Archive | March, 2019

Facilitating Cruise Tourism in Sri Lanka

31 Mar

Globally the cruise industry is projected to continue to grow throughout 2019 with an estimated 30 million travellers expected to cruise, up 6% from 28.2 million in 2018. The interest in Sri Lanka as a cruise destination is growing with its scenic beauty, diversity of its product offering, access to seaports located in Colombo, Galle, Hambantota and Trincomalee and the positive endorsement by Lonely Planet.

The Minister of Tourism Hon John Amarathunga along with the Chairman of the Tourism Advisory Committee is keen on developing this important tourism segment in order to entice and attract more cruise ships to Sri Lanka. Much work needs to be done and they wish to facilitate and encourage the government for a cruise terminal and find ways to ease cruise procedures, spruce up the passenger terminal facilities etc. Though Sri Lanka has four ports, it is important to find ways of developing these ports to be competing with other reputed cruise destinations in the region. In order to exchange ideas and find ways the Hon Minister of Tourism along with a high-ranking delegation met Mr. Norman Rasel Son, Cruise Director of the luxury Cruise Ship Silver Whisper.

The luxury cruise ship Silver Whisper, part of the Silver Sea Cruise liner company called over to the Colombo Port on Monday 25th March. Carrying 300 high-end luxury passengers who are on an around the world voyage, the ship first called over at the Trincomalee harbour on Friday 22nd March prior to calling over at the Colombo port on Monday. The Silver Whisper boasts of amenities of a grand resort. The charms of a stylish boutique hotel with world-class accommodations, shipboard conviviality and warm, individualised service, paired with the enhanced spaces and amenities of a larger ship.

Majority of the cruise passengers indulge in shore excursions to take a break from the sea journey and explore the country. Shore excursions such as the Geoffrey Bawa tour, the Vice Roy tour on the diesel engine locomotive, visiting the historical Kelaniya temple, spending the day with the Pinnawela elephants and Exploring the city of Colombo were undertaken by these clients before they departed.

In a background as this, Sri Lanka attracts around 60 cruise calls a year out of which majority of the shore excursions are handled by Aitken Spence Travels the leading DMC in Sri Lanka.

Those present & met with the Cruise Director Norman Rasel Sonof Silver Whisper;

  • Tourism Minister Hon. John Amaratunga
  • Head of the Tourism Committee Deshamanya DHS Jayawardena
  • Head of Leisure Sector at Aitken Spence Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena
  • Senior Advisor to the Minister Mr. Felix Rodrigo
  • Managing Director of Micato India Mr. Micheal Haidar Ali,
  • The Controller General of Immigration and Emigration & Commissioner for Registration of
    Persons of Indian Origin Mr. Nihal Ranasinghe

Aitken Spence Hotels among winners of Travelers’ Choice Awards 2019

18 Mar

The largest travel planning and booking site, TripAdvisor recognised Aitken Spence Hotels as winners of its Travelers’ Choice Awards 2019.

Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Ahungalla, Heritance Negombo, Heritance Tea Factory and Amethyst Resort were among the hotels that secured the accolade, granted based on consistent positive reviews collected over the past year. Heritance properties including Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Ahungalla, Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Negombo were also merited among the highest in the ‘Top 25 Hotels – Sri Lanka’ based on their exemplary service, quality and value.

The Heritance properties, a name that has over the years been synonymous with superior hospitality in Sri Lanka caters to discerning travellers who are explorers of culture and authenticity. Heritance Kandalama, the leading eco-resort is among the most awarded properties in the country with emphasis on architecture and eco-ethos. Heritance Ahungalla, the first five-star resort in the southern coastal belt is a haven of peace and solitude by the beach. A converted 19th century tea factory that today sings songs of the past through its unique design, Heritance Tea Factory has been a constant favourite among local and international travellers.

As a local hospitality chain that has and continue to aspire, to take the inherent warmth of Sri Lankan hospitality to the world, Aitken Spence Hotels pay heavy emphasis on refining service efforts whilst maintaining and improving the product. As such, the award is looked at as a further endorsement to the chain’s continuous efforts to develop its core products.

Held for the 17th year, the award honours hotels across categories including luxury, bargain, small, best service, B&B and inn, romance, family, and all-inclusive, as well as top hotels overall.

“Travelers can consider these award winners when picking the perfect hotel for their needs – for any budget or trip type – to help inspire their travels in 2019,” says Desiree Fish, Vice President of global communications for TripAdvisor in a statement with a congratulatory message to the hotels.

Aitken Spence Hotels, the premier hospitality chain owns and operates 11 hotels and resorts in Sri Lanka, in key tourist destinations and has been renowned for its unique products and impeccable service from the heart.

Elpitiya Wins Inter-Plantations Cricket Tournament

5 Mar









Elpitiya Plantations PLC won the inter-plantations cricket championship 2019 organised by the Dimbula Athletic & Cricket Club recently. The annual event is held since 2002 among the regional plantation companies, attended by the planters community.

Asela Udumulla, captain of the Elpitiya cricket team was named the Man of the Series and Man of the Match at the final.  It is the first time that the Elpitiya team has been able to come on top at the championship.

Elpitiya won all three matches against Maskelliya, Pussellawa, JDB and qualified for the finals against Thalawakelle Plantations. At the finals, Elpitiya scored 83 runs during their 05 overs while Thalawakelle scored 55 runs.

“The team worked hard and put on a combined effort at each match. We are thrilled to be able to win the championship for the very first time”, said the winning captain, Asela Udumulla.

The winning team from Elpitiya Plantations consisted of Asela Udumulla (C), Shihara Perera (VC), Anushka Baddevithane, Harith Muttettuwatte, Dilukshan Neshan, Pramod Bandara, Kanishka Ranchagoda, Gayan Ariyadasa, Mahesh Samarasinghe and Sajith Wijesena.

Managed by Aitken Spence since 1997, Elpitiya Plantations PLC is one of Sri Lanka’s leading producers of the most exquisite high-quality premium teas. Elpitiya Plantations has 13 estates located in up, mid and low country regions. Their core business is focused on cultivation and manufacturing of tea, rubber, oil palm, coconut and cinnamon. The Company has diversified operations into sustainable forestry development, eco-tourism, hydro power development, and specialty-tea manufacturing.