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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”.

 

Heritance Ahungalla accoladed as TUI Environmental Champion 2019 Also wins TUI Top Quality award 2019

7 Jan

Aitken Spence Hotels’ premier five-star property in the coastal belt, Heritance Ahungalla received the double honour of being listed as the TUI Environmental Champions of 2019 for its excellent performance in sustainable hotel management as well as a winner of the TUI Top Quality 2019.

The hotel was selected among many worthy contenders from around the globe to receive the TUI Environmental Champion of 2019 award. In order to qualify for the environmental champion awards, hotels and resorts must rate more than eight out of 10 by TUI Germany guests and must hold a Global Sustainable Tourism Council recognised certificate, such as Travelife. The recognition further reiterates the hotel’s excellent performance in sustainable hotel management as evaluated by TUI guests and auditors.

The hotel was also listed as a winner of the TUI Top Quality 2019 which is reserved for the very best TUI hotels – the absolute favourites as declared by their guests. With an excellence rating on the TUI guest survey exceeding 8.7 out of 10 possible points, the hotel successfully convinced guests across the board.

TUI Germany is the world’s leading tourism group which covers the entire tourism value chain under one roof.

Heritance Ahungalla, designed by legendary architect Geoffrey Bawa is a 152-room property located on 12 acres of beachfront in the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. With award winning chefs at the helm, the hotel is well known for its delectable cuisine available at Jute restaurant, Mustard coffee shop and upper room restaurant, whilst also offering a plethora of bespoke dining options to suit the guests’ needs. Catering to a cross section of travellers, the hotel also offers a range of facilities, from a fully equipped gymnasium, two pools – an infinity pool and residents’ pool, a library, business centre and ample sporting activities. Heritance Ahungalla also stringently follows internationally accepted practices of sustainability and is certified with ISO 14001:2004, ISO 22000:2005/HACCP and ISO 50001:2011.

For more information, log on to www.heritancehotels.com/ahungalla

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 successfully concludes its ‘Big Holiday Beach Clean’ at Ahungalla

31 Jul

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Sri Lanka’s largest Destination Management Company, Aitken Spence Travels organized its own ‘Big Holiday Beach Clean’ event in Ahungalla this July, as a part of TUI Travel PLC’s worldwide series which included destinations such as Mexico, Greece, Turkey and even a reef clean in Egypt, to support ‘Make Holidays Greener Month’, the Travel Foundation’s annual campaign to celebrate greener holidays.

Kicking off with volunteers from Aitken Spence Travels, Heritance Ahungalla and its surrounding local community the event attracted more than 150 participants who cleaned a 3Km beach stretch. The area cleaned also includes the proposed five star, five storied hotel which is the latest hotel project of Aitken Spence Hotels, a joint venture with RIU Hotels of Spain, to be opened in mid-2016. Four hundred kilograms of debris collected included various items of plastics, polythene, metal, foam and glass items, which was handed to Heritance Ahungalla for correct disposal of the substances. Further the collected waste will be analysed to assist in better understanding the scale of the issue and implement additional solutions in the future.

6.4 million tons of marine litter enters the world’s oceans each year, which not only threatens wildlife, but also human health, communities and economies around the world.

A keynote speech delivered by Mr. Ravi de Silva, the Group’s Sustainability Consultant, encouraged the local authorities to keep the beaches clean; and to build simple steps so that the public too can take to protecting the environment and local wildlife. Mr. de Silva further reiterated the importance of balancing the eco-system and its impacts from not following such best practices.

“We are delighted with the outcome of the drive. Sustainability is a key focus area for Aitken Spence Travels. We hope to encourage our customers across destinations on the importance of greener holidays and raise awareness on the issues of sustainability in destinations” noted Mr. Nalin Jayasundera, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels.

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The local authority in Ahungalla headed by Mr. A. Dayarathne, the Chairman of the Pradeshiya Saba promised to support the initiative by assisting in creating further awareness amongst the public while ensuring collective actions are taken by the governing authorities on expanding the mindfulness on such campaigns.

The occasion was attended by the Aitken Spence Travels Management – Lasanth Waravita, Mohan Hapuarachchi, Sajith Wijeneyake, Indika Abeykoon, Axel Storz and by the Executive General Manager of Heritance Ahungalla, Refhan Razeen

With a significant presence in Maldives and fully diversified in to every aspect of tourism, Aitken Spence Travels is the leader in destination management in Sri Lanka. Partnered with the world’s largest name in travel, TUI Travel PLC, and with over three decades of experience, the company is backed by a reputation of being the most professional in the business. With the commitment towards offering sustainable tourism, Aitken Spence Travels is endowed the Carbon Neutral status by the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund and maintains ISO 9001:2008 and 14001:2004 certifications.

 

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