Global Travels picks raffle winners
Special promotion with Mihin
Air and Arpico Privilege Card
The Richard Pieris Distributors Ltd (Arpico) Supercentre
Privilege Cards have become increasingly popular among their
large number of regular customers. These cards recently gained
an added boost when the RPC Global Travels launched a special
promotion drive with Mihin Lanka and Arpico Privilege Card from
December 15th, 2007 to January 31st, 2008, where around 11,000
Privilege Card holders become eligible for a raffle draw held at
RPC Global Travels office in Colombo, on Friday, February 15.
The prizes offered were as follows: 1st prize – A free air
ticket to Singapore; 2nd prize – A free air ticket to Dubai and
3rd prize - a free air ticket to Bangkok.
The raffle was drawn with the participation of representatives
of all three organisations who were co-partners in the
promotional drive. The 1st prize was won by Shehara Pethiyagoda
of Colombo, the 2nd prize winner was S. S Bandara of Piliyandala
and the 3rd prize winner was Samuel Ranjan of Mt Lavinia. The
winners will be notified shortly, and the prize air tickets will
be awarded on February 21, at Arpico Supercentre at Hyde Park
Corner. The winners of Arpico Free Shopping Spree promotional
drive, will also be awarded prizes on the same occasion.
Franklyn Mendis, Managing Director, RPC Global Travels speaking
on the occasion of the raffle draw said that all Privilege Card
Holders who had earned 100 points during the promotional period
became eligible for the draw.
He said that normally card holders who have purchased items
above Rs 10,000 earned 10 points, and the same criteria applied
to Mihin Lanka travellers who were cardholders.
Among others participating at the raffle draw were Nirosh
Gunawardana, Executive, Mihin Lanka, Subhashini Weerasinghe,
Business Development Executive, RPC Global Travels, Anil
Senewiratne, Customer Relationship Manager, and Niransha
Rodrigo, Marketing Trainee – CRM, both from Richard Pieris
Aitken Spence 9-month
profit up 16% to Rs 1.9 b
Sri Lanka’s leading conglomerate Aitken Spence
released its Q3 financial results to the Colombo Stock Exchange
on Tuesday. The blue chip reported a Rs 1.9 b profit before
taxation and Rs 1.1 b profit attributable to the shareholders
for the nine-months ending December 31, 2007, a growth of 15.8%
and 20.7% respectively, compared with 2006.
Group Turnover increased significantly by 35.1% to Rs 18.7 b, up
from Rs 13.8 b in 2006. Earnings per Share increased 20.7% from
Rs 33.65 to Rs 40.63.
The Group made renewed efforts in the corporate responsibility
front during the period under review, with the Company opening
the Aitken Spence School of Hospitality in Ahungalla, as a joint
effort of Aitken Spence PLC. The School will provide training to
close to 100 rural youth from the surrounding region annually.
The Company resuscitated what used to be a closed down garments
factory, with the opening of the Aitken Spence Apparels factory
at the Koggala Export Processing Zone, under the “NIPAYUM SRI
LANKA” 300 Enterprises Programme, initiated under the Mahinda
During the period under review, Heritance Kandalama was yet
again recognized for its environmental commitment by the popular
US-based Travel & Leisure magazine and Conservation
International as one of the top 15 green hotels in the world.
The Company is pleased to note that this recognition has raised
Sri Lanka’s profile as an eco-tourism destination,
In a period which saw Aitken Spence Hotels winning many
international and local accolades, The Sunday Times, UK, in its
September Travel issue, named Sri Lanka’s first theme hotel, The
Tea Factory, among the “World’s Best 100 Places to Stay”, while
the London-based The Independent named it as one of the top five
factory hotels in the world.
The Group’s leadership in tourism in the country, was officially
recognised at the inaugural Presidential Awards for Travel and
Tourism, winning five prestigious awards, which made it the most
awarded Group. The awards were won by Heritance Kandalama- Best
Five-star Resort, Aitken Spence Travels- Best Destination
Management Company, Aitken Spence Conventions and Exhibitions-
Best Professional Conference Organisation, Dimuthu Kumarasinghe-
Best Chef and Ravindra Palagolla- Best Chauffer Guide.
The Group’s resorts in the Maldives have continued to contribute
strongly to the Company’s performance. Vadhoo Island Resort, the
latest addition to its Maldivian portfolio, commenced operations
during the period under review.
Superior service offering and loyal clientele from amongst the
international and local markets, helped improve figures from Sri
Lankan resorts, despite the challenging security climate.
The Group’s first two Indian resorts, Poovar Island Resort in
Kerala and Barefoot at Havelock in the Andaman Islands,
commenced operations during this financial year. Five more
properties located in various parts of India, are expected to
commence operations in the near future.
The Company last week announced that it has signed an agreement
to manage four hotel properties in Oman, becoming the first Sri
Lankan company to enter the Middle East hospitality industry.
Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Aitken Spence, J.M.S.
“Satisfactory performance from our diversified portfolio has
helped us report steady results for the nine-months under
The fragile security climate within the country has exposed
tremendous challenges to the Economy, especially to the Tourism
sector. We are confident that, given improvements in security
and macroeconomic stability, would bring in greater investments
into the Economy.”
Satisfactory performance was achieved from infrastructure
development sector, with the Company strongly pursuing several
projects within the sector in Sri Lanka and overseas.
The Group’s pioneering venture into the port efficiency
management in Durban, South Africa, Africa’s busiest port, paid
rich dividends during the period under review. The Company is
presently evaluating similar opportunities in the continent and
beyond. Meanwhile, the recent shipping agencies acquired by the
Group, strengthened the profits of the Cargo Logistics sector.
The Integrated Logistics sector contributed positively to the
performance, mainly due to the improved performance of the
Depot, Warehouse and Transport activities, maintaining market
leadership within the industry. The Freight Forwarding arm of
the Group, experienced difficulties during the period under
The Group’s investment during the latter part of the last FY in
the inward remittance market, through its Western Union agency
operation, fared well during the quarter under review and has
achieved a substantial increase in its agent network with over
1,000 sub agent locations islandwide.
Emirates invests in RFID trials at three
Emirates Airlines has
announced it is partnering with London Heathrow, Dubai
International and Hong Kong International airports to trial the
latest RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology in
Emirates will be investing close to AED 2 million to test the
effectiveness and benefits of RFID against the existing barcode
tracking system. The largest-ever trial of its kind for the
airline industry, some half a million bags on Emirates flights
will be tagged with RFID chips over the six-month duration of
The Dubai-based airline hopes its investment will help
revolutionise the way bags are tracked and monitored, and
present innovative solutions to handle the increasing volumes of
baggage every year as more people around the world use air
travel more frequently.
Emirates Airport Services Divisional Senior Vice President Dale
Griffith said, “This is about embracing the latest technology
for the benefit of our customers, and we are very glad to be
able to embark on this extensive trial together with our airport
partners. Our investment in this project is a small price to pay
to give our customers greater peace of mind.
“Previous RFID trials by other parties on a smaller scale have
shown that the technology almost eliminates scanner ‘misreads,’
significantly improving the efficiency of the baggage system and
customer experience. We are now applying this on a much larger
scale at three major airport hubs, including Emirates’ Dubai
home-base, thus allowing the trials to include most possible
baggage handling scenarios, including international transit.”
With 58 of the double-decked A380 aircraft entering Emirates’
service, each doubling the number of bags handled per aircraft,
the airline is keen to find innovative technologies and new ways
to improve baggage handling infrastructure and safeguard the
level of trust of its customers.
Griffith added, “We look forward to sharing the results of this
trial with IATA, which we know will be following developments
closely. If this trial is as successful as we expect, Emirates
will be encouraging airports across its network to embrace this
technology. This could become a new industry standard for
RFID equipment has been installed at some of Emirates’ check-in
desks at the three participating airports. During the trial,
trained staff will apply tags containing RFID chips to bags as
part of the normal check-in process. The chips contain stored
information including the bag unique ID number and route. In
addition to the embedded RFID chips, these tags will also
continue to display the traditional bar code.
The chips are read as they pass through the airport’s baggage
system, enabling effective sorting, security screening and
delivery to the aircraft. Arriving bags are read on entry to the
baggage system and receipted into the system for effective
tracking. Essentially, the chips will enable bags to be tracked
at every stage of their journey, and minimise the possibilities
for mishandling baggage.
In the future, RFID technology could also make it possible for
airlines to send a text-message alert to notify passengers the
moment that their luggage has arrived on the baggage carousel –
meaning customers will have one less thing to worry about as
they begin their holiday or business trip.
Bureau picks Phoenix Ogilvy
Tourism Bureau has selected Phoenix Ogilvy, leading advertising
and marketing communications company, as its communication
partner to promote and develop Sri Lanka tourism.
Six agencies vied for this much coveted tourism account and
Phoenix Ogilvy has been singled out on the strength of their
strategy, presentation and proposals. “We needed an agency to
build a partnership for the development and expansion of tourism
and Phoenix Ogilvy was the most suitable in terms of what they
offered,” commented an SLTB Official.
The selection was done through a rigorous process of evaluation
and assessment of the proposals. The pitch was led by Phoenix
Ogilvy Chairman Irvin Weerackody and Ogilvy & Mather Advertising
Asia Pacific Vice President David Mayo.
Mayo said of the win; “We worked hard to make sure that the
strength of the Ogilvy & Mather network was put behind our
submission. As a destination, Sri Lanka is at the axis of so
many requirements of the 21st Century tourist and our strategy
focussed on this unique combination.”
He continued, “One rarely finds such a well managed and rigorous
pitch process. We are very much looking forward to working with
Sri Lanka to build their destination credentials.”
Commenting on the new business win in more depth, Chairman
Weerackody said, “Promoting Sri Lanka as a preferred tourist
destination is not about pretty pictures, elegant phraseology or
metoric. It must be driven by sound strategy. We had a good
strategy in place, which was the result of extensive research
done globally and locally.”
Weerackody further said, “Modern day marketing requires a
connect with ethos of current tourism. Understanding the ethos
of the modern day tourists to Sri Lanka requires not only
demographic research but also psychographic research as a
fundamental pillar of product marketing. The new tourist
population seek more than sights and sounds, they want more
interaction with the soul of the destination. Therefore, the
brand strategy must reflect the soul of Sri Lanka. This was the
basis of our thinking.”
Continuing Weerackody said, “While we believe in a philosophy of
integrated marketing we were mindful of the fact that by far the
largest and the most extensive tool of modem tourism marketing
is the internet. That explains why more and more destination and
tourism products invest ever-increasing portions of their budget
to promote online. Research shows that the prospective tourists
increasingly turn to online sources for destination information
rather than to traditional travel agents.”
Phoenix Ogilvy in Sri Lanka has the most diverse and widest
client portfolio including Coca Cola, British American Tobacco
Sri Lanka, GlaxoSmithKline, Nestle, Singer Sri Lanka, DHL,
Energiser, Hemas, NDB, Ceylinco Insurance, Dialog Telekom etc
and employs over 200 in its group including Ogilvy Action,
Ogilvy PR, Ogilvy Landscape (Outdoor) & Ogilvy Media. Ogilvy
operates in 134 countries and ranks No.3 Marketing
Communications Company in the world.
Sri Lanka Tourism ties up with Al Jazeera TV
Lanka Tourism reveals an aggressive plan to
promote the Middle Eastern destination
Sri Lanka Tourism has joined hands with Qatar based Al Jazeera
channel on a major publicity campaign targeting Arabic speaking
travellers in the Middle East market.
Accordingly, a delegation headed by Deputy Tourism Minister
Faiszer Musthapha visited Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar for
“There is a need to be more aggressive in promoting the
country’s image among Middle Eastern travellers. Under the
advice of the President, I have made special programmes and a
strategy to promote Middle Eastern travellers to Sri Lanka,” the
Minister said while addressing a stakeholders’ meeting
comprising tourism experts and airline operators in Doha.
He also said, “The flight connectivity for Middle East is the
best out of all countries and a wealthy Arab population coupled
with large number of expats will provide an ideal opportunity
for Sri Lanka to be one of the most preferred destination for
them which is only four and a half hours away.”
He further said, “We want to tap into the opportunities, which
are abound in the Middle East because there is a lot of
disposable income and they are looking for new destination in
the changing geo-political situation.
The main objective of the visit was to negotiate and give
exposure to Sri Lanka through Al Jazeera network.
The number of expatriates in the Middle East has increased
including those from the West and Asia, especially with sound
financial status and ability to travel. The Middle East market
shows a growth of 31% in 2007 while other markets (except
Russia) indicated a decline.
Al Jazeera assured its fullest corporation to Sri Lanka and
agreed to consider this partnership beyond pure commercial
Accordingly, Sri Lanka will receive editorial coverage, special
interviews, exposure on the website and enhance the visibility
of the English language channel.
Commenting on this partnership, Vice Chairman and Managing
Director Ahmed A. Al-khulaifi said, “We are looking at this
partnership beyond pure commercial transactions. There is a lot
to offer from our side and we are a different media agency. We
are delighted to assist Sri Lanka Tourism.”
Al Jazeera who will soon be opening their media training school
has also come forward to offer special media training for Sri
Lanka Tourism staff. They also responded favourably to the
proposal by the Deputy Minister to establish their South Asian
hub in Colombo.
The Asian-base of Al Jazeera is located in Malaysia and another
centre in Colombo will provide added advantage to showcase the
The initiative with Al Jazeera will feature adverts,
documentaries and talk shows on the rich diversity, investment
opportunities and festivals and other interesting events of Sri
The proposed campaign in Al Jazeera is a joint destination
promotional effort between Sri Lanka Tourism and SriLankan
Airlines. The campaign is expected to commence first week of
March targeting holiday booking period of Middle East travellers.
SriLankan Holidays’ now 24 times better
Holiday makers will have an entire 24 hours
added to their holiday to create more cherished memories as
SriLankan Holidays’ gives away an extra night for free.
Valid for selected destinations, the offer is part of SriLankan
Holidays new Mega 999 line up for 2008.
New to the line-up are holiday offers to Frankfurt, Paris,
London, Tokyo and Ooty, giving holidaymakers 24 Mega 999
packages to choose from.
General Manager SriLankan Holidays, Amith Sumanapala said “We
are very excited with the new destinations and look forward to
more exciting offers throughout the year.”
“As always, we try to give holidaymakers something extra and one
extra night of holiday time will definitely give holidaymakers a
chance to catch up on all those last minute errands, including
some more shopping.”
SriLankan Holidays offers a wide range of packages to meet the
varying interests of holidaymakers, from religious tours, to
family getaways and romantic holidays.
Throughout the year, the leisure arm of SriLankan Airlines also
offers special interest packages like international cricket,
rugby and soccer tournaments, live concerts and country specific
The Mega 999 line-up, featuring holiday offers to eleven
destinations in India, six destinations in the Far East and
three in Europe including a package to London, start at
Standard packages including airfare, two nights and three days
star class accommodation, airport transfers and all taxes.