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Aitken Spence Travels, recognised as a ‘Best Employer’ in destination management

13 Aug

The largest inbound tour operator in the country, Aitken Spence Travels was recently recognised with a ‘Sri Lanka Best Employer Brand Award’ by World Federation of HR Professionals, endorsed by CHRO Asia. Aitken Spence Travels was the only destination management company to have been conferred as Sri Lanka’s Best Employer Brand in this platform.

This was awarded at the 4th edition of the Sri Lanka Best Employer Brand Awards 2019, held at Taj Samudra hotel recently. This is a regional platform linked to the Employer Branding Awards 2019-2020 (currently in its 14th edition) convened by the Employer Banding Institute of India as a build-up to the Global Employer Brands programme, part of the World HRD Congress which is into its 28th Edition in 2020.

This programme was launched in Sri Lanka to recognise the top companies and brands in Sri Lanka that have exemplary HR practices and have effectively used marketing communications for human resource development. Winners are selected by drawing reference from research illustrating highest regard for organisations as preferred employers among diverse stakeholders.

Commenting on this recognition, Mr. Nalin Jayasundera – Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels said, “We are humbled by this recognition. Our employees are our most cherished asset. In an industry with the highest rate of turnover, and a high representation of millennials, it is common knowledge that Aitken Spence Travels is seen as a training ground of sorts for the best talent. Regardless of the length of time served with us, we have consistently worked towards empowering our workforce with the required skills, experience, industry exposure and information and it is that commitment that has resulted in producing an award winning team. We appreciate these endorsements by globally reputed influencers, which serve to reinforce the Company’s commitment to continuously elevate its performance in the industry by drawing on the expertise of its partners and principals.”

Aitken Spence Travels, part of the diversified blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC, is a joint venture with TUI Travel PLC, and is the leading destination management company in Sri Lanka. Undoubtedly the largest inbound tourism operator in the country, Aitken Spence Travels affirmed its market leadership position by facilitating over 200,000 visitors to Sri Lanka within the 2018/2019 financial year, surpassing the previous year’s record number of 178,000 happy visitors.

In 2018/2019, Aitken Spence Travels invested over Rs. 250Mn to promote Sri Lanka as a destination in overseas markets. To manage ISO 9001:2015 Travelife Partner certified quality of service, every effort is taken to educate and equip employees, from top management to tour guides, with the required skills, knowledge and information.

Catering to a varied number of segments in the travels industry from cruise to special interest groups, sports tours, nature and luxury tours, Aitken Spence Travels continuously provides unique propositions to its clientele in order to maintain a competitive edge in the market. The company’s ability to deliver a distinctive value proposition to each market is a testament to its ability in drawing on the capabilities of its talent pool to deliver a competitive advantage for its customers.

Aitken Spence Travels continues to be Carbon Neutral

4 Jul

Aitken Spence Travels, Sri Lanka’s largest inbound tour operator has achieved “Carbon Neutral” status for the financial year 2018/2019. The Company offset its carbon footprint by purchasing United Nations Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) through biomass-based power project. The carbon neutrality status has been achieved for organisational level operations within the boundary of Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt) Ltd, 4th floor, Tower 2, 315, Vauxhall Street, Colombo 2.

The organisational level greenhouse gas emission and removals were assessed in accordance with ISO 14064-1: 2006 & Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories and been verified by the National Cleaner Production Center in Sri Lanka. The Scope covered in the assessment includes company-owned vehicle fleet, employee commuting, employee business travels, fire extinguishers, water consumption, grid electricity and its transmission and distribution loss.

The journey of reducing its carbon footprint started six years ago when Aitken Spence Travels took measures to mitigate the impact it made on the environment. In 2012, the entire process was audited by the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund. Going forward, Aitken Spence Travels intends to offer carbon neutral tours as part of the larger sustainability initiative titled as the ‘Travel Kindly’ brand. This initiative is in place to promote responsible travel options.

Tourists visiting Sri Lanka through Aitken Spence Travels can choose to be a part of the Company’s sustainability initiatives such as minimising carbon footprint when partaking in tours and excursions designed to have minimum impact on the environment. Moreover, Aitken Spence Travels promotes nature-based excursions, and educates tourists on best practices to follow and to influence responsible tourism practices in the industry. The destination management operation also promotes less visited national parks in Sri Lanka to reduce congestion in popular national parks that tends to impose a strain on the wildlife of these locations. The dedicated team of Aitken Spence Travels is empowered with insights to responsible tourism through employee engagement campaigns and educational discussion forums with industry experts.

“Our carbon neutral status affirms Aitken Spence Travels’ commitment towards environmental protection and promoting eco-friendly business and production practices. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support from the top management and dedicated staff members which have collectively been the success factors in achieving the carbon neutral status. commented Mr. Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels.

“We actively promote sustainable tourism practices as we understand our impact to the community and environment when carrying out our operations. Aitken Spence Travels takes proactive steps in creating a demand for environment conscious tourists while ensuring its tourism practices are sustainable”, he added.

Aitken Spence Travels obtained the Travelife Partnership Certification for the operations keeping in line with global sustainable tourism practices and has a longstanding partnership with TUI, the world’s largest integrated tourism company. Aitken Spence Travels won the Best Inbound Tour Operator award under the category of Travel & Tourism Operator – Large, at the National Tourism Awards 2018 conducted by The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. The first destination management company to obtain ISO 9001:2008 was none other than Aitken Spence Travels. Furthermore, the Company’s operations are ISO 14001:2015 certified for their efforts towards environmental impact control.

Aitken Spence Travels affirmed its market leadership position by facilitating over 200,000 visitors to Sri Lanka in the financial year 2018/19. The Group’s destination management arm, handles inbound and outbound tour packages for groups, FIT and the MICE segments which operates in a highly competitive business environment.

Officials of Aitken Spence Travels and National Cleaner Production Center (NCPC) at the presentation exchange of the Endorsement of Greenhouse gas inventory of Aitken Spence Travels.

L-R

Rumalka Amanthi, Junior Executive, Aitken Spence Travels, Upul Kumara, Assistant Manager, Aitken Spence Travels, Tikiri Ellepola, Chief Operating Officer, Aitken Spence Travels, Samantha Kumarasena, Chief Executive Officer, National Cleaner Production Center Sri Lanka and Harshini Rananjali, RECP-technologist, National Cleaner Production Center Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MS Europa 2 Selects Aitken Spence Travels to Offer Shore Excursions in Sri Lanka

12 Jun

Hapag-Lloyd’s luxury cruise liner the MS Europa 2 called over at the Hambanthota Port and the Colombo port for a 4 day stay in Sri Lanka. Aitken Spence Travels Cruise team was responsible for the operation of all the shore excursions for its passengers and was present in both locations to ensure that all guests who had booked a shore excursion were off on their tour on time without any difficulties and operational drawbacks.

Of the 350 guests on board, over 200 passengers went on shore excursions in Hambanthota, visiting Yala national park, Udawalawe, Bundala, Ella & Kataragama. The unique experiences encountered at Kataragama visiting the Buddhist and Hindu temples brings about serenity and peace where some guests go to the extent of sharing their problems and looking for mental peace apart from enjoying the abundance of wildlife Sri Lanka has to offer. On day two the clients took excursions to Galle, visited the Galle fort and experiencing village tours. When the passengers were in Colombo on the wet gloomy Friday of 7th June, they still went about their Helicopter tours to Kandy, took the Fixed wing flights to Sigiriya, embarked on discovering the Colombo highlights tour and enjoying the first-hand experience of low grown tea plantations. The AST Cruise team also handled the passenger turnaround on the 8th  of June for approx. 250 passengers.

Shore Excursions Manager of MS Europa 2 Mr. Werney Beyer, who has been to Sri Lanka previously, personally loves the destination and was of the view that “this country shouldn’t suffer as Sri Lanka has so much to offer and I just love this country’s diversity. The Cruise team at AST has done a wonderful job of organising the busses, the guides, diverse excursions and ensuring precision timing that we have had no complaints from our passengers. In effect, since the April 21st crisis, MS Europa 2 was considering moving to Maldives instead of Sri Lanka. But the local team was extremely vigil and continuously updating us about the security situation of the country, that Hapag-Lloyd did not implement plan B of moving to Maldives. I am very happy that we didn’t move to Maldives as our clients have shared excellent feedback and reviews of their stay and experiences in Sri Lanka”.

Commenting further, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels Mr. Nalin Jayasundera stated, “when all the other cruise liners were cancelling their tours, MS Europa 2 was confident about destination Sri Lanka and we are glad that they experienced the improved security, visitors would enjoy while in Sri Lanka. We also appreciate the support extended by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority/ Hambanthota International Port Services and their security teams, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Hapag Lloyd Lanka (pvt) Ltd. and our service providers for ensuring that these guests had an enjoyable experience of Sri Lanka taking back memories to last.”

Aitken Spence Travels, the largest inbound tour operator in Sri Lanka served more than 200,000 happy visitors during its FY 2018/19. This is also by far the largest number of visitors handled by any Destination Management Company in Sri Lanka and was also the recipient of the Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2018 as best DMC. The company is backed by JV partners TUI and Aitken Spence PLC, enjoying the best of both worlds, strongly facing the future confidently even after the setbacks faced by the country.

 

Russian Tour Operators visit Sri Lanka with Aitken Spence Travels

14 May

A group of 12 tour operators from St. Petersburg, Russia is currently in Sri Lanka for a familiarization tour with Aitken Spence Travels.

The group leader Mr. Gorodenskiy Dmitry stated that he along with his other colleagues are very happy to be in Sri Lanka, which incidentally is their first visit although they have been promoting destination Sri Lanka.

“We are very happy about the security provided and felt everything is very normal. We love the Sri Lankan people and they are so friendly and helpful”, said Mr. Gorodenskiy.

He was confident that his Russian colleagues in the group will promote destination Sri Lanka and drive the much-needed tourists to the island.

The group visited Sigiriya and climbed the 660 ft tall rock capitol of King Kasyapa which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sigiriya is considered one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning. The group would also make their way to the Dambulla cave temple, the Kandy Temple, experience a tea plantation, visit the gentle giants at the Pinnawela elephant orphanage and sum the tour by spending some time to enjoy the beach prior to departure.

Aitken Spence Travels Welcomes its 200,000th Visitor Within a Year

1 Apr

The largest inbound tour operator in Sri Lanka, Aitken Spence Travels welcomed its 200,000th happy visitor a few days back for the FY 2018/19. The company has recorded a growth of tourist arrivals, essentially building on its past performance of 178,000 happy visitors during its previous FY of 17/18.

Aitken Spence Travels generated more than 400,000 room nights to the local hotels during the FY 18/19, making it the single largest contributor to Sri Lanka’s hotel industry. The company has trained and provided many direct and indirect employment opportunities to Sri Lankans in the tourism industry.

Just as the country’s top source markets generating visitors, Aitken Spence Travels top performing markets were in line with the country arrivals.  Of these markets, the company saw a significant increase in visitor arrivals from Australia due to the national carrier operating direct flights from this source market. It is noteworthy to state that when direct air connectivity is established, the impact is to the entire tourism industry.

The other segments such as cruise, special interest groups, sports tours, nature and luxury tours have contributed to the positive visitor numbers handled by the company. As the largest inbound tour operator in Sri Lanka Aitken Spence Travels allocates a high marketing budget to promote destination Sri Lanka, without being dependent on destination promotions. Also, the company forges ahead by taking risks when entering new markets and expanding its business to continuously cater to the varying demands of the traveller.

The company is a joint venture between Aitken Spence PLC, a leading blue-chip conglomerate and TUI, the largest integrated tourism company in the world, flourishing on the best practices of these two reputed & strong shareholders.

Aitken Spence Travels serves its customers with a high level of professionalism and dedication and together these efforts have culminated in the company also handling charter flights from the UK, Scandinavia and Poland.

The Company’s cruise unit has showcased their expertise by catering to the demanding shore excursion business in the country which is a growing segment within tourism. By handling large cruises, as well as exclusive up market cruises, Aitken Spence Travels has developed innovative ways to ensure that most of the cruise passengers explore the diversity of the country, the people and our culture while securing future business needs of the cruise shore excursion operations.

The MICE tourism business handled by the company caters to the delivery of diverse requirements. Conceptualising themed weddings specifically for the Indian market where the wedding segment is growing rapidly and also extending services for experiential tours has strengthened the companies market position.

Whilst the different source markets have been generating more numbers the company has invested in technology and other in-house systems to improve efficiencies and enabled the operational staff to have a seamless operation, driven by technology.

“Over the years Aitken Spence Travels has established strong partnerships with many leading tour operator partners. The trust they have placed in the Aitken Spence brand coupled with our ability to cater to the many diverse demands and needs of the discerning traveller has given us an edge over competition. It is a great achievement for us to continue to keep raising the bar year after year and we will continue to cater to the different segments with innovative solutions” commented Mr. Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels.

“This incredible journey would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of many stakeholders. We extend our gratitude and thanks to our Chairman & Board of Directors along with the Leisure Sector Head Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena, to our valuable tour operators, the hoteliers, airline operators and all other stakeholders for their trust, belief and support.

“An operation of this magnitude could not have been possible without the efficiency and dedication of our staff at Aitken Spence Travels and the senior management team. I am indeed grateful to my wonderful team for this achievement” stated Mr. Jayasundera.

“Furthermore, we continue to keep adding to the many laurels the company has been collecting over the years and the recent one being Aitken Spence Travels being selected as the best inbound tour company at the recently concluded Sri Lanka Tourism Awards conducted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. In addition to handling 200,000 passengers we are also the only DMC to record a 1 billion profit in Sri Lanka”, he added.

Commenting on the future initiatives of the company Mr. Jayasundera added, “As a leader in the DMC business we will focus a significant proportion of our time and efforts to bring about a wave in sustainable tourism programs and ensure that as an industry leader that we will lead the way by various means such as educating our stakeholders and promoting sustainable tours. Our partners and stakeholders can expect to see the result of these commitments in the coming months”.

 

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

Marella Discovery makes her maiden call to Colombo

27 Dec



Super luxury passenger vessel M.V. Marella Discovery of Marella Cruises with 1,732 passengers and 764 crew on board made her maiden call at the Port of Colombo in December 2018.

In order to mark the maiden call of the vessel at the Port of Colombo plaque exchanges were held between the Master of the vessel, SLPA, local agents – Aitken Spence Shipping Ltd and travel operator – Aitken Spence Travels Ltd.

On behalf of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Capt. Athula Hewavitharana – Managing Director exchanged plaques with the Master of Marella Discovery – Capt. Christopher N. Dodds. Mr. Iqram Cuttilan – Managing Director of Aitken Spence Shipping and Mr. Nalin Jayasundera – Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels exchanged plaques with the Master on behalf of the Aitken Spence Group subsidiaries.

Expressing views at the occasion, the Managing Director of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) – Capt. Athula Hewavitharana said that the Port of Colombo was honoured by the presence of Marella Discovery in Colombo.

Marella Cruises (formerly Thomson Cruises) is a British cruise line offering cruise holidays around Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. Marella Discovery is approximately 264 meters in length and 32 meters wide having 902 state rooms with a capacity to accommodate up to 2,074 passengers. The excursions organised by Aitken Spence Travels had over 1,000 passengers joining in to enjoy the city and immediate locations of Sri Lanka such as the Colombo heritage walk, exploring the city of Galle and Sri Lankan river safari.

Marella Discovery commenced its voyage from Europe calling at Italy, Crete and moving onto Egypt, Jordan, Oman, U.A.E. and several ports in India on her way to Sri Lanka and will thereafter cruise towards Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. The vessel that cruised under the flag of Malta called Colombo from Cochin, India and Sabang, Indonesia is her next port of call.

Established in 1868, Aitken Spence PLC marks its 150th anniversary. The Company has grown to great heights, especially with the diversification of the company in 2004 into non-traditional areas. The Company’s involvement in port efficiency enhancement projects in new markets has helped to successfully pursue a long-term directional shift from being service-related to becoming an investment-driven operation.

Aitken Spence Travels Wins Best Inbound Tour Operator at the Tourism Awards 2018

14 Dec

Aitken Spence Travels, won the Best Inbound Tour Operator under the category of Travel & Tourism Operator – Large, at the National Tourism Awards 2018 conducted by The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

Aitken Spence Travels were the recipient of the same category in 2012 at the Presidential awards, as it was known then. The company had won this prestigious award for three consecutive years previously and it was the only destination management company to enter the Hall of Fame.

This year the winners were chosen by a panel of eminent industry experts & respected corporate professionals. The competition entailed a written application and presentation to the judging panel and site visits. The criteria covered audited Financial performance, Corporate Social Responsibility, commitment to the environment, Business and marketing plans, Customer care, HR and Sustainability.

This accolade won by Aitken Spence Travels further confirms its preeminent position of powering the spirit of travel to surpass its competitors, in been recognised for its achievements in Sri Lanka’s Tourism industry, contributions made in uplifting the industry standards through destination marketing, innovation, best practices and for the overall contribution to the growth of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.

“Over the years, Aitken Spence Travels has been opening new markets across continents to expand and enrich the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. In the last financial year, the company served more than 178,000 happy visitors from across the globe to grow its overall arrivals to 16%, when Sri Lanka’s national average on arrivals were at 7%. The company can boldly state that we are the single largest room inventory buyer of 500,000 room nights of different star category hotels across the island and have generated over 1500 indirect employment opportunities in the communities we work and operate”, stated Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels.

Achievements such as this is possible due to the hard work, commitment and professionalism of our team and the many stakeholders who partner to deliver the best experience of Sri Lanka to our discerning guests of varied backgrounds.

“I take this opportunity to place my sincere appreciation and thanks to my staff of Aitken Spence Travels who has always upheld the high standards maintained by the company with professionalism, quick response and attention to detail towards our travel agents’ inquiries and their visitor needs and wants. We are immensely grateful to our valuable Tour Operator partners who have trusted us for our expertise and built long standing partnerships, which is one of the pillars to our success. Our sincere thanks also goes to the numerous hotel partners who have worked closely with us in delivering high standard products and the numerous suppliers who have grown with us in delivering an exceptional experience of destination Sri Lanka”, added Mr. Jayasundera.

“Our sincere gratitude to our joint venture partner TUI, the world’s largest integrated tourism company that has synergised their strengths to work closely with Aitken Spence Travels and bring about the much needed charters, cruises and groups. We also express our sincere gratitude to our chairman and board of directors for their trust, confidence and guidance to the Aitken Spence Travels team”, said Mr. Jayasundera.

The tourism industry has the potential to be the number one foreign exchange earner for the country if all stakeholders of the tourism industry work together to achieve this objective. However, ‘Ones destiny is in ones own hands’, hence we will pursue in moving forward to achieve the 200,000 happy visitor mark for the 2018/19 financial year and will continue to be the highest foreign exchange earning destination management company in Sri Lanka.

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.

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”