureau.