News digest: SriLankan Airline wins Leading International Airline award

eTN Global Travel Industry News reports that Sri Lanka’s national carrier and oneworld member SriLankan Airlines has once again won the Leading International Airline title at the prestigious Maldives Travel Awards.

Viewed as SriLankan’s extended home market, the airline currently connects the Maldivian capital to its extensive route network 21 times a week.

On 1 December 2016, the airline will expand its operations to Gan Island of Addu Atoll in the Maldives, becoming the first and the only international airline to serve the spectacular destination.



Chinese tourist arrivals to grow by 10 percent

The Xinhua news agency reports that Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka are projected to grow by a further 10.2 percent in the coming six months.

Jameson Wong, Director Business Development for the Asia-Pacific region at ForwardKeys told the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference in Colombo that the number of Chinese visiting Sri Lanka had grown by 29 percent in the year-to-date.

He said Russian travelers to Sri Lanka were also rising while the overall number of tourists visiting the island had grown at double the rate of international tourist arrivals to the Asia-Pacific region.



Hikka Fest 2016 welcomes world’s musicians

Travel and Tour World reports that HIKKA FEST 2016 – Ocean Vibe, aka Hikkaduwa Beach Festival, is a unique event, one-of-a-kind in the world of music and tourism.

It is characterized by the unique format of the event, variety of segments and performing features of musicians from different countries. This would be featuring openness to the new, the intrigue of contest, combination of entertainment and high artistic level of participants’ performance.

HIKKA FEST 2016 – Ocean Vibe will have a grand start on the 10th of December 2016 to 11th of December 2016 with a variety of fun filled activities and entertainment.



Tourism impacted by budget proposals

The Daily News reports Calamander Unavatuna Beach Chairman Roman Scott as saying that some of the budget proposals if ratified and implemented will have serious negative sentiments for tourism and also for foreign direct investments.

Speaking at the first Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference, Scott said that some of the new taxations that are to be introduced will be a disaster for investments to the country.

He said that unlike Sri Lanka, India can increase red tape, discourage FDI, change currency dimensions at their will and even close borders and survive. “However, Sri Lanka cannot do this and the government must understand this and offer concessions for investors rather than trying to squeeze them.”



A heart-warmer from UK junior school

And finally, the Solihull Observer in the UK reports that a Solihull school has raised more than £10,000 (SLR1,870,000) to help rebuild a war-torn school in Sri Lanka.

Pupils at Solihull Juniour School carried out a week of fundraising activities to raise vital funds to help rebuild classrooms in the Roman Catholic Tamil mixed-gender school in Puthukkudiyiruppu, in the northern Mullaithivu District of the country.

The children, aged seven to 11, held a book and accessory sale, a non-uniform day, a movie afternoon, a copper haul, a ‘tuck shop takeover’ and a staff versus prefects football match to raise £8,000.

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