Archive | November, 2018

Aitken Spence Commences 150 yrs Celebrations with Religious Blessings

30 Nov

Aitken Spence inaugurated its 150th Anniversary Celebrations with a religious blessings ceremony that commenced on Friday, 30th November. The ceremony was held at Aitken Spence Towers in Colombo with the participation of senior religious leaders, board of directors, senior management and long-standing staff.

The religious blessings were invoked by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Venerable Galaboda Gnanissara Thero, Ven. Banagala Upatissa Thero, Ven. Monaragala Pagnayalankara Thero. Shri Luxmikantha Jegatheesa Kurukkal, Sheikh Arkam Nooramith, Rev. Fr. Deninton Subasinghe, Rev. Fr. Placidus De Silva, Rev. Fr. Felician and Rev. Sr. Selinta.

To mark the 150th year anniversary, lighting of the oil lamp by the distinguished guests followed by sacred blessings recited by the respective religious leaders that were present at the ceremony. Deshamanya D H S Jayawardena, Chairman of Aitken Spence PLC pinned the 15o years badge on the Deputy Chairman and Managing Director Mr. J M S Brito.  Following the unveiling of the 150 years logo at the lobby of the building, board of directors to the celebratory cutting of the cake marking the occasion, that was produced by award-winning chefs from Aitken Spence Hotels.

“Over the course of its history Aitken Spence has continued to adapt to an unprecedented variety of changes that are taking place in our industries, economies and societies, while growing both locally and globally. We will take this company to even greater heights in the near future” stated Aitken Spence Chairman D H S  Jayawardena.

“I would like to say that we are 150 years young. Our youthfulness shall enable us not only to understand the plethora factors locally and globally affecting business today, but to address its risks and exploit its opportunities, to keep moving Aitken Spence forward, as we have done for 150 years”, said J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

To conclude the ceremony, the Executive Director and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotel Managements (Private) Limited and Director of Aitken Spence Aviation (Pvt) Ltd., Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena gave the final closing remarks; “As we conclude this inaugural ceremony of the 150-year celebration, let us remember that the path ahead is bound to be ever more exciting and it is up to all of us, sitting here to paint the future with the brightest of colours of success. Let us not forget that no task worthwhile has come easy and let us continue a forward march to enrich this legacy of our past with our very own successes.”

Over the century and a half, the journey of Aitken Spence has created many benchmarks, pioneering endeavours and a reputation of integrity. In the recent Best Corporate Citizen Award 2018 organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Aitken Spence was the coveted winner for the second consecutive year and among the top 10 corporate citizens for an unprecedented 13th consecutive year.

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 Travels brings 24 charters from the UK

29 Nov

Aitken Spence Travels is attracting the only charter flight operation from the UK to Sri Lanka this season, with 24 flights scheduled from early November 2018 to 30th April 2019. The charter operated by TUI UK will see a Thomson Airways 300-seat Dreamliner bringing in tourists from the UK over the course of six months.

Holidaymakers will be accommodated in beach resorts from Waikkala to Hikkaduwa and the round tour clients will be accommodated in several hotels in the Cultural Triangle, Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya.

The charter operation is expected to generate more than 50,000 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 Travels will be organizing logistics, transport, accommodation and tours of all the travellers.

The first flight which landed on Wednesday 7th November was warmly welcomed by Aitken Spence Travels at the Bandaranaike International Airport with traditional dancers & lotus flower welcome.

This is the third 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 41 per cent in 2018 the country recorded a total of 205,377 visotors from UK against 166,489 visitors in 2017 by end October.

“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 third 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.

A perfectly crafted season with Aitken Spence Hotels

28 Nov

The magic of the month of December comes wrapped in a nip in the air, the familiar aromas of Christmas trees and gingerbread, the clatter of pans in the kitchen, in the deep red of mulled wine and the sparkles of décor that line every nook and corner. It is a time of rejoicing, of celebrating loved ones and happiness and the memories of a year gone by.

Amidst the beloved chaos of the season, Aitken Spence Hotels presents a carefully curated season for you – our treasured guests –  to make your holiday a special one. The hotels will unfold a spectacular season with exceptional culinary treats, generous gifting options, bespoke accommodation packages and an impressive heralding of a new year.

 

Heritance Negombo

Closest to Colombo, the bustling city of Negombo will be lit up in festive splendour with the array of events hosted at Heritance Negombo. A Goodie Hut featuring freshly baked cakes, cookies and seasonal treats that will open its gingerbread doors on 16 December at the Swiss Bakery at The Banyan, located across the hotel will set the tone for a tummy-full season. From 15-30 December, a festive afternoon tea session will be hosted at the See Lounge, promising an incredible start to the year.

Among the celebrations set for guests, one can enjoy a festive evening by the street at the Banyan and a celebratory dinner buffet at Bluetan on Christmas eve. On December 25th, guests can enjoy a sumptuous Christmas lunch buffet and a Santalicious dinner at Bluetan, and mini lunch buffet at Mad Dogs. Continuing the festivities, the hotel will host gourmet dinners from 26th to 30th of this month at the Bluetan.

To bid adieu to a year gone by, the hotel will host a new year’s feast at Mad Dog followed by a gala dinner at the Bluetan lawn. A new year’s bash is in store at the Rouge in Banyan to begin the year with a memorable celebration.

 

Heritance Kandalama

The eco-hotel, Heritance Kandalama has a bunch of exciting deals for the season including cocktail deals, seasonal high tea at the Sun Deck and rejuvenating treatments at the Coco spa.

The hotel will also host a goodie hut from 15th December onwards along with ‘gold hamper’, a seasonal basket of deliciousness. The hotel will host a Kiddies Fun Camp on the 24th  and 31st which would free the parents to have a relaxing time whilst the kids are kept busy with interactive activities.

Guests can enjoy a widespread gala dinner on Christmas Eve and both lunch and dinner buffets on Christmas Day at the Kanchana Lounge. A grand dinner spread also awaits those who choose to celebrate New Year at Kandalama.

 

Heritance Tea Factory

The hotel in the hills has a number of seasonal events planned for the month. A goodie hut along with a champagne toast at all outlets from the 20 onwards, seasonal concoction and cheese and wine promotions from 22nd onwards, are but a few! A six-course menu can be enjoyed on the eve of Christmas followed by a Christmas lunch for families to enjoy and a Christmas Day dinner buffet on the 25. The most awaited 31st Night Countdown Dinner shouldn’t be missed as well!

 

Heritance Ahungalla

Heritance Ahungalla celebrates the holiday season with Christmas carols and events to capture the best moments. The hotel caters to the youngsters this season with a Kids party on 22nd December at the Kiddies club and a Junior Chefs’ seasonal workshop on 23rd December at the Mirror Lounge. Guests can witness firework displays on Christmas eve and 31st night while enjoying the fabulous feasts. The hotel gives a celebration for everyone with a beach carnival for those looking for a fun evening by the beach and a cheese and wine evening for the ones looking for a relaxing time.

 

Turyaa Kalutara

Turyaa Kalutara will host an array of seasonal events from 15th December. A traditional Christmas Eve dinner buffet, an outstanding brunch on Christmas day and a Bye, Bye 2018 Sundown Cocktail evening by the beach. The new year will end with a gala dinner celebration at the North Wing Lobby.

 

Earl’s Regency

The most loved hotel in Kandy has a seasonal calendar that includes events for everyone! The goodie hut will be up and running from 20th onwards, alongside a seasonal high tea in the evenings. Guests can have an enjoyable time on the Christmas day at the lunch buffet and BBQ night. Regency Blitz 2018 will be held at the Regency ballroom on the last night of the year to complete the year in grand style!

 

Earl’s Regent

With Christmas high teas starting on 1st December, the hotel, known for its culinary prowess will offer seasonal treats for pre-order during the month, a sumptuous dinner buffet on Christmas eve and Christmas day festivities with a five-course lunch and an incredible dinner buffet. New Year’s eve is also set to be a memorable affair, if spent at the Regent!

 

Amethyst Resort, Passikudah

Amethyst Resort will host a special Christmas Eve dinner while the next day will feature a seasonal feast for lunch and a movie by the beach. Specialties for the season will include cocktail promotions, happy hour on 24th December and Christmas Mass in the morning of Christmas day. The end of a wonderful year will be celebrated at Amethyst Resort with an international gala dinner and a fireworks display!

 

Bandarawela Hotel

In the cool climate by the hills, the seasonal cheer will begin with a festive Sri Lankan and Western lunch buffet from the 20th to the 23rd of December and a traditional planter’s barbeque dinner on the 23rd. The hotel will host a special Santa’s Coffee Counter on 23rd, followed by a festive dinner buffet on 24th  a traditional breakfast, family lunch and carvery dinner buffet; treats for all three meals on 25th, Boxing day flambe dinner on 26th and a magical open-air BBQ and bonfire dinner on the 31st to welcome the new year.

 

Reservations

For reservations for any of the events mentioned or for stay inquiries, contact the Aitken Spence Hotels head office on 0112 308408.

Aitken Spence Travels welcomed charter from Poland for second consecutive year

26 Nov

Aitken Spence Travels welcomed its first charter from Poland together with TUI Poland for the second consecutive year. The Polish tourists were warmly welcomed by the staff of Aitken Spence Travels & TUI partner staff with flowers, beetle leaves and welcome dancers together with drummers performing a traditional Welcome to Sri Lanka.

The Polish charter will be attracting 13 charter flights from Poland with one arriving every 11 days until end March 2019. It is estimated that 24,000 room nights will be used by the Polish travellers, predominantly staying at beach properties and taking up day excursions to explore the diversity the country has to offer.

The flights are a result of the longstanding partnership between TUI, the world’s largest integrated tourism company and Aitken Spence Travels. Arrivals from Poland has shown a 6.3% growth in 2017 recording 15,346 pax against 2016 of 14,432 pax. However, country arrivals from Poland as at end September 2018 was 14,078 pax and is expected to grow positively.

Commenting on the Charter flight Niranjan Rodrigo, Vice President, Aitken Spence Travels stated “Despite the severe competition in the industry, we were able to convince TUI Poland to operate this charter flight with Aitken Spence Travels from Warsaw to Colombo, Sri Lanka. We have negotiated with hoteliers to make the destination attractive by way of special rates and have extend our fullest support to TUI Poland to promote destination Sri Lanka aggressively among their agents. We are confident that this charter operation will be a great success for the 2nd consecutive year and build confidence with our partners to continue the charter operation and look at avenues to grow the numbers.  We will work with TUI Poland to strengthen our partnership to allow more Polish tourists to visit Sri Lanka and experience Sri Lanka’s diverse attractions apart from the Sun and Sea proposition with attractive innovative tours & itineraries”

Aitken Spence Net Assets Increases to Rs. 112.30 Per Share – Improves performance in the Second Quarter

14 Nov

Leading conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC’s financial results released to the Colombo Stock Exchange revealed quarterly revenue increasing year-on-year (YoY) to Rs. 12.41 billion from Rs. 12.27 billion while revenue for the six months was Rs. 22.98 billion. The Group also recorded an improved net assets per share value of Rs. 112.30.

Profits-before-tax (PBT) for the six months ended 30th September was Rs. 1.45 bn while the quarterly PBT was recorded as Rs. 971 million, both recording decreases over the previous year. After discounting the exceptional gain on disposal of Hotel Hilltop in September 2017, the Group has recorded a PBT growth of 19% year on year in the second quarter and registered a significant improvement over the performance of the first quarter of the current financial year.

Earnings per share for the quarter was reported Rs. 1.19 while Rs. 1.71 was reported for the six months.

The tourism sector reported a decrease in profits-after-tax of Rs. 594 mn YoY. This was mainly owing to the significant gain from divesting in Hotel Hill Top that amounted to Rs. 307.6 million last year. The devaluation of the rupee had a negative impact on the translation adjustment of foreign currency loans taken by the tourism sector, which also witnessed a drop in the contribution from Meedhuparu resort in Maldives due to its investment made in the new resort Aarah. However, the revenue of the tourism sector was up 8.4 percent YoY to Rs. 12.06 billion from Rs. 11.12 billion.

During the quarter, Aitken Spence-owned Turyaa Chennai won the Leading Designer Hotel – India (South) 2018 award at the South Asia Travel Awards, while Heritance Ayurveda  Maha Gedara won the Silver Award (hotels category) for excellent contribution towards environmental conservation at the Presidential Environmental Awards conducted by Central Environmental Authority (CEA).

There were significant improvements in the maritime & logistics and services sectors. The turnaround of cargo sector and improved performance of the ship agency operation resulted in an increase in profit-before-tax for the maritime & logistics sector. The sector revenue increased by 10.2 percent to Rs. 5.62 billion from Rs. 5.10 billion. The quarterly profit-after-tax of the sector increased by 24.9 percent to Rs. 711 million from Rs. 569 million, over the previous year.

Capital expenditure incurred on the construction of Aarah resort in the Maldives and the waste-to-energy power plant in the north of Colombo resulted in an increase in property plant and equipment of the Group by approximately Rs 3.5 billion. Heritance Aarah is expected to open in February in 2019. It will be the first resort outside Sri Lanka to be branded as ‘Heritance’, introducing a premium all-inclusive offering with elegantly designed villas.

The landmark waste-to-energy project is expected help solve both the waste disposal and energy supply challenges in the country at present. The project would be equipped to convert municipal solid waste to electricity, aimed at greatly relieving the Colombo City of its waste disposal burden.

Listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange since 1983 and marking its 150th year milestone in 2018, 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 is the reigning winner of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability award while being the only company in Sri Lanka to be ranked as a “Best Corporate Citizen” by Sri Lanka’s leading chamber for 12 consecutive years.