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Aitken Spence Hotels Victorious with Heritance Hotels Sweeping the Culinary Art Expo 2019

28 Oct

Aitken Spence Hotels Culinary Art Food Expo 2019 – Winning Team

 

Aitken Spence Hotels showed their mettle at the Culinary Art Food Expo 2019 walking away with the championship trophy and an impressive 130 medals in total. Heritance Hotels & Resorts were the stars of the show clinching 126 medals.

Heritance Aarah Maldives emerged ‘Overall Champion’, the second win for the luxury resort within just few months of operations. The property also excelled at the Food & Hospitality Asia Maldives 2019 (FHAM) competition with the highest number of awards won by an individual property.

Heritance Hotels along with Turyaa collectively won 42 Gold, 37 Silver and 51 Bronze medals. Aitken Spence Hotels received the most number of medals for a company at this event.

Heritance Kandalama emerged ‘Most Outstanding Cultural Triangle Team’ with 4 Gold, 11 Silver and 19 bronze medals. Heritance Ahungalla won 22 medals while Heritance Negombo won 21 medals. Heritance Tea Factory and Heritance Ayurveda won 4 medals in total. Turyaa Kalutara also won 4 medals at the competition.

Known as South East Asia’s biggest food and hospitality show, Culinary Art Food Expo was organised by Chefs’ Guild of Lanka together with World Association of Chefs Societies and CDC Events & Travels. The event was held from 22-24 October 2019.

Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, Executive Director – Aitken Spence PLC and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels congratulated the teams, expressing delight over the many accolades. “Aitken Spence Hotels, and especially the Heritance properties, are known for their distinction in the culinary field. Our resorts, irrespective of its location, have been commended many a times on the unique F&B offering – by certifications, awards and most importantly, our guests. As such, the awards that are brought home from this competition are not a mere matter of pride but a reiteration of our commitment to nurture talent and present only the very best to those who walk in through our doors,” she said. Ms. Jayawardena, who also heads the Tourism and Leisure sector of Aitken Spence, added “The achievements of Heritance Aarah Maldives is especially commendable as it has been in operation for just a few months and have won two championship awards both in Maldives and Sri Lanka.”

Ms. Jayawardena also asserted that this recognition reflects the Company’s dedication to excellence and passion to drive innovation. “Since inception, the Company has been steadfast in its commitment to cultivate talent, promote innovation, inspire youth and local community development. This is evidence of the talents of our youth and we are proud to call them part of our family. We hope they utilise all available resources to improve their capabilities and together, create memorable holidays for our guests.”

The winning team was recognised at a ceremony held at Aitken Spence Towers, presided by Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director, Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence Hotels is part of the Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC and operates 21 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India. The Company’s owned hotels are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands, popular around the world for its exceptional service and undisputed product and curated lifestyle experiences. The Company’s Sri Lankan portfolio includes 11 resorts spread across the island, whilst the Maldives resorts totals to five, four in Oman and one in India.

 

Heritance Aarah

Aitken Spence PLC among the top ten whilst Aitken Spence Hotels bag sectoral accolade at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards 2019

25 Oct

Building on its tenacious journey towards excellence, the conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC was ranked among the ‘Top 10 corporates for the Best Integrated Report’ at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards 2019 held for the fifth consecutive year. Adding colour to the prestigious event and its portfolio of recognition, Aitken Spence Hotels Annual Report presented under the theme “The Moment Momentum” walked away with the award for the Best Integrated Report – Hotels & Travels Sector whilst securing a certificate of Merit for Overall Excellence in Integrated Reporting.

The esteemed awards ceremony organised by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (CMA), was graced by the Chief Guest – Honourable Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya and Keynote Speaker – Prof. Mervyn E. King SC, Chair Emeritus of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and former Judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa.

The Aitken Spence Group with its long and distinguished history of over 150 years as one of the nation’s most respected conglomerates with thriving business interests in major industry sectors in Sri Lanka and beyond, have created a vibrant business enterprise by being smart and far-sighted and now adept at perceiving where the best avenues for value creation lie. The 36th annual report of Aitken Spence PLC based on the theme ‘Future Fit’ reflects the Organisation’s strategic direction that has transformed over the years, embracing international best practice in corporate reporting. It is the eighth integrated annual report which contained information for providers of financial capital and is of interest to other valuable stakeholders. The corporate’s aim is to communicate relevant material information in a concise but comprehensive manner, providing a balanced review of its performance.

As one of the leading Sri Lankan hospitality enterprises, with a uniquely diverse portfolio of properties spread across the region, Aitken Spence Hotels believe that when they create special moments for the people while protecting the environment and creating value for the communities served, they are creating not just one moment, but extraordinary experiences in every sphere of their operations. The eighth Integrated Annual Report of Aitken Spence Hotels comprises rich information that communicates the alignment between the strategy, stakeholder needs, business model and triple bottom line performance.

The dual awards won by the Group and Hotels segment at the CMA Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards is a further testimony to the Organisation’s commitment to international best reporting practices such as GRI and the IR Framework issued by the International Integrated Reporting Council.

Ms. Dilani Katipearachchi Vice President (right) – Corporate Finance and Ms. Shinska Wijesinha – Asst. Manager (left) Corporate Finance receiving the Aitken Spence PLC Group recognition as one of the Ten Best Integrated Reports.

 

Mr. Jeevaka Weerakone – COO Aitken Spence Hotels(right) and Mr. Dammika Ekanayake – Assistant Vice President (left) Aitken Spence Hotels receiving the award for the Best Integrated Report – Hotels & Travels Sector and a certificate of merit for overall excellence in Integrated reporting.

Aitken Spence Hotels celebrate 14 awards at the South Asian Travel Awards 2019

22 Oct

Aitken Spence Hotels reaffirmed their position as a trendsetting industry leader in hospitality, achieving the highest number of wins at the recently concluded South Asian Travel Awards (SATA) 2019 – winning six regional awards and eight country awards.

Aitken Spence Hotels in Sri Lanka, Maldives and India were recognised in the Gold and Silver categories.  Gold awards were awarded for the South Asian region and silver awards were presented in the respective countries (Sri Lanka, Maldives and India).

The iconic Heritance Kandalama brought home wins for both Sri Lanka and South Asia under Leading Eco-friendly Hotel/Resort. Heritance Kandalama, designed by the legendary Geoffrey Bawa, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. The world’s first tea factory that was converted into a hotel, Heritance Tea Factory was awarded the Leading Theme Hotel/Resort in Sri Lanka and the region. Providing an authentic ayurvedic experience and having presented Sri Lanka as a leading wellness provider to the world since 2011, Heritance Ayurveda was adjudged winner, again, from both country and region as Leading Wellness and Spa Hotel/Resort. The hotel with the widest beachfront in Sri Lanka, Heritance Negombo was adjudged the winner for Leading Designer Hotel/Resort Sri Lanka.

Aitken Spence Hotels in the Maldives contributed to the wins with Adaaran Prestige Water Villas – Leading Bungalow/Villa, Adaaran Select Meddhupparu – Leading Dive Hotel/Resort and Adaaran Select Huduran Fushi – Leading Surf Hotel/Resort. The three resorts won awards in both the country category as well as the South Asian region.

Turyaa Chennai, India, located in the IT corridor and enjoying success as a business hotel won the country award for Leading Boutique Hotel.

Speaking of the recognition, Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management.Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena expressed her delight in having secured the most number of wins at South Asia’s most prestigious hospitality and travel industry awards.

“As a key player in the highly competitive and ever-changing industry of hospitality, Aitken Spence Hotels have consistently pursued excellence not just in the experience offered to our guests but also in the work environment enabled for our suppliers and staff. We endeavour towards this with a commitment to attain sustainable growth, contributing positively to the people, planet and economy. Awards such as these reaffirm our strategies and our vision towards creating this holistic growth through superior product offering and service from the heart,” she asserted.

“In all hotels where we are located, we work tirelessly to offer our guests a holiday that celebrates locality whilst promoting unique opportunities for them to experience. The awards we have won celebrate just this,” she said. Ms. Jayawardena thanked the management teams, the General Managers of the Hotels and the entire Hotels team for their dedication which has undeniably strengthened the growth of the company.

Launched in 2016, the prestigious awards for travel and tourism stakeholders in the region has affiliations from regional associations. The awards were held for the third consecutive year at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, India. With over 500 entries from Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Bhutan under 36 categories; the recognitions thus received further reiterates Aitken Spence Hotels’ leadership in the region as an innovative hospitality service provider.

Aitken Spence Hotels portfolio consists of 21 properties, with eleven owned and managed properties in Sri Lanka, five in Maldives, four in Oman and one in India. The hotel chain recently introduced the ‘Heritance’ brand of hotels to Maldives earlier this year with the opening of premium all-inclusive all-villa property, Heritance Aarah.

 

Heritance Kandalama

Leading Eco-friendly Hotel/Resort – Sri Lanka

Leading Eco-friendly Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Heritance Tea Factory

Leading Theme Hotel/Resort -Sri Lanka

Leading Theme Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Heritance Ayurveda

Leading Wellness and Spa Hotel/Resort – Sri Lanka

Leading Wellness and Spa Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Heritance Negombo

Leading Designer Hotel/Resort – Sri Lanka

 

Adaaran Prestige Water Villa

Leading Bungalow/Villa – Maldives

Leading Bungalow/Villa – South Asia

 

Adaaran Select Meddhupparu

Leading Dive Hotel/Resort – Maldives

Leading Dive Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Adaaran Select Huduran Fushi

Leading Surf Hotel/Resort – Maldives

Leading Surf Hotel/Resort – South Asia

 

Turyaa Chennai

Leading Boutique Hotel – India

 

Aitken Spence Hotels introduces LEED certified architecture to Maldives with Heritance Aarah

26 Sep

Aitken Spence Hotels, a subsidiary of Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC, took its premier brand Heritance beyond the shores of Sri Lanka for the first time, with the introduction of Heritance Aarah earlier this year.

Heritance Aarah embraces the brand promise of the Heritance chain of hotels, where tradition is alive.  The property is nestled in an island in Raa Atoll, just a 40-minute seaplane ride away from the Male International Airport. With five successful Heritance properties in Sri Lanka, each boasting of inimitable stories of culture merging with hospitality and comfort, the move to open this latest resort comes with the expansion plans of Aitken Spence Hotels.

Coincidentally, Aitken Spence Hotels was also the first Sri Lankan resort operator to venture overseas for hospitality services with its entrance to the Maldives with the Adaaran hotel chain. The well-established Adaaran Resorts includes the stunning Adaaran Prestige Vadoo, Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, Adaaran Club Rannalhi and Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi. Heritance Aarah joins this élite group of properties with a unique proposition of quintessentially traditional, curated experiences delicately woven into a five-star luxury resort.

Akin to the Heritance properties in Sri Lanka, each strategically designed in exciting locations, the island of Aarah on which the resort lies is home to a large lagoon and reef, welcoming guests to a tropical tapestry of the perpetual paradise that is Maldives.

Operating as a premier all-inclusive resort, Heritance Aarah consists of 150 villas including 26 intimate luxury duplex ocean suites, 56 sunset ocean villas and 68 land villas ranging from beach villas to pool beach villas, family beach villas and family pool beach villas. Designed to inspire and custom-built to immerse guests in the scenic sights and soothing sounds of the ocean surrounding the island, Heritance Aarah is adorned with earthly hues and vibrant blues.

Guests can indulge in the many charms of the island at a poolside bar and an open-air rooftop venue while ocean suite guests can enjoy a more exclusive space with three separate bars. With nine outlets for guests to experience diverse cuisines, the culinary culture unfolded at the resort is intended to promote exclusive gastronomic delights from around the world. The six restaurants offer a wide range of flavours from Asia, Europe, Middle East to Latin America. The award-winning F&B team of Heritance Aarah has illustrated their exceptional culinary skills clinching 19 Golds at the Food and Hospitality Asia Maldives (FHAM) 2019 competition, the highest number won by an individual property.

Accentuating this impressive offering are the the overwater infinity pool and the medi-spa equipped to cater to the rising demand in the wellness segment with state-of-the-art treatments and equipment. The spa, with six treatment rooms set over the lagoon with views of the eastern coast of the island, provides a range of high-end wellness and pampering treatments, salon services, beauty treatments and programmes. From weight loss to anti-aging treatments, massage therapy to body care, facial care to revitalisation programmes, Heritance Aarah is set to become a destination for those pursuing wellness combined with leisure and luxury.

With variety being the spice of life, the resort hosts a dive and water sports centre, a range of excursions and adventures, an interactive and engaging kids club, and traditional local activities to present a unique luxury holiday experience to guests. Keeping with the brand promise of Heritance to promote culture and tradition at the forefront, the resort unveiled an exciting calendar of daily activities including coconut leaf art workshops, cookery demonstrations for traditional sweets and dishes, traditional Maldivian bodu beru drumming and a memorable local island dinner.

The resort also follows the ingrained ethos of sustainability and ethical commitments of the Aitken Spence Hotels group. Heritance Aarah has drawn the best practices from the Group and has successfully implemented many an initiative which includes (but not limited to) reduction of single use plastic, coral reef restoration and sustainable sourcing with close integration with local communities. Heritance Aarah is the first property in the Maldives to attain the LEED Gold Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – the most widely used green building rating system in the world).

Heritance Aarah is the first property in the Maldives to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

LEED buildings save energy, water, resources, generate less waste and support human health. Given the increasing demand and pace of green building in the hospitality sector, LEED is an official recognition that a project complies with the requirements prescribed within the LEED rating systems by the U.S. Green Building Council. Having achieved the Gold level certification from the most widely used green building rating system reiterates the sustainability commitment of Aitken Spence Hotels group.

“Our strategies to expand are led by guests’ expectations and design-led refurbishments to enrich the experience at our properties. A key priority is to ensure our resorts contribute positively to protect and preserve the environment and the ecosystems we operate in. We are proud that we were able to introduce the Heritance brand to the Maldives as the first LEED Gold certified property in the islands,” commented Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management.

“I give credit to the team that has worked tirelessly and conducted extensive research and integrated innovative and sustainable strategies to reduce the carbon and water footprint by 30% and 55% respectively,” she asserted. “These have been successfully implemented and have aided in creating a healthier and safer working environment while maximising guest comfort. These strategies I believe, have contributed towards achieving this milestone for Heritance Aarah.”

Heritance Aarah has opened its doors with a distinctive experience, offering guests a truly one of a kind holiday.

For more details, visit www.heritancehotels.com/aarah.

Aitken Spence Hotels’ Oman sector GMs recognised

30 Aug

Leading hospitality chain Aitken Spence Hotels’ Oman sector was recognised for their service excellence at the recently concluded Oman Leadership Awards 2019 with two of their General Managers being awarded as ‘Oman’s Best General Managers’ in the ‘Hospitality’ category.

The Company’s Al Falaj Hotel General Manager – Hotel Operations and Sales, Praveen George and Desert Nights Camp General Manager Anurin Jansen – Oman Hotels and Tourism Company SAOC, were acknowledged at the award ceremony at Crowne Plaza Muscat by CMO Asia. CMO Asia is the only global network of executives from 110 countries specifically dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers. Held as part of CMO Asia’s 10th anniversary, the awards were endorsed by World Sustainability, World CSE and World Federation of Marketing.

A true trendsetter, Aitken Spence was the first Sri Lankan company to venture into hospitality services in Oman (2008), adding to its credentials of being the first to enter the Maldives (1993) and India (2007) in the same industry, creating avenues for international exposure for our skills. Part of the Company’s prestigious portfolio of properties, Desert Nights Camp is the only luxury desert camp in Oman with 39 Bedouin-style tented luxury accommodation in 10 acres of golden sands in Al Wasil. Al Falaj Hotel is a renowned business hotel in Oman catering to the business and corporate segment of the market. Both hotels are differentiated by their unique offering, standing true to the Aitken Spence promise of delivering distinct experiences.

The award winners – George and Jansen – boast of 3 and 8 years with Aitken Spence respectively and counts over 60 years in experience collectively.

Speaking of the achievement, Aitken Spence Hotels Chief Executive Officer for Middle East, Srinith De Silva commended the duo for their hard work and commitment to excellence. “It is indeed a proud moment to have our General Managers appreciated among the best in Oman. Both George and Jansen have worked tirelessly to achieve excellence in service quality at our properties in Oman, keeping the banner of Aiken Spence flying high beyond the shores of Sri Lanka,” he said.

The awards are initiated to acknowledge those individuals who have achieved extraordinary success from innovative and effective people management and customer satisfaction practices in Oman. “It reinforces the quality of the experience and the development of our hotel brand in this region.” asserted De Silva.

Aitken Spence Hotels manage two other properties in the Middle East, Sur Plaza in Sur and Al Wadi Hotel, located in the ancient maritime capital of Oman and home to the legends of Sinbad, Sohar. The Company owns and manages 11 hotels in Sri Lanka including the famed ‘Heritance’ chain of hotels as well as Turyaa Kalutara, five resorts in Maldives with four under the ‘Adaaran Resorts’ and one, its latest property, under the ‘Heritance’ brand – Heritance Aarah; and Turyaa Chennai in India.

 

Aitken Spence Hotels’ sustainability ethos commended yet again!

22 Aug

Premier hospitality chain, Aitken Spence Hotels, reaffirmed their position as leaders in sustainable hospitality with four Heritance Hotels & Resorts properties walking away with multiple accolades at the National Sustainability Tourism Certification (NSTC) ceremony held on 5th August 2019.

Heritance Kandalama was the only property to be recognised in the Platinum category, the highest accolade awarded at the NSTC, whilst securing a special award for Environmental Preservation. Heritance Tea Factory was placed in the Gold category followed by a special award for Effective Sustainability Management. Heritance Ahungalla and Heritance Ayurveda were commended as Bronze winners.

This recognition programme was convened by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) with the technical and financial assistance of Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) of UNDP in mid-2018. The efforts capture the industry’s stance towards the global movement for sustainable tourism and to successfully compete as a high-demand destination.

Aitken Spence Hotels, having operated on a comprehensive sustainable model that takes into account the varied attributes that encompass the triple bottom line, has been a forerunner in the industry for its long-term vision supporting a well-balanced business ecosystem. Moreover, the hotel chain has been recognised both locally and internationally for its efforts. In particular, Heritance Kandalama pioneered the integration of environment and social conscious practices into hotel operations and implementing an extensive 7R system (Reject, Reduce, Reuse, Reclaim, Repair, Replace and Recycle) to reduce carbon and waste footprint.

Among its many accreditations are Heritance Kandalama being the first Green Globe 21 certified hotel in Asia, the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified hotel in the world and the first hotel chain in the World to have a certified energy management system (ISO 50001:2011). All Heritance Hotels and Resorts in Sri Lanka are Travelife Gold certified, while also adhering to ISO standards in environmental management, HACCP food safety and energy management.

“We are elated to be recognised in the National Sustainability Tourism Certification awards. It attests the hard work of our teams to provide exceptional hospitality services while also protecting the environment and empowering our communities.” Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management, Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena said.

“Aitken Spence Hotels have carved a niche in the industry for its forward-thinking holistic sustainability practices that goes beyond the general understanding from an ‘eco’ perspective. The practices have been firmly established within the core of our operations, enabling us to lead from the onset. Our teams continually work towards improving the processes year on year, combining our expertise with emerging trends to serve the industry in the most sustainable manner.” she added further.

More on the hotels’ sustainable endeavours can be viewed at http://bit.ly/33grgzY  (Annual Report 18/19).

The Heritance Hotels and Resorts is part of the hospitality arm of Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC which operates 21 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India. The Company’s owned hotels are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands, popular around the world for its exceptional service and undisputed product and curated lifestyle experiences. The Company’s Sri Lankan portfolio includes 11 resorts spread across the island, whilst the Maldives resorts totals to five, four in Oman and one in India.

Heritance Kandalama General Manager Priyan Wijerathne receiving the award

 

Heritance Tea Factory team receiving the award and certification

 

Heritance Ahungalla General Manager Sisira Senarath receiving the certificate

 

Heritance Ayurveda General Manager Janaka Buddhakorala receiving the certification

Landmark victory for Heritance Aarah and Adaaran Resorts at an International Culinary Challenge

30 Jul

Culinary prowess of the leading hospitality chain Aitken Spence Hotels was recognised with an impressive 94 awards at the recently concluded Food & Hospitality Asia Maldives 2019 (FHAM) competition, with its new entrant, Heritance Aarah clinching 19 Golds – highest number won by an individual property.

Heritance Aarah is the latest addition to the noteworthy hospitality portfolio of Aitken Spence Hotels. Opened in end March 2019, Heritance Aarah is Aitken Spence’s first ‘Heritance’ brand in an overseas operation. Heritance Aarah showcased its versatile food and dining offering through the 33 awards won in total. The team, trained and led by culinary maestros of the Group, brought home six silver awards, five bronze awards, three merit awards and 11 special individual awards; a testament to the superior F&B offering at the resort which features six (06) restaurants and four (04) bars. The culinary experience at the premium, all-inclusive resort includes international buffets such as French and Italian cuisines, Middle Eastern flavours, street food favourites, and many innovative dishes among the fusion of flavours offered.

Aitken Spence Hotel’s long-standing brand in the Maldives ‘Adaaran Resorts’ added to the overall jubilation with 62 awards, totalling the Group’s win to 94. Adaaran Select Meedhupparu won 19 awards, Adaaran Prestige Vadoo 14 awards, Adaaran Select Hudhuransushi 12 awards and Adaaran Club Rannalhi five awards. Additionally, Aitken Spence Hotels received 11 Special Awards.

The team competed with 500 chefs from international and local hospitality chains in diverse categories assessed by a panel of industry experts. The event was held from 15th-17th July 2019 in Dharubaaruge, Maldives.

“This recognition is a further testament to our exceptional culinary offering in the Maldives, which is a hallmark of our properties. I am delighted at this significant win. With Heritance Aarah shining at FHAM just three months since it opened doors, guests from around the world would have got a glimpse of the quality and creativity they can experience at a Heritance or Adaaran property.” said Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management Stasshani Jayawardena.

Whilst congratulating the team, she also noted the commitment of the Group to offer innovative culinary wonders to the industry. “The awards highlight our continued efforts to raise the bar in service, quality and the overall experience. As a hospitality group that is globally renowned for superior service and unique offerings, our continual efforts are focused towards transcending guest expectations at every turn. With lifestyle experiences being a key deciding factor, our resorts in the Maldives deliver the finest curated excursions through exhilarating activities and memorable gastronomic experiences.”

FHAM International Culinary Challenge & Exhibition is recorded as the premier event experienced by the hospitality industry and is the largest gathering of the industry in the Maldives. The event is endorsed and certified by the World Association of Chefs and Society (WACS) and is organised in partnership with Chef Guilds of Maldives (CGM) and Chef Guilds of Lanka (CGL), in association with the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Studies of the Maldives National University, the Ministry of Tourism Arts & Culture and the Ministry of Economic Development – Maldives, and the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The involvement of all these organisations and institutions of Maldives makes it the official exhibition and culinary challenge for the hospitality industry of Maldives.

Ladies first! Aitken Spence Hotels invests Rs. 70 Mn in ladies’ accommodation facility at Kandalama

24 Jul

The tourism industry generates income and employment worldwide. According to global statistics published by the World Travel and Tourism Council in March 2019, 1 in 10 jobs overall in 2018 and 1 in 5 new jobs created over the last five years were attributed to the tourism industry. It has also created a plethora of direct and indirect opportunities across Sri Lanka. However, similar to global statistics, female representation in the tourism sector is considerably low.

When more women work, economies grow. Enabling economic participation for women pays enormous dividends for families, communities and economies. However, the gender parity in the workforce is the widest in emerging economies such as Sri Lanka due to many reasons. These reasons could range from social and cultural limitations to a dearth of required skills.

Premier hospitality chain, Aitken Spence Hotels has worked over the years to bridge the gap of required skills among youth. In their efforts to create and promote a conducive work environment as an equal opportunity employer, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC opened a well-equipped ladies’ accommodation facility at its most iconic property, Heritance Kandalama. This is yet another benchmark in the tourism and hospitality industry as this iconic property marks 25 years.

“Aitken Spence Hotels have always been a Company that valued and promoted equality and non-discrimination,” Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management, Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena said “The Company’s decision to invest Rs. 70 Mn in infrastructure is a reiteration of its commitment to enable greater access to our immediate communities to opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry, and our effort to ensure women also benefit from those opportunities. We are confident that our proactive efforts towards enhancing accommodation and amenities will increase the female representation within our workforce.”

The hotel maintains a close relationship with its immediate community and regularly conducts educational programmes at local schools to enhance skills and knowledge among youth. With their employment policies giving priority to local applicants, over 60% of its workforce is from the community within 35-40km radius. Families of new recruits are invited to observe the working environment at all properties to allow them the peace of mind of their child’s safety and wellbeing.

“Competitiveness of Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality workforce weighs heavily on promoting employment for women and youth. Encouraging higher involvement from these two demographics, however, remains a challenge. Young women are hesitant to pursue a career in tourism and hospitality due to a myriad of socio-cultural views. It is our belief that all efforts must be made to welcome more women into the industry and to create a working environment where they feel safe and comfortable; thereby making a positive ripple effect on the economy.” She asserted that the ladies’ accommodation is but one area of the Company’s investment towards attracting a more diverse workforce.

The newly launched facility can accommodate over 40 females and offers three room categories – for Executives, Supervisors and Non-Executives. Comparable in design to a guest room, this ladies’ accommodation is fully equipped with all amenities for the comfort of the employees. The facility also consists of two common lounge areas designed for rest and relaxation.

This initiative is a testament to the company’s commitment to empower greater female representation in the hospitality and tourism industry. Currently at Aitken Spence Hotels, 15% of the Management is represented by women, with 24% in the Executive cadre and 7% at Associate level. Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC has set an ambitious target to achieve 20% female representation by 2020 and hopes to continue improving on that. This initiative to build accommodation facilities for the female workforce will be gradually rolled out at the hotel chain’s other owned properties.

As one of the first signatories of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and a trendsetter in the industry, Aitken Spence is confident that the efforts thus unrolled will bear fruit in the future by setting a precedent for establishing tourism as a tool for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Heritance Kandalama ladies with their parents, Aitken Spence PLC Director, Head of Tourism & Leisure, and Chairperson of Aitken Spence Hotels Management Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, General Manager Mr. Priyan Wijerathne

Exterior

Indoor lounge area

Outdoor lounge area

 

 

Heritance Kandalama, the pioneer of sustainable hospitality turns 25 years

24 Jun

True progress can only be achieved when development is inclusive, responds to pressing needs and is sustainable environmentally, socially and economically. A green building was unheard of 25 years ago, let alone a five-star deluxe hotel property with 152 rooms with all facilities, that would protect and enrich its surrounding ecosystem in its pristine condition, provide sustainable income to the local communities and offer high-quality service to a plethora of visitors from across the globe. It always seems impossible till it is done. From the pearl of the Indian ocean, nestled among the lush greens in the Cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, the world got an example of sustainable development in the form of Heritance Kandalama. Today, Heritance Kandalama celebrates 25 years.

 

Intelligent design, Sustainable in its operation

Designed by renowned architect Deshamanya Geoffrey Bawa, the hotel resembles outspread wings of a bird, following the line of the cliff from which it seems to emerge. Due to the raised platform of the structure, natural water streams that passed through the area 25 years ago still flow unobstructed, enriching over 30 water systems downstream. Conceptualised to blend into the eco-system, the hotel allows freedom of movement for wildlife and vegetation.

Today, 100% of its wastewater and effluents are treated and repurposed; solid waste is segregated to more than 20 diverse types of waste and monitored to achieve an ambitious goals of zero waste reaching landfill; and energy is managed to reduce emissions. The hotel has undertaken the conservation of 58 acres of forest area, flora and fauna within the hotel and another 198 acres of forest cover adjacent to the property in its pristine condition protecting  128 species of native flora, 183 species of birds, 19 species of reptiles, 64 species of dragons and butterflies. The Eco Park at Heritance Kandalama has educated more than 3 million visitors to date.

Heritance Kandalama, part of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC, is the first LEED certified hotel in the world and the first building outside USA to be certified (LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world). It is also the first Green Globe 21 certified hotel in Asia and perhaps the most awarded hotel property in Sri Lanka.

 

Part of the community

The hotel started its journey by employing 80 local individuals from the area in 1993 with little to no experience in customer handling and hospitality. With the commitment of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC, these individuals have developed with the property. Now, our award-winning team is strengthened by over 60% members who are from the immediate community. With the policies of the property to give priority to local employment and purchasing, many suppliers are also local entrepreneurs.

 

25 years of celebrations

To commemorate this iconic concept that is more than just a hotel, the management has planned several events with the engagement of the local communities and institutions. Follow the property on social media to mark this occasion with the property and stand a chance to be a lucky winner of a memorable experience at the hotel.

For more details on Heritance Kandalama, log on to http://www.heritancehotels.com/kandalama

Aitken Spence Turyaa Chennai awarded ‘Best City Hotel’ at India Travel Awards 2019

6 Jun

Turyaa Chennai, part of the renowned Aitken Spence Hotels was recognised at the recently held India Travel Awards 2019-South as the ‘Best City Hotel’ further strengthening its position as an industry leader extending the best in service, product and offerings.

Having opened its doors in 2016, Turyaa Chennai was conceptualised to appeal to the changing lifestyles of the global traveller. With the digital revolution and globalization gradually changing the demands and preferences towards brand selection, the ‘Turyaa’ was developed to provide the guest with a brand that is more flexible, responsive, interactive and value driven.

The award, India Travel Awards 2019-South held for its fifth consecutive year is organised to recognise regional stalwarts and celebrate travel trade professionals for their contribution towards the industry. Award winners are acknowledged as the benchmark of the travel industry. The awards are supported by the Government of India and esteemed trade bodies including PATA, OTOAI, TAFI, ADTOI, IAAI, FHRAI etc.

Conveniently located just 20 minutes away from the International Airport and a drive away from the heart of the city, Turyaa Chennai is the ideal amalgamation of business and leisure. Dedicated towards offering guests a hassle free and all-encompassing staying experience, this five-star deluxe property fulfils every criterion of service excellence. The city hotel offers a superlative experience merging luxury with hospitality from the heart, an ethos that is carried forward as a Sri Lankan hospitality brand.

For those traveling to Chennai on business or leisure, the hotel offers special weekend deals online at www.turyaahotels.com/chennai/.