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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.

 

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Aitken Spence Maritime facilitates the first cruise ship to call on Sri Lankan ports following the April aftermath

6 Jun

The luxury cruise ship “MS EUROPA 2”, owned by German operator Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten Hamburg, recently called on the Ports of Hambantota and Colombo with 309 passengers and 356 crew onboard. Aitken Spence Maritime is the agent in Sri Lanka for Hapag-Lloyd which is one of the largest container shipping lines in the world.  MS Europa and MS Europa 2 are the only cruise ships in the world classified with 5-star rating by the legendary Berlitz Cruise Guide. MS Europa 2 is regarded as the new jewel of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet.

“We are extremely delighted that Aitken Spence Maritime facilitated the first cruise ship to call on two Ports of Sri Lanka after the unfortunate incidents that took place in April 2019. It is also encouraging for the team to see their efforts materialise and with the Group’s active involvement in the leisure industry, the company will continue to offer comprehensive synergised services to cruise operators,” said Iqram Cuttilan, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Maritime.

“Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten having made frequent calls to Trincomalee, Hambantota, Galle and Colombo will also include their ships in its schedule for 2019/20. In fact, Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten has selected Sri Lankan Ports as the beginning and end of their voyages, enabling passengers to embark and disembark in Sri Lanka,” said Lalith Witanachchi, Assistant Vice President of Hapag-Lloyd Lanka.

Hapag-Lloyd’s local agent, Aitken Spence Maritime, is a pioneer in the industry and was the first in Sri Lanka to undertake port efficiency enhancement management overseas with its entry into the African Continent and subsequently the South Pacific Islands. The company handles all areas of maritime services – from ship agents and cargo handlers, to liner agency, cruise vessel, port management and development, chartering services and maritime education.

Aitken Spence PLC Crowned Overall Winner at the ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards 2018

6 Jun

Leading blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC was recently adjudged the ‘Overall Winner’ at the ACCA Sri Lanka Sustainability Reporting Awards 2018. ACCA Sri Lanka has felicitated Sri Lanka’s best sustainability reports for over 15 years.

In addition to receiving the most prestigious award of the event, Aitken Spence PLC was declared a Joint Winner in the ‘Conglomerates & Diversified Category’. The Sustainability Reporting Awards are held with the objective of recognising and rewarding organisations which report and disclose information on environmental and social performance, and to encourage corporate transparency, accountability and responsiveness to stakeholders.

With selections carried out by an eminent panel of judges, the ceremony acknowledged corporates for their efforts to raise awareness across a broad range of aspects dedicated to sustainable development. The Aitken Spence PLC annual report was evaluated, succeeding against ACCA’s main judging criteria of completeness, credibility and communication. Aitken Spence PLC was also the joint winner of the Conglomerates and Diversified category.

By aligning its sustainability strategy and reporting procedures with global best practices and benchmark such as the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, the 7 Women’s Empowerment Principles, the Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Reporting Initiative and the guidelines of the International Integrated Reporting Council, Aitken Spence PLC implemented a holistic approach to its sustainability commitments with a long-term perspective that is reflected in the triple bottom line.

“At Aitken Spence PLC, we view sustainability as a prerequisite towards resilient growth.  With a focus on long term value creation, the Company’s sustainability efforts are directed and guided from the top management in order to adopt a strategic approach for corporate sustainability. In a group having 16 lines of industry in four business sectors and diverse segments of stakeholders across different communities, sustainability has been integrated into the very spirit of the organisation to ensure longevity in its business environments.

We are delighted and humbled by this recognition for our work. The unwavering dedication and support shown by the team and that combined with the systems and procedures that we have in place has been our winning formula throughout the years. Having marked the sesquicentennial of the Aitken Spence Group last year, we remain committed to working towards sustaining the long-term viability, profitability and integrity of our businesses,” commented Dr. Rohan Fernando, Head of Business Development and Sustainability at Aitken Spence PLC.

Aitken Spence PLC was also one of the country’s first companies to sign the United Nations Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

Aitken Spence is the reigning winner of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability award for two successive years while being the only company in Sri Lanka to be ranked among the Top 10 Corporate Citizens for an unprecedented 13 consecutive years.

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, Travel, Maritime Services, Logistic Solutions, Plantations, Power Generation, Printing, Insurance and Apparel sectors.

‘Overall Winner’ – ACCA Sri Lanka Sustainability Reporting Awards 2018. Accepting the award, Ms. Nilanthi Sivapragasam, Chief Financial Officer of Aitken Spence PLC.

 

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/.

Nayapane Estate Tea Factory of Elpitiya Plantations PLC Receives an All-time Record Price for the BOP Fanning Grade

2 May

The Nayapane estate tea factory managed by Aitken Spence Plantations Management PLC, has secured an all-time record for the BOP Fanning Grade in the Western Medium category with the highest price in the Sri Lanka tea auction. Securing this price is a testament to the Nayapane tea factory’s continuous commitment to maintain the highest quality of teas.

The tea factory situated in Pussellawa produces quality liquoring teas to high-end Japanese markets in compliance with international market standards. By ensuring that the manufacturing and processing of tea leaves are completed under stringent hygiene and safety conditions, the Nayapane estate tea factory produce is highly sought-after by buyers and is even considered a healthy beverage by customers.

Elpitiya Plantations PLC has heavily invested in state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies in the processing and manufacturing of its various produces. These efforts have enabled the company to manufacture the highest quality teas in a timely and efficient manner.

The Nayapane estate tea factory has been acclaimed both locally and internationally, and among the wins are the “Two-star” award at the Great Taste Awards UK 2018 for maintaining superior quality and taste in the British markets and the first place in the “150 Years Tea Board Awards”. The company is also an award winner at the ‘Sesquicentennial Tea Auction’ conducted by the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association where the Nayapane tea factory was adjudged the “Best Tea Factory” amongst other victories. Being awarded these prestigious accolades and recognitions, the BOP Fanning Grade serves to reinforce Elpitiya’s role as one of Sri Lanka’s leading producers of exquisite high-quality premium teas.

“Since our beginning over two decades ago, we have been steadily moving forward, and having our tea factory’s BOP Fanning Grade secure one of the highest prices, is a momentous milestone in our journey so far. Over the years we have undertaken continuous quality improvements and have optimised our operations, in order to run well-managed plantations. We hope to perpetuate these efforts toward ensuring an uncompromising standard of quality at all aspects of the business,” said Bhathiya Bulumulla, Chief Executive Officer of Elpitiya Plantations PLC.

In its commitment to meet stakeholder expectations through continuous improvements, sustainability is one of the core business strategies practised in the company, and it has been strategically embedded across all operational aspects at the Nayapane estate tea factory.

Commenting further, Kaushal Mathavan, Senior Manager of Elpitiya Plantations PLC said, “We have achieved an all-time record at Nayapane estate tea factory, and this was made possible through our continuous drive to ensure the long-term viability and profitability of Nayapane. We offset 20% of the company’s electrical energy requirements through a 93 kilowatts (kW) solar PV roofing system, and we are currently assessing Nayapane’s carbon footprint in order to become a carbon neutral plantation, which is an important element within our overall sustainability strategy at Elpitiya Plantations.”

In addition to this, Nayapane is a Rainforest Alliance Certified tea factory and a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which are reputed organisations working to improve the sustainability of the tea industry and are highly esteemed by most European markets. In its commitment to quality, Nayapane has broken grounds yet again by becoming the first tea factory in Sri Lanka to receive the ISO 9001: 2008, the environmental management system standard back in 1998, which was later upgraded to the ISO 22000: 2005 (HACCP) Food Safety Management Systems standard.

Managed by Aitken Spence PLC since 1997, Elpitiya Plantations PLC is one of Sri Lanka’s leading producers of the most exquisite high-quality premium teas. Today, Elpitiya Plantations operates 13 estates located in the up, mid and low country regions spanning over 8,800 hectares. Its core business is focused on cultivation and manufacturing of tea, rubber, oil palm, coconut and cinnamon, while the Company has subsequently diversified its operations into sustainable forestry development, eco-tourism, hydropower development, and specialty-tea manufacturing over the years.

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”.

 

Diversification Delivers for Elpitiya Plantations

11 Jul

Aitken Spence-managed Elpitiya Plantations PLC recorded a profit-after-tax of Rs. 480 mn     for the financial year ended 31st March, 2014.  Elpitiya’s exceptional earnings were mainly driven by an excellent performance in oil palm and return on strategic investments made by the company into joint venture projects.

“Profit was commendable as revenue on tea &rubber had declined by around 8 per cent YOY,   following the erratic weather conditions and the poor prices released for natural rubber. Increase in cost of production following revision of the workers’ wages by 20 per cent had a significant impact on the Comp any’s profitability. Our strong results  are  due to the team work by our employees”, said Dr. Rohan M Fernando Managing Director of Elpitiya Plantations PLC and Director of Aitken Spence PLC.

The company’s net assets had increased to Rs.  2.9 bn from Rs. 173 mn at the time of taking over of the estates in 1997. Since taking over, the company has invested over Rs. 3.8 bn  on tea and rubber replanting, factory development, diversification into oil palm & commercial forestry and other capital enhancements.

“New Peacock and Nayapane estates have achieved all-time record yields of 2,855 kg per hectare and 1,979 kg per hectare respectively in tea.   This was made possible due to the good agricultural practices followed on the estates, with special emphasis on fertilizer inputs and upgrading factory machinery. We thank the government for the subsidy given to the industry which has helped us maintain fertilizer levels” said Mr. Tony Goonewardena, Executive Director of Elpitiya Plantations PLC.

Commenting further, Mr. Goonewardena stated that the company’s strategic investments into re-forestation (commercial forestry) and hydro power projects brought in significant income during the financial year under review.   The   joint venture project with Dianhong  International Limited,  to produce  Chinese specialty  black tea and  green tea at the company’s  newly  developed Harrow Tea Factory in Pundaluoya  also contributed substantially to the company’s  profit  along with the income  derived from the palm oil processing factory, which is jointly owned by Elpitiya Plantations PLC  with two other regional plantation companies.

The CEO and Director of Elpitiya Plantations PLC - Mr.Goonewardena

Elpitiya Plantations PLC CEO Bhathiya Bulumulla.

“Company’s strategic diversification programme into large scale palm oil cultivation in the low country region has paid dividends by contributing considerably into the company’s profitability.   Deviturai Estate recorded the highest ever yield of 16,281 kg per hectare on oil palm and Talgaswella Estate, a major tea & oil palm plantation in the low country, has made exceptional returns.” said Mr. Bhathiya Bulumulla, the Chief Executive Officer of Elpitiya Plantations PLC.

The Company also has commenced aneco-tourism project in the low country and planning to extend the same concept on Dunsinane, Sheen and Fernlands estates in the upcountry region in the current year.

Elpitiya Plantations PLC adopts the stringent food safety standards in the production of tea.  Dunsinane, New Peacock, Nayapane  tea factories  in the up country region  and Talgaswella and Deviturai Tea Factories in the Low Country  regions   have been certified for ISO 22000:HACCP  for  Food Safety  Management Standards and  all  the  tea factories  have been certified  for  Ethical Tea Partnership and Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification  for best  practices on   health & safety and  environment Management. The Company is currently working towards obtaining rain forest alliance certification to all   its up country tea estates.

Elpitiya Plantations PLC is committed towards improving the living conditions of the worker population on the plantations.   Projects include construction of new housing units, water and sanitation, for more than 50 housing unit for several estates.Further, plans are underway to construct 510 housing units on Dunsinane & Meddecombra Estates with the assistance of the Indian Government during the years 2014-2016.

As a pilot project, bank accounts were opened for all employees of Talgaswella Estate while the company also has facilitated to provide scholarship grants to 21 children of the estate workers, who excelled in their studies to pursue their higher education at the universities. Elpitiya Plantations  has also pioneered to construct an  elders home on Meddecombra Estate, the first of its kind in the Plantation Sector,  to accommodate and look into the well  being  of 40  retired workers , in collaboration with the French  Donor ‘Foundation Adam Pierre’ at a cost of  over Rs.  25 mn.

The company is continuously exploring sustainable avenues for marketing its produce abroad, especially tea and rubber, in North and Southeast Asia.

Aitken Spence Travels appointed as the official travel agent for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

8 Jul

Aitken Spence Travels has been appointed as one of the two official travel agents for Sri Lanka by the International Cricket Council at the upcoming 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand. The matches will commence by the 14thof February and end by March 2015, with 49 matches to be played at 14 venues across both countries.

The outbound arm of Aitken Spence has exclusively designed world cup packages to give Sri Lankan cricket fans the choice to choose from a variety of bundle options for every type of supporter. Bundles include match tickets and a variety of selections such as travel options and accommodation, VIP experiences, tickets to official events etc.

“We are extremely delighted to be appointed as one of the official travel agents for Sri Lanka by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Based on our success stories in the past where we have charted flights for world cup finals we are confident that our clients and the general cricket loving fans will experience an unparalleled service offered by Aitken Spence when traveling with us to the 2015 world cup” noted Mr. Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels.

Reflecting back the company charted a flight to Pakistan in 1996 when Sri Lanka clinched its first world cup as underdogs to all other test nations. In recent time when Sri Lanka clinched the T20 world cup under Lasith Malinga’s captaincy too; Aitken Spence had the honour of chartering a flight and arranged all related matters to the trip so that it was a memorable final to the passengers who flew.

“Aitken Spence have been involved with ICC events for a number of years now and their skills and expertise in travel were a major part of the organizational success of both ICC events recently held in Sri Lanka – the cricket world cup, 2011 and the world Twenty20, 2012. ICC Travel looks forward to once again working closely with Aitken Spence to deliver a fantastic ICC cricket world cup experience for all Sri Lankan fans travelling to Australia and New Zealand in 2015.” said Damon Minotti, Project Director, ICC Travel.

The early bird offers of the packages for the 2015 world cup will be released by the 3rd week of July enabling cricket loving fans to plan their travel ahead and secure tickets for the matches. Also the company will be having options to personalize the existing packages based on customer requirements. The company has made arrangements to have a dedicated team that would handle walk in customers and any customer who would be hunting for match tickets.

Aitken Spence Travels has been appointed as one of the two official travel agents for Sri Lanka by the International Cricket Council at the upcoming 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand. The matches will commence by the 14thof February and end by March 2015, with 49 matches to be played at 14 venues across both countries.

The outbound arm of Aitken Spence has exclusively designed world cup packages to give Sri Lankan cricket fans the choice to choose from a variety of bundle options for every type of supporter. Bundles include match tickets and a variety of selections such as travel options and accommodation, VIP experiences, tickets to official events etc.
“We are extremely delighted to be appointed as one of the official travel agents for Sri Lanka by the International Cricket Council (ICC). Based on our success stories in the past where we have charted flights for world cup finals we are confident that our clients and the general cricket loving fans will experience an unparalleled service offered by Aitken Spence when traveling with us to the 2015 world cup” noted Mr. Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels.
Reflecting back the company charted a flight to Pakistan in 1996 when Sri Lanka clinched its first world cup as underdogs to all other test nations. In recent time when Sri Lanka clinched the T20 world cup under Lasith Malinga’s captaincy too; Aitken Spence had the honour of chartering a flight and arranged all related matters to the trip so that it was a memorable final to the passengers who flew.
“Aitken Spence have been involved with ICC events for a number of years now and their skills and expertise in travel were a major part of the organizational success of both ICC events recently held in Sri Lanka – the cricket world cup, 2011 and the world Twenty20, 2012. ICC Travel looks forward to once again working closely with Aitken Spence to deliver a fantastic ICC cricket world cup experience for all Sri Lankan fans travelling to Australia and New Zealand in 2015.” said Damon Minotti, Project Director, ICC Travel.
The early bird offers of the packages for the 2015 world cup will be released by the 3rd week of July enabling cricket loving fans to plan their travel ahead and secure tickets for the matches. Also the company will be having options to personalize the existing packages based on customer requirements. The company has made arrangements to have a dedicated team that would handle walk in customers and any customer who would be hunting for match tickets.

Aitken Spence Travels the Outbound arm offers services in air ticket requirements, competitive packages, cruise packages, overseas hotel accommodation, rail ticket services for Raileurope, issuing of currency and travel card, immigration/ visa services, travel insurance & airport drop & pick. Aitken Spence Travels is a

Aitken Spence records impressive profit growth of 12% for FY13/14

26 May

 

Aitken Spence, Vauxhall Street

Blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC reported its annual unaudited financial results 2013/14 to the Colombo Stock Exchange on Monday, reporting profit attributable to shareholders of Rs 3.7 billion, an increase of 11.7% over the previous year’s profit of Rs 3.3 billion. Profit before tax was Rs 5.4 billion and profit after tax was Rs.4.5, recording growth of 7.6% and 5.5% respectively. The diversified Group’s annual revenue declined marginally to Rs. 36.6 billion whilst earnings per share improved by 11.7% to Rs. 9.04 for the financial year.

The Group’s bottom line was driven primarily by the Tourism sector. Sri Lanka welcomed over 1.27 million tourists during the year 2013, with a target of 1.5 million set for 2014.The boom in the tourism industry was reflected in the Group’s performance with the revenue of the Tourism sector for the financial year growing by 9.4 % to Rs. 16.9 billion and profit before tax surging by 26.3 % to Rs. 4.4 billion. During the period, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC, the Group’s hotel owning strategic business unit, entered into a shareholders’ agreement with RIU Hotels of Spain to build a 500-room luxury resort in Ahungalla, costing approximately USD 100 million. The construction of the hotel is expected to commence during the second half of the financial year 2014/15.

Annual revenue for the Maritime Cargo Logistics sector increased 15.3% to Rs. 7.3 billion whilst profits before tax for the sector increase by 26% to Rs. 709 million. Entry into a strategic partnership in Fiji for port management services through the acquisition of a 51% shareholding in Ports Terminal Ltd – the first- ever public-private partnership overseas by a Sri Lankan company recorded to date, was a highlight for the year.

Services sector reported a revenue of Rs. 819.6 million for the financial year under consideration which was a growth of 11.5 %, and a profit before tax of Rs 180.5 million, a growth of 10.2% compared to the previous year. Strategic Investments sector reported a year on year decrease of 16.1% in revenue to Rs. 15.3 billion, while the profit before tax dropped by 81.1% to Rs. 159.8 million for the financial year primarily due to the Aitken Spence power plants in Matara and Horana not being operational during the reporting period consequent to the cessation of the Power Purchase Agreements. Further, a provision for impairment of approximately Rs. 400 million was made in respect of the remaining assets of these two companies, which dragged down the profits of the sector.

The company disposed of the Horana power plant during the financial year, while the 100 MW power plant at Embilipitiya remained operational, albeit with lower generation due to excessive rainfall during the first nine months of the financial year. During the period under review the Group inaugurated a land mark project by investing in a luxury retirement homes complex that will comprise of 140 villas and associated high-end facilities located at a 30 acre site in Negombo. The project aims to attract Sri Lankans living overseas who wish to return to their homeland as well as foreign nationals who wish to retire and live in Sri Lanka.

“The Company has been able to deliver consistent results through a combination of strategic foresight and the capacity to transform challenges into opportunities. These qualities have been underpinned by a well-diversified business model that supports the Company’s growth trajectory” said the Chairman, Deshamanya D H S Jayawardena. “Our strategies for the long term and exploration of potential new areas of business factor in the Company’s responses to some of the key future trends” he added.

The Group announced a dividend of Rs. 2 per share which is a 33% increase over the previous year subject to approval by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. Aitken Spence PLC is among Sri Lanka’s leading and most respected corporate entities with operations in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South Pacific. It is an industry leader in hotels, travel, maritime services, logistics, power generation and printing, with a significant presence in plantations, financial services, insurance, information technology and apparel.

Aitken Spence Hotels joins the digital revolution with its app for iPads

23 May

Aitken Spence Hotels broke new ground recently with the launch of its first digital application for iPads. The application was designed to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the Aitken Spence Hotels portfolio spread across four diverse destinations; and covers the fundamental facets used by guests to decide on their preferred hotel or resort.

 

A holistic integration of the information of 21 hotels is presented in an interactive seamless platform enabling ease of navigation for the user. The app provides a brief description of each hotel affording guests a glimpse to the roots of the property. The types of accommodation that can be enjoyed by guests are also listed with pictorial representations of the room and its amenities. Information on hotel facilities, dining options, event spaces and excursions can be accessed at the tip of a finger. The information is complimented by an extensive gallery complimenting the sensory journey one engages with when browsing the app. It also provides a unified platform for feedback and reservation inquiries creating easy interaction between Aitken Spence Hotels and potential guests.

 

“The digital revolution has created a fundamental need for businesses to evolve their practices. The launch of an iPad app for Aitken Spence Hotels is one of the many initiatives lined up to evolve our practices to offer our guests an engaging and seamless experience The app is the perfect tool to create brand awareness amongst tour operators, destination management companies and tourists from around the world. We plan to evolve the services that can be offered through the app creating ease of access to the modern traveler” says Mr. Althaf Mohamed Ali, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Aitken Spence Hotels.

Aitken Spence is Sri Lanka’s largest resort operator and the largest international hotel operator in the Maldives. The Group also manages a portfolio of hotels in India and Oman. The company’s premier resorts operate under the brand Heritance.

 

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