Sri Lanka Tourism towards a new era with SriLankan

SriLankan Airlines, reiterated its commitment, to support Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, as it embarks on a new era, under the guidance of a new management from April 1, 2008.
The initiative, will offer members of Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and Tourist Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) special airfares, to participate in international trade shows and exhibitions, held in any destination, in the airline’s global network.

SriLankan Holidays General Manager Amith Sumanapala, who is also spearheading the programme, to introduce a series of projects, that will have an immediate positive effect, for the airline’s internal and external stakeholders said, “This is a gesture of goodwill and celebrates the airline’s cordial relationship, with Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.”
SriLankan Airlines’ Industry Affairs Manager, Yasmin Majeed said, “We have always supported our colleagues in the travel trade, but this initiative, will regularise the practice.”

President of the Tourist Hotel Association of Sri Lanka, Hiran Cooray said, “SriLankan Airlines has always actively promoted Sri Lanka, as a tourism destination, and supported the industry, with regular special fares, encouraging travel into the island.”

President of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators, Dirk Griggson said, “The global tourism industry is a very competitive marketplace, and physical presence, is sometimes, the only way to make the key connections, and to promote a destination. This new initiative, will definitely help us, develop the tourism industry further.”

The upcoming Arabian Travel Market (ATM), hosted annually in Dubai, will be the first major international travel trade show, that Sri Lanka will showcase its tourism and travel products.

The Middle East is one of four key tourism growth markets, identified by the SriLankan Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB), and has already seen a number of initiatives, aimed at promoting Sri Lanka, to the Arab and expatriate population, in the region.
The ATM will give Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, an opportunity, to follow up on the initial promotional initiatives, rolled out earlier in 2008, when a pan-Arab advertising campaign was launched.


Qatar Airways operates daily flights to Kozhikode

Qatar Airways today announced plans to operate scheduled flights, to the Southwest Indian coastal city of Kozhikode, the airline’s third gateway in the state of Kerala from June 15.

Formerly known as Calicut, the city is Kerala’s third largest, with a population of almost 500,000 people, and is home to serene beaches, historic sites, lush green scenery and world-renowned Ayurvedic health treatments, a haven for holidaymakers, seeking adventure and relaxation.

Qatar Airways will operate daily non-stop services between Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, and Kozhikode, using an Airbus A320 aircraft. The airline already serves Cochin and Trivandrum, in Kerala, and a further six cities across India.

With a current capacity of 51 flights a week, spread across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Trivandrum, Nagpur and Hyderabad, Qatar Airways operates an extensive network of services, throughout the country. The addition of Kozhikode, its ninth destination in India, takes the airline’s frequency into the country, up to 58 flights, a week.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said that, the latest route announcement, reinforced the airline’s commitment, to expand its award-winning Five Star service across India.

“At present, India is the largest single market for Qatar Airways, with a network of eight, and in the future, nine cities which would have non-stop flights from Doha,” he said.

“An economic powerhouse, rapidly developing its infrastructure across all industries, India, is enjoying tremendous growth. Aviation, is just one of the key sectors, benefiting from such development, and thus, Qatar Airways is delighted, to be part of this economic growth, facilitating travel to and from India.

“During 2007 alone, Qatar Airways launched three new routes to India. Our new services to Kozhikode, will only strengthen our position, in this highly important market.

“There is a large concentration of expatriates from Kerala, living and working in the Gulf region, and together with tourists from Europe and other parts of the world, Qatar Airways, looks forward to welcoming passengers, on our new services, to make it a highly successful launch, into our third gateway in Kerala.“

Added Al Baker: “The addition of Kozhikode demonstrates our long-term commitment to India and we look forward to developing our network further across India as we explore new route opportunities to give the travelling public even more choice.”

Kerala State is one of the most desirable holiday destinations in Asia – a perfect retreat for holidaymakers looking to relax with the world-renowned Ayurvedic health treatment centres. It is also home to fascinating emerald backwaters, waterfalls, exotic wildlife, together with sprawling plantations and has the highest literacy rate of almost 100 per cent than anywhere else in India.


Qatar Airways’ China Week hailed huge success

Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker inaugurates office openings in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou

Qatar Airways today wrapped up a week of high-profile promotional activities across China, hailing the visit by management from head office and Asia a huge success.

Concluding a whistle-stop tour of three cities – Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai – Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker expressed his sheer delight at the hospitality and warmth of the people of China.

Al Baker officially opened Qatar Airways’ brand new sales and reservations offices in the the heart of the business districts of each of the three cities. And he rounded off launch activities in Guangzhou, the airline’s newest route to the southern Chinese industrial city, by hosting a lavish gala dinner at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

More than 300 guests drawn from corporates, travel trade and the media attended the five star event, which featured show-stopping entertainment direct from the Middle East. Earlier, during a packed press conference, Al Baker briefed Chinese and international media on the airline’s expansion plans.

Qatar Airways operates 20 scheduled flights a week from its hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar, to China. The capital Beijing is served four-times-a-week; Shanghai five weekly; Hong Kong daily; and Guangzhou with four flights-a-week, rising to five services from May 1.

Al Baker said: “The State of Qatar and China are celebrating 20 years of bilateral relations this year, and the relationship between both countries has grown from strength to strength.

“Since Qatar Airways entered the Chinese market in 2003 with flights to Shanghai, we have steadily increased our presence to this dynamic part of the world, to now cover three other important gateway cities, including our latest route to Guangzhou.

“It is an honour for me as Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Airways to be able to offer the traveling public to and from China a wider choice of flights and to serve the increasingly important business traveller.”

He stressed that as trade between the two countries increases, and indeed business between other countries and China steps up, Qatar Airways and its diverse network of destinations worldwide is able to facilitate travel to China’s prosperous political, financial and cosmopolitan cities.

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 62 Airbus and Boeing aircraft to 82 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Far East and North America. The airline has more than 200 new aircraft worth over US$30 billion on its order books for delivery starting this summer.


SL Tourism delegates to attend ATM, Dubai

Sri Lanka Tourism delegates headed by the Deputy Minister of Sri Lanka Tourism, Faiszer Musthapha, will set off for Dubai on May 6th, to attend the 14th annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM 2008) held at the International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

The ATM is the industry’s leading travel and tourism exhibition dedicated to unlocking business potential within the Middle Eastern and Pan Arab regions.

Sri Lanka Tourism attending the event for the fifth consecutive year, will participate in the intensive meetings, seminars, press conferences and social networking opportunities along with key market players from six continents.

The theme of the Sri Lankan stall this year will be ‘Ceylon Tea’. The stall will also display gems and jewellery and demonstrate handicraft making. The highlight of the exhibition will be the performance of Channa’s dance troupe.

A tactical promotional offer “Middle East Kids Go Free”, by SriLankan Airlines, for every adult ticket purchased one child offered a free flight, will also be launched.

Having seen the potential of the market, Sri Lanka Tourism will open the Tourism Promotion Office in Dubai next month with an officer in-charge for the Middle East region. Beginning of this year, Sri Lanka Tourism tied up with Al Jazeera TV channel to promote the destination.

The outbound tourist from the Mid East region has increased for the last few years. The highest performer between January and March this year was the Middle East, which registered an increase of 80.6% in comparison with 2007.

Of the 294.6% growth from the region in March this year, Iranian tourists formed the major portion with arrivals of 1,300 during the month. These arrivals were the result of the operation of nine charter flights supported by Sri Lanka Tourism.


Sri Lanka Tourism compiles a ‘Calendar of Events’

“If you are doing Sri Lanka proud, we will showcase you to the world”

Sri Lanka Tourism is in the process of compiling a calendar of events and is collecting information regarding events of interest to both Sri Lankans and visitors.

Sri Lanka ‘a land like no other,’ to many, is also a land of treasures. Its abundance of greenery and natural beauty and the rich cultural heritage draws many to this country. Most are repeat visitors, who look forward to witnessing and participating in local events. These visitors would like to plan their holidays to include such events, and the proposed calendar of events will be designed to help them.

Sri Lanka is also world renowned for its people - their creativity, intelligence and resourcefulness; some of whom work tirelessly at what they do and are doing their country proud, while pursuing their talents and passions, with very little publicity. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau would like to showcase as many persons and events as possible on their website and give wide global coverage to all who do their country proud.

From the majestic Kandy Perahera, to the colourful festivals of Hindu temples, events in Christian churches to Muslim religious activities; from sports to national festivities, art exhibitions, Kala Polas, Fox Hill Super Cross motor racing, horse racing - the list is wide and all encompassing. Sri Lanka Tourism invites individuals, organisations, associations - governmental and non- governmental, to send in details of events to be publicised, initially on the web. Plans are also underway to print an annual calendar of events for circulation among both tourists and locals. Hospitality industry partners are also welcome to send in news of special events and attractions.


Watch Elton John live with SriLankan Holidays

SriLankan Holidays takes holidaymakers to Singapore this May, to catch the legendary Sir Elton John live in concert.
Sir Elton John and his band will perform live in Singapore, as part of The Rocket Man Tour on May 7, 2008, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

SriLankan Holiday packages to Singapore to catch one of the greatest performers of all time, start at Rs. 69,999. The three night / four day packages include economy class return airfare, star class accommodation with breakfast and hotel transfers. Holiday packages for the event are available, at all SriLankan Holiday Offices and Agents in Sri Lanka.

Concert tickets have to be purchased separately, and are only available at www.livenation.asia on April 28, and range from 98 Singapore dollars upwards.

Elton John will be performing with his long-time band, Davey Johnstone (Musical director, guitars, mandolin, vocals), Guy Babylon (keyboards), Robert Birch (bass, vocals), John Mahon (percussion, drums, vocals) and Nigel Olsson (drums, vocals).
The extraordinary career of Elton John has spanned more than three decades, and he has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making him one of the most popular artists of all time.

His numerous hits include ‘Your Song,’ ‘Rocket Man,’ ‘Crocodile Rock,’ ‘Daniel,’ ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,’ ‘Candle In The Wind,’ ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me,’ ‘Philadelphia Freedom,’ ‘Tiny Dancer,’ ‘Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word’ and many more.

The release of ‘Rocket Man’ marked a huge anniversary for Elton ‘ on March 25, 2007, he celebrated his 60th birthday’ while breaking his own record’ with an unmatched 60th concert’ at the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York. No other entertainer has come close to matching this record.

Elton John’s achievements include: first popular Western singer to perform in USSR, 1979; playing to over 2 million people across 4 continents, 1984-86. Made Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1996; received knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II, February 24, 1998. Released biggest selling single of all time, “Candle In The Wind 1997” (over 33,000,000 copies sold), 1997. Received Honorary Doctorate, Royal Academy of Music, 2002, became Fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters and Composers, 2004.

The superstar has also won numerous awards, which include The Best British Male Artist Brit Award 1991, inducted into Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, 1994, five Grammy Awards 1986-2000, Grammy Legend Award, 2001, Kennedy Center Honor, 2004, 11 Ivor Novello Awards, 1973 - 2000.


Travel assured with Emirates and Bupa

 Emirates Airline has signed an agreement with leading UK-based insurer Bupa Travel Services, to offer customers extra peace of mind, when they travel.

Travellers managing their Emirates flight bookings online via www.emirates.com, would now be able to opt for travel insurance protection, which has been specially tailored, for Emirates customers.

These offers include: unlimited cover in the event of a medical emergency, credit card theft, and even kennel fees. Unlike most other offerings in the market, insurance cover can be purchased, by almost all nationalities (except residents of USA, Canada and Switzerland) for various trip durations, and for travellers up to the age of 80.

Nigel Hopkins, Emirates’ Executive Vice President Service Departments said: “Emirates is pleased to partner with Bupa Travel Services, to provide our customers, with tailored travel insurance options, made conveniently available, when they purchase their flights on-line with us.

“Emirates’ customer base span the globe and we needed a high-quality insurance partner, with an international reach, to match our own. We are confident, we have found the right fit in Bupa Travel Services, and look forward to working with them, to deliver and develop more such value-added travel services, for our customers around the world.”

Steve Flanagan, Commercial Director Bupa UK Membership said: “We are proud to partner with one of the world’s leading airlines. Bupa has worked in consultation with Emirates, to develop an exclusive and compelling insurance product, that would be conveniently available, to its customers around the world. We are confident that our product would prove popular, and we look forward to expanding our product range and relationship, with Emirates.