Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara Recognized by Fit Reisen for Quality

23 Mar

Aitken Spence Hotels’ wellness resort Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara was recently commended for their excellence in quality and standards by Fit Reisen Germany leading provider of health and wellness travel, with the Quality Certificate in the category of ‘ayurveda and yoga’. This is the fourth consecutive year the resort has received this recognition.

The certification which highlights the property as one of the highest quality and best rated hotels further confirms Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara’s position as the ultimate in spiritual, physical and mental harmony through customised healing rituals following the ancient traditions of Ayurveda.

The certification is awarded after a careful assessment process where Fit Reisen’s experts only accept and select partner hotels with strong service and quality orientation and a clear focus on spa and health. Customer reviews also play a vital role in this process.

The evaluation takes note of the state and cleanliness of the hotel, service staff, hotel room and atmosphere; taste, variety and balance of food and; health factors such as quality of treatment, pool, spa, treatment rooms, leisure activities and nature and surroundings.

An ayurvedic treatment destination, the 64-roomed property is located in Beruwala and caters to the niche segment of wellness-seekers. Uplifting treatments by professional ayurvedic specialists, extraordinary cuisine and outstanding hospitality is what guests checking-in at Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara receive. Formally known as The Neptune Hotel Beruwala, the property underwent a complete refurbishment and commenced a journey as a wellness resort in late 2011. The resort also acts as a responsible tourism institution, uplifting indigenous arts & crafts of Sri Lanka and takes to the world a message on authentic healing through organic produce and holistic well-being.

With partners in over 50 countries, Fit Reisen has for over 40 years offered guests from around the world high quality travel, focused on health and well-being holidays.


Aitken Spence Rated Platinum Consecutively for Corporate Accountability

21 Mar

Aitken Spence PLC was rated Platinum for its corporate accountability practices and performance in the STING Corporate Accountability Index 2018 for the 6th consecutive year. The leading conglomerate has been ranked among the top three companies in the index since 2011.

Published by LMD bi-annually, the index rated the top 50 companies from the LMD 100 (excluding investment companies) as well as key state-owned enterprises on a holistic and integrated model covering corporate responsibility, sustainability and governance. STING Corporate Accountability Index, which is currently published every other year in the LMD magazine is the country’s most comprehensive ranking of corporate entities on their commitment to corporate accountability.

The integrated sustainability policy and its implementation framework that drives the sustainability strategy of the group has been categorized as the best in policy coverage in the index on many occasions.

The index assesses the companies in six areas of corporate values; stakeholder engagement; impacts, risks and opportunities; policy coverage; management and governance; and measurement and disclosure. Each of these areas consist a range of criteria that should be in place to operate through a truly responsible framework. There are 5 categories to the ranking namely, Platinum: 75-100, Gold: 60-74.9, Silver: 50-59.9, Bronze: 40-49.9 and Unclassified: 39.9 and below. The rating reflects the extent to which the largest companies operating in Sri Lanka have embedded accountability and responsibility in their daily operations in becoming sustainable business entities.

Accountability is strongly attested by Aitken Spence that also won the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2017 conducted by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The company has been ranked among the Top 10 Corporate Citizens for an unprecedented 12 consecutive years.

“We look at sustainability as a part of our business strategy to be more reliable to our stakeholders and more competitive in the marketplace. Our diverse sectors pose a myriad of opportunities to grasp and risks to manage. The Aitken Spence corporate sustainability framework provides a framework for our various sectors to align their business strategies to achieve resilient growth”, said Dr. Rohan Fernando, Director and Head of Business Development and Plantations of Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence is a blue-chip conglomerate with a strong regional presence in the Hotels, Travels, Maritime Services, Logistic Solutions, Plantations, Power Generation, Financial Outsourcing, Insurance, IT, Printing and Apparel sectors.

Aitken Spence Aviation Wins Award for Airport Operations – Individual Winner

13 Mar

Aitken Spence Aviation employee, Mr. Vasantha Kudaliyanage (Customer Service Manager, Singapore Airlines) won the award for Airport Operations – Individual Winner, at the Singapore Airlines annual awards 2017 held recently. The award was presented to Vasantha by Regional Vice President Mr. Joey Seow in Perth, Australia.

The individual winners were selected after a process based on commendable work and a compilation of all compliments received from passengers for the exemplary work done by individuals and teams across the West Asia and Africa (WAA) stations. Sub-continent countries include – India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Other individuals and teams that joined Mr. Kudaliyanage in winning the award were from India, South Africa and Dubai.

Mr. Kudaliyanage excelled in service by demonstrating key attributes such as taking initiative and ownership and offering great customer service that has made him a service champion and a role model figure while been an inspiration to his team. Other instances he assisted many passengers some of which included a UN peacekeeping mission to Timor-Leste for a group of 34 Sri Lankan police officers. Mr. Kudaliyanage went above and beyond a restricted time period to deliver excellent service in liaising with Singapore SATS Police, SilkAir, SQ SSE, the Sri Lankan High Commission and the local Sri Lankan Police Force. Furthermore, he assisted several passengers such as overcoming flight delays and efficiently dealt with lost personal belongings. Mr. Kudaliyanage has been a key figure in providing excellent customer service at Singapore Airlines and he is well known for going above and beyond in assisting numerous business and individual passengers. In light of such outstanding service, he has consecutively been awarded the following;

2017 – RVP West Asia & Africa – Airport operations Individual winner
2014 – RVP West Asia & Africa – Airport operations Individual winner
– Merit
2010 – CEO TCS Awards 2010 – Highest award in the network
2009 – RVP West Asia & Africa – Airport operations Individual winner

Aitken Spence, which is the longest standing GSA of Singapore Airlines worldwide, commended Vasantha Kudaliyange on his continuous achievement that instil values such as quality and reliability that are hallmarks of the Aitken Spence service.

Aitken Spence Logistics Pursues Continuous Fleet Enhancement with World Class Equipment

6 Mar

Aitken Spence Logistics, further exemplified its commitment towards continuous improvement with enhancements to its fleet of equipment. The new addition of equipment falls in line with the belief of delivering service par excellence for the company’s longstanding clientele.

Amongst notable additions to the fleet are six new forklifts, twelve new prime movers and an empty container handler to advance its operations in the fields of Container Freight Station (CFS), Transportation and Inland Container Terminal (ICT). In keeping with the belief of maintaining uncompromising standards of quality, the purchases were made from Toyota, TATA and KONECRANES.

KONECRANES is a globally renowned brand in the lifting equipment industry, lending its high quality products to a broad range of customers engaged in a multitude of industries across the world. The selection of equipment vendors is carried out by Aitken Spence Logistics with reliable quality and service in mind and has been a success factor for the company in the years of its operation.

“We believe it is essential that we maintain the highest levels of quality and reliability in all our operations. This has always been something that we emphasise and take pride in. With the expansion of our client base, we have maintained a consistent level of quality that made us successful from the inception of our business and this is our greatest achievement. We have remained closely aligned with the best in our industry and our investments reflect this belief that the best in the industry must partner the best,” commented Mr. Janaka Gunawardena, Chief Operating Officer – Aitken Spence Logistics.

The new additions to the fleet are part of the continuous expansion and upgrading of capacity that Aitken Spence Logistics have led in the recent past and the company aims to achieve improvements in service quality and efficiency through consistent enhancements to the fleet. As such, the company will also add on to its fleet a brand new 10 Ton Boom Truck in the near future aiming to strengthen its project cargo logistics capabilities.

Aitken Spence Printing Retains Top Spot in the Industry for the 4th Consecutive Year

22 Jan


Sri Lanka’s leading printer, Aitken Spence Printing was recognized for the fourth consecutive year as the industry’s best, by winning the Gold award in the Printing & Related Services category at the National Business Excellence Awards 2017.

The recognition is proof of its position as the ‘best-in-class Printer’ in Sri Lanka, which has pioneered many innovative benchmarks and enriched the industry with sought after professionals over five decades.

“Winning the gold award consecutively in the printing & related sector is reflective of our commitment, every day, to deliver value-oriented, innovative, and sustainable printing and packaging solutions to our stakeholders. We take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to all our customers and other stakeholders for their precious and continuous contribution, guidance and support to achieve this recognition”, said Mr. Prasanna Karunathilake, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Printing.

Aitken Spence Printing is the market leader and the preferred print solutions provider for discerning local and global clients. Its wealth of experience spans over five decades of proven skill and reliability coupled with unmatched customer care.

The National Business Excellence Awards is an annual award competition conducted by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) with a structured evaluation model of seven perspectives – excellence in leadership, excellence in corporate governance, excellence in capacity building, excellence in performance management, excellence in local and global market reach, excellence in corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability and excellence in business and financial results.

Last year, Aitken Spence Printing received the prestigious GSK 2016 Environmental Sustainability Award alongside the US-based DOW Chemical Company. The awards recognized the vendors who excel in sustainability from an international pool of suppliers who work with GSK. Aitken Spence Printing is the only carbon neutral printer operating in a LEED-Gold certified facility, in South Asia.


Stanford MBA Students Visit Aitken Spence on Study Visit to Sri Lanka

13 Jan

Thirty MBA students and several professors from Stanford University visited Aitken Spence PLC as a part an intensive study tour to Sri Lanka, recently.

The students’ visit was aimed at gaining a deep understanding of how Sri Lanka was healing from the deep wounds of decades-long armed conflict and how the country is embarking on an ambitious social and economic development programme. During an intense one-week programme ended on the 5th of January, the visiting group held meetings with leaders of the private and government sector, non-governmental organisations and social organisations.

The visit of the Stanford MBA students and faculty was made possible by the 2017 Distinguished Careers Institute Fellow at Stanford University Tushara Canekeratne, Founder & CEO, Nadastra, Inc.and Co-Founder of Virtusa Corporation.

The MBA students from Stanford University engaged in discussions with Aitken Spence directors, J M S Brito (Deputy Chairman & Managing Director/CEO), Stasshani Jaywardena (Head of Leisure) and Dr. Rohan M Fernando (Head of Business Development & Plantations) on a range of topics that included external business challenges, strategy, government relations and sustainable business.

Stanford School of Business is one of the top business schools in the world. The Stanford MBA program, with a 6% admission rate, enrols the most selective class among business schools. Faculty includes Nobel laureates and pioneering thinkers in areas from economics to organizational behaviour and operations. The school convenes a full panoply of CEO speakers, forums, and global leaders.

Aitken Spence Travels Partners TUI to Bring 12 Charter Flights from the UK

22 Nov

Aitken Spence Travels is attracting the only charter flight operation from the UK to Sri Lanka this season, with 12 flights scheduled to land from 14th November 2017 to 30th April 2018. The charter operated by TUI UK will see a Thomson Airways 300-seat Dreamliner bringing in 3,600 tourists from the UK over the course of five months.

Holidaymakers will be accommodated in 15 beach resorts from Waikkala to Hikkaduwa as well as in several hotels in Cultural Triangle, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya.

The charter operation is expected to generate more than 25,000 room nights to hotels in Sri Lanka during the season, giving a significant boost to the industry’s demand from the UK. As the official ground handler, Aitken Spence will be organizing logistics, transport, accommodation and tours of all the travellers.

The first flight which landed on Tuesday 14th November was warmly welcomed by Aitken Spence Travels at the Bandaranaike International Airport with traditional dancers.

This is the second consecutive year that Aitken Spence Travels has attracted the large charter operation from the UK. Previous to last year, the last charter from the UK market was in 2010. Since then it has taken much effort and dedication to convince the charter operators to resume their flights back to Sri Lanka considering the aggressive competition posed by competing destinations.

Tourist arrivals from the UK has shown steady growth over the last few years, growing by 16 per cent in 2016 to 188,159 while arrivals in 2017 till the month of September stood at 153,971, according to official sources.

“Aitken Spence Travels is the only destination management company in Sri Lanka to handle a charter from the UK. This is due to our longstanding partnership with TUI, a global giant in the tourism industry. A great amount of effort was made over the year to secure the charter for the second consecutive year despite tremendous competition from other destinations. Our commitment, consistency in service and agility displayed during the charter operation last year helped us secure the charter for Sri Lanka this year. Sri Lanka as a tourist destination needs to be promoted more aggressively among the UK public in order to capitalize on the efforts made by industry players”, said Prasanjit Perera, Vice President, Aitken Spence Travels.

Aitken Spence Travels to Bring 13 Charter Flights from Poland This Season

9 Nov

Strengthening a new front in its efforts to promote tourism to Sri Lanka, Aitken Spence Travels announced that it will be attracting 13 charter flights from Poland this season, with one arriving every 10 days till mid-March 2018.

The flights are a result of the longstanding partnership between TUI, the world’s largest integrated tourism company and Aitken Spence Travels.

Sri Lanka’s largest travel company said that the first of the charter flights arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Saturday the 4th November. The 189 Polish tourists were warmly welcomed by Aitken Spence Travels with lotus flowers and by a performance by traditional dancers.

A total of about 2400 Polish tourists are expected to arrive through this Charter operation generating an estimated 12,285 room nights, mostly at beach properties in the island.

“Despite the severe competition in the industry, we were able to convince TUI Poland to operate this charter flight with Aitken Spence Travels to Sri Lanka.  We will extend our fullest support to TUI Poland to promote the destination aggressively among their agents.  With the previous experiences that we have gained, we are confident that this charter operation will be a great success.  We will work with TUI Poland to strengthen our partnership to allow more Polish tourists experience Sri Lanka’s varied attractions”, said Niranjan Rodrigo, Vice President, Aitken Spence Travels.

Ireneusz Golabek, Head of Operations and Destination Services, TUI Poland said, “The TUI Polish charter will operate this winter season from Warsaw to Colombo. We are very happy and excited to be operating this charter with our long-standing destinations partner Aitken Spence Travels. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country and can offer much more than the Sun and Beach. I am confident and feel strongly that the Polish Travellers will also be excited to explore the beautiful nature and culture your country has to offer. The excursions developed by our destinations partner is exciting and very good. We will look at the feedback of our Polish customers to explore continuity. I am happy that we have managed to grow from a very small operation to what we are enjoying today and am hopeful that it will grow from strength to strength.”

Arrivals from Poland to Sri Lanka in 2013 was 9688, which grew by 38% to 13,370 in 2014. However, numbers stagnated to 13,245 in 2015, while picking up by 9% in 2016 to 14,432. Polish arrivals to Sri Lanka from January to September in 2017 has seen a drop of 2% year-on-year. The Aitken Spence – TUI Poland charter operation is expected to boost the tourism arrivals from Poland to Sri Lanka.

Aitken Spence Second Quarter PBT Up by 15%

9 Nov








Aitken Spence PLC posted Rs. 1.12 bn as profits before tax in the three months ended 30th September, an increase of 15.4% year-on-year. Profits attributable to equity holders of the company increased by 8% to Rs. 584 mn while revenue rose by 24.5% to Rs. 12.26 bn, in the quarter from last year.

Earnings per share for the quarter was Rs. 1.44, an increase of 2.3% over the corresponding period.

Financial results released to the Colombo Stock Exchange on Monday showed revenue of Rs. 23.9 bn for the six months ended 30th September 2017, a growth of 37.5% over the corresponding period last year.  Profit before tax for the six months rose by 23.8% to Rs. 1.8 bn, while profit attributable to equity holders of the company increased by 18.9% to Rs 939 mn.

Revenue from all four sectors, namely Tourism, Maritime & Logistics, Strategic Investments and Services, increased over the six months, compared to last year.

“The Hotels sector occupancy levels have improved over the past year, although yields have been challenging across the markets that we operate, especially in Sri Lanka and the Maldives”, said J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence initiated a waste-to-energy project in August this year that would add 10 MW to the national grid in two years, in addition to providing a long-term solution to the garbage disposal problem in the Colombo Municipality.

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC, a group company divested its entire holding in its fully owned subsidiary M.P.S. Hotels (Pvt) Ltd., on the 21st of September 2017. The resultant gain on disposal of this investment is reflected under other operating income.

Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983, Aitken Spence is a blue-chip conglomerate with a strong regional presence in the Hotels, Travels, Maritime Services, Logistic Solutions, Plantations, Power Generation, Printing, Financial Outsourcing, Insurance, and Apparel sectors.

Aitken Spence Travels to Bring 20 Charter Flights from Russia this Season

31 Oct

For the second consecutive year, Aitken Spence Travels will be bringing in 20 charter flights from Russia for the annual season. The first charter flight for 2017/18, a Boeing 767 operated by Royal Flight arrived in Sri Lanka on Friday the 27th October carrying 325 tourists from Russia. The charter operation was realized through the longstanding partnership between Coral Travel, a leading travel company in Russia and Aitken Spence Travels, Sri Lanka’s largest travel company. Aitken Spence served an unprecedented 153,000 visitors to Sri Lanka, during its last financial year.

The tourists who arrived on the charter flight were given a warm traditional welcome by presenting the national flower of the country and by a welcome performance by traditional dancers. The charter operation from Russia this year is expected to generate around 30,000 room nights, via a network of 55 hotel partners of Aitken Spence Travels.

“Due to the difficult market conditions last year, the Russian arrivals to the country was not positive. However, Coral Travel has maintained their confidence in the destination by continuing the charter program this year by working with Aitken Spence Travels to operate the Charter. The numbers from the Russian and CIS regions to Aitken Spence Travels has grown by 86% as a result of a very strong promotional campaign carried out by our partners”, said Vice President of Aitken Spence Travels, Darell De Crusz.

Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels Mr. Nalin Jayasundera commented, “This Charter will be operating thrice monthly once again, in cooperation with our longstanding partner – Coral Travels. We must convey our appreciation to the dynamism and the commitment of Coral Travel for believing in Sri Lanka as a destination. Whilst the destination faces many challenges, we believe that strong partnerships fostered over the years and aggressive marketing is the way forward”.

Significantly Coral Travel Celebrated their 25th Anniversary this year and has continued to offer the best resorts and hotels in 35 countries of the world including Sri Lanka. The brand Coral Travel is positioned in the Russian market as a brand of reliability and quality and has had a strong and healthy partnership with Aitken Spence Travels who have been in the DMC business for four decades.