World Bank agrees to support tourism
World Bank Management has agreed to allocate funding to assist Sri
Lanka prepare a project for further funding and technical assistance.
Commenting on the initiative, Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda who
was in USA said the bank was very receptive to supporting Sri Lanka
Tourism, in the efforts in enhancing the standards and the quality of
operations through capacity development for SMEs and other tourism
institutions and enterprises to ensure experience to visitors.
The proposed assistance will leverage the expertise and resources of
the private sector, wherever possible in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs),
as well as, community based initiatives to empower local communities and
“Moreover, it is expected to address institutional and human resource
capacity building needs of key government institutions connected with
developing and promoting tourism for Sri Lanka.
“In addition, the Bank interventions may also include developing
appropriate policies, compliance and regulatory mechanisms, marketing
and promotion strategies for positioning Sri Lanka’s tourism offerings
appropriately in key global markets.
The Minister said that the outcome of these efforts, which will build
on the recent reforms undertaken by the sector, will make Sri Lanka
Tourism to be a billion dollar industry in the next few years.
It is one of the few industries, which has under gone significant
restructuring in the recent past, amidst difficult socio-political
Accompanied by the Ambassador for Sri Lanka in the USA, Bernard
Goonatilleke, Minister Moragoda met the Executive Board Director of the
Bank - Kumar, South Asia Regional Vice President Praful Patel, Directors
John Roome, Peter Harrold and Sector Manager, Finance and Private sector
Development - Simon Bell.
The Bank plans to launch a mission shortly to Sri Lanka to build on
the on-going discussions between the Bank and SL Tourism officials.
Hilton Colombo gets facelift, to be refurbished
Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC, the owning company of Hilton Colombo
has embarked on an expansion and refurbishment programme for upgrading
the guest rooms of hotel Hilton Colombo.
The last refurbishment programme was carried out almost eight years
ago and the company’s view is that through such refurbishment programmes
the hotel’s image as one of the market leaders of the hospitality
industry is further strengthened. The total funds to be invested under
this programme is approximately Rs. 200 million (US$2 million).
The majority shares (65 per cent) of Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC is
owned by the Government and held in the name of the Secretary to the
An agreement pertaining to the expansion and refurbishment programme
between the Board of Investment and Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC was
signed by the Chairman of BOI, Dhammika Perera and the Chairman of Hotel
Developers (Lanka) PLC, Nawaz Rajabdeen recently.
GOH to see more stars
Executive Chef Brian Peterson and hotel hostess Manuri Yapa at
the Harbour Room Pictures by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa
Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH) one of the oldest hotels in Sri Lanka is
to be upgraded to a three star hotel.
The hotel managed by the Bank of Ceylon is now looking at building a
swimming pool and having their own car park.
Manager Security and Front Office of the hotel, Nalin Sirimane said
they are also planning to launch a website to attract more UK travellers
since the hotel was built by British in 1868.
GOH with two suites, eight deluxe, four standard, 12 singles and 40
double rooms also boasts of Sri Lanka’s first Night Club Blue Leopard
still operating in the basement of the hotel. He said hotel had
undergone a major refurbishment recently and I now attracting many
Nalin Sirimane and Mohan Anthonypillai at GOH
He said they are now also looking at opening out their laundry to the
public so that they could generate more revenue to the hotel.
Food and Beverage Manager of GOH, Mohan Anthonypillai said their Sri
Lankan buffet is very popular among executives. “Our main market is in
the F and B sector,” he said.
The colonial city hotel is also organising special family meal
packages on Friday and Saturday nights at the picturesque harbour room
overlooking the Colombo harbour.
Anthonypillai was not in favour of the minimum room rate imposed for
the City hotels. “Small hotels that do not fall in to this category are
exploiting this rule. The rule should be imposed for hotels having over
100 rooms,” he suggested.
Lanka Pavilion receives prestigious award at Beijing Expo
For the fifth consecutive year, Sri Lanka Tourism was showcased at
the prestigious Beijing Tourism Expo(BITE) - 2008 held at the Beijing
Exhibition Centre from 19 to 21 June. With the sponsorship of Sri Lanka
Tourism Promotion Bureau, Sri Lanka Embassy and Sri Lanka Airlines,
Aitken Spence Travel, Jetwing Travel, Ceylon Tours, Walkers Tours, LSR
and Lanka Holidays who are actively involved in the promotion of Sri
Lanka in the Chinese market, participated at the Fair.
Despite the difficulties facing in the Sri Lanka travel trade in the
global market at present, a very positive response was received from
Chinese buyers at the Expo to the satisfaction of the Sri Lankan
participants which encouraged them with their efforts to penetrate the
Chinese market, the world’s fastest growing travel market.
The exhibition paved the way for Sri Lanka and Chinese travel sectors
to interact with each other for better cooperation in future activities.
The participants expressed their appreciation to the Sri Lanka Tourism
Promotion Bureau and Sri Lanka Embassy for their continued efforts to
capture this market.
They agreed that time has come for the Sri Lankan travel companies to
join the rest of the world to focus on new destinations like China.
China being a huge territory and a competitive market, more investment
and focus is needed to get a visible impact.
By 2015, China is expected to become the largest outbound tour market
in the world. Last year alone, there were 47 million outbound visitors
from China towards approved destinations all over the world.
BITE, which is fully sponsored by Beijing Municipal Tourism Bureau
jointly with China National Tourism Administration, is the biggest
annual travel fair in Beijing. This year, around 80 countries
participated with more than 1,000 hosted buyers and thousands of Chinese
Performances of ‘Channa-Upuli Performing Art Foundation’ at the Sri
Lanka pavilion during the three day period attracted large number of
Chinese visitors and media. Sri Lanka pavilion which depicted the
national heritages and the beauty of country was selected as one of the
most outstanding booths presented.