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TOURISM

Spanish expertise to develop hotel schools

Koggala, Bandarawela get US $ 300,000 boost:

Sri Lanka’s tourism sector will need 600,000 more skilled personnel to be in line with Government expectation to cater to 2.5 million tourists in 2015.

Tourism is a labour intensive industry that needs sufficient human resources for it to grow, a tourism consultant said.

Education is the main tool of economic growth in a country and the Hotel Management School of Gallicia, Spain is actively involved in the human resources development in the tourism sector of Sri Lanka.

Strengthening the human resource in the tourism sector in collaboration with the UNDP, Hotel Management School of Gallicia-Spain has developed provincial hotel schools in Koggala and Bandarawela.

Under the project US $ 300,000 has been spent for the development of the two schools with computer laboratories and lecturers from overseas.

Hotel Management School of Gallicia-Spain, Consultant Marcos Tilve Rodriguez said the tourism industry in the North and East is untapped and the Hotel Management School of Gallicia-Spain is focussed to develop human resources in the area.

Hotel Management School of Gallicia-Spain hopes to focus on developing the Kandy and Ratnapura hotel schools followed with funds from Spain in the future. There has been an increase in the number of tourist arrivals from Spain to Sri Lanka.

“With the experience we had in Sri Lanka for the past three years from 2007, we will be able to promote it further.

The Hotel Management School of Gallicia-Spain has been able to change the attitude of females towards the tourism industry with an increasing number of female students. The Hotel Management School of Gallicia-Spain is involved in a similar project in Egypt,” he said.

“The diversified tourist locations in Sri Lanka and the alternative tourism areas such as eco, agro and community tourism will result in the increase of tourists,” United Nations Development Program Art Gold Sri Lanka Program Associate, Asanga Ranasinghe said.

Personnel in tourism industry, should be skilled in different sectors and proper training is needed for the future of the industry.

Catering to the need of 2.5 million tourists, the Tourism Ministry has introduced a Home Stay project called Rooms in Homes.

Interested household owners should be trained properly to meet the demand of the home stay project,” Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management Director-General Dr. D. A. C. Suranga Silva said.


Walkers Tours, Whittalls Travels gets ISO quality and environmental certification

Walkers Tours and Whittalls Travels the Destination Management Companies of the John Keells Group gained ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management and ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management certification recently to become the only destination management company in Sri Lanka to achieve these milestones.

“Having seen an end to the nearly thirty year scourge of terrorism in the country last year, with tourism in particular suffering the most, it was time for us to take advantage of the renaissance and give ourselves the competitive edge to work in a global market,” Destination Management Sector Executive Vice President John Keells Holdings Head Vasantha Leelananda said.

Leelananda is proud to have obtained both certifications. “Tourism has a direct impact on the environment and we have always wanted to pursue sustainable tourism strategies that would lead us to reduce impact on the environment.

“We have further cemented our ethos of being a responsible and committed corporate entity, taking leadership to preserve and protect the environment, which to us is the foundation of tourism,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer Walkers Tours and Vice President of John Keells Holdings Michael Elias asserts that adopting internationally accepted best practices and embracing global standards, we have taken our service levels to the highest plane. In addition, the fact that Walkers Tours has always been at the forefront of product development, creating - trekking, rafting, whale watching, incentives and many other special niche products in this country was recognised by ISO awarding the extended scope of Design and Development of Tourism products in the certification.”

Having developed the Quality and Environmental Management System and manual, Walkers Tours and Whittalls Travels cascaded its “Quality and Environmental Policy” to the entire team, while establishing objectives to tangibly assess the outcome of key processes within the ISO framework.

Walkers Tours and Whittalls Travels are now the only Destination Management Company in Sri Lanka to be certified for both ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 standards with the extended scope of design and development.


Pegasus Hotel makes Rs 12m profit in Q1

Pegasus Hotel PLC considered the first five star hotel in the country has recorded a commendable increase in net profits for the quarter ended March 31, 10 according to the recently released financial report.

The net profits of Rs 7.1 m in comparison to the corresponding period 2009 with a profit of Rs 1.9 m represents 265 percent growth. The turnover has increased from Rs 152m to Rs 176m for the financial year ended March 31’ 10 representing a growth of 16 percent. The growth for the entire financial year 2009/10 too as recorded an impressive 318 percent from a loss of Rs 5.5 m to net profit of Rs 12m.

Consequent to the elimination of terrorism it is the leisure section that would mostly benefit and accordingly tourist arrivals for the first quarter upto March has recorded a growth of 50.3 per cent from 106,702 to 160,409 arrivals year on year.

Pegasus Hotel PLC has recorded a high occupancy rate of 76 percent during the quarter under review. Since near average 90 percent occupancy is expected during the third and fourth quarters 2010/11 in star hotels in the country together with expected high rates for hotel rooms a net profit in the range of Rs 45 to Rs 60 m which is an upward revision compared to the earlier report is expected for the financial year 2010/11.

The other contributory factor would be the expected compensation of Rs 189 m which is the minimum as recorded in the balance sheet.


JKH Hotels perform well

Invests Rs 6 b on refurbishments:

John Keells Holdings Leisure sector recorded a significantly improved performance with tourist arrivals increasing consequent to the end of hostilities.

Overall, the Leisure industry group contributed 24 per cent to the Group’s revenue and 18 percent of the Group’s profitability with a PAT of Rs 973 million, this being a sevenfold increase over 2008/09 [2008/09: Rs 128 million] JKH Chairman Susantha Ratnayake said.

In anticipation of a rejuvenated leisure industry in Sri Lanka, a total of over Rs 6 billion has already been invested and/or committed by the Group.

The Trans Asia Hotel was refurbished and relaunched as Cinnamon Lakeside in September 2009. The Club Oceanic in Trincomalee was refurbished, rebranded and launched as Chaaya Blu in May 2010.

The south wing of the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, comprising of 254 rooms, was refurbished and reopened in May 2010. Four acres of land was acquired next to the former Hotel Bayroo giving a contiguous block of 10 acres on the prime Beruwala beach front on which we will construct a 190 room hotel to operate under the Chaaya brand in 2012/13, he said.

Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana will be upgraded and reopened in July 2010 and launched as a five star property in November 2010; initial work for the complete upgrade of Coral Gardens, Hikkaduwa has begun and it will be launched under the Chaaya brand in 2011.

In the Maldives, all the resorts, with the exception of Cinnamon Island Alidhoo, performed creditably despite a drop in tourist arrivals to the country.

“We will use our partner networks, and track record, to improve on the Maldivian performance in the current year. In keeping with our goal to provide uncompromised customer satisfaction, the Chaaya Lagoon, Hakuraa will be refurbished during the summer of 2010,” he said.

As we are aware, John Keells Hotels (KHL) successfully completed a rights issue of 1:3 at Rs 10, raising approximately Rs 3.64 billion to part finance the aforesaid expansions and refurbishments in the resort sector.

Apart from the substantial sums already invested and committed, as detailed above, we also plan to expand our Leisure portfolio by aggressively investing in this sector,” he said.

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