Tag Archives: tourism

TUI – World’s Largest Tourism Group to Boost Destination Sri Lanka

3 Mar
TUI_CEO_Fritz Joussen

Fritz Joussen, Group CEO – TUI Group

A high profile delegation of TUI, the world’s number one integrated tourism Group, headed by the Group CEO Fritz Joussen will be visiting Sri Lanka today (Thursday). Organized by its joint venture partner Aitken Spence Travels, this would be the first time that Fritz Joussen will be visiting Sri Lanka. Joussen will be accompanied by other TUI top-level executives including: the CEO of TUI Germany, Managing Director of Product and Purchasing, CEO of TUI Nordic and Managing Director of TUI UK and Ireland on this visit. This visit highlights the focus on destination Sri Lanka and is a major endorsement from the global tourism giant.

TUI provides services along the entire tourism value chain for its 30 million plus customers from 31 source markets travelling to 180 destinations. It employs over 77,000 people in 130 countries. The group owns over 300 hotels & resorts with 210,000 beds, operating 136 aircrafts and 12 cruise ships. The company boasts revenues of €20.1 Billion in turnover and an operating result of €1.069 Billion. The TUI Group’s share is listed on the London Stock Exchange in the FTSE index and in the regulated market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The TUI group is an equal share partner of Aitken Spence Travels, the largest travel company in Sri Lanka. TUI enjoys a relationship of thirty five years with Aitken Spence, promoting Sri Lanka as a destination across a wide variety of source markets, especially in Europe. The partnership will be further strengthened with the commencement of planned charters from UK and Scandinavia, planned to start in the near future, along with the expected increase in arrivals from Germany and the Benelux region. The Lankan tourism industry will benefit greatly from these initiatives, adding traction to the tourism master plan of the country.

The TUI team is scheduled to meet the Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe, the Minister of Tourism Hon. John Amarathunga and with other key tourism industry officials during their one-day stay.

The delegation will also make visit to 501-room RIU Ahungalla – a joint venture with Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings, which is currently under development. In addition, the TUI team will also visit other hotels that would be featured in its brochures. RIU Ahungalla once completed will be Sri Lanka’s largest beach hotel with 501 rooms. The hotel will offer a new segment of “all inclusive,” a first of its kind to Sri Lankan consumers and will extend its wings to its brand loyal customers travelling the globe. The TUI Charter operation will definitely generate more opportunities for other hotels to generate more business due to the increase in arrivals.

“TUI has continued to express interest in Sri Lanka as an important destination in the region. This historic visit is a result of a longstanding commitment and the growing openness in Sri Lanka. The overall increase of business from TUI will create opportunities for the growth of inbound numbers and the potential development of Sri Lanka’s tourism product that this visit may facilitate”, said Nalin Jayasundara, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Travels and a respected industry veteran.

As the country’s biggest tour operator, Aitken Spence Travels handles an annual volume of over 125,000 inbound tourists, and continuously strives to contribute to the growth of inbound volumes to the country.

Aitken Spence Partners SriLankan Airlines to Promote Sri Lanka across India

18 Jan
Mr. Suranga Ratnayake General Manager Aitken Spence Travels & Mr. Chinthaka Weerasinghe, Manager Noth India flanked by so

Mr. Suranga Ratnayake General Manager Aitken Spence Travels & Mr. Chinthaka Weerasinghe, Manager North India flanked by some of the Top Travel agents during the presentation

Aitken Spence Travels, Turyaa Kalutara and SriLankan Holidays have joined hands to launch a promotional campaign across several cities in India to attract more tourists to Sri Lanka. The campaign will consist of cinema and TV advertising, as well as presentations to key agents covering all the main cities.

Aitken Spence Travels is the largest tour operator bringing in over 120,000 tourists to Sri Lanka. SriLankan Airlines flies to 7 destinations in India. The 200-room Turyaa Kalutara is the latest property opened by Sri Lanka’s largest resort operator, Aitken Spence Hotels.

The campaign will break and coincide with the Thai Pongal festival on TV and on 50 Cinema locations in major cities and states such as Mumbai, Karnataka, Bangalore, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, West Bengal, Kolkata, Delhi, Kerala and Cochin.

Aitken Spence Travels has developed two exclusive travel packages, namely ‘The Best of Sri Lanka’ and ‘Waves of Fun’ for this promotion, which is combined with air fare by SriLankan Airlines.

‘The Best of Sri Lanka’- a 5 days/4 nights package- would give the Indian traveller the experience of savouring some of the most beautiful locations in the island that includes sites of the “Ramayana trails”. The traveler will also stay in some of the finest hotels in Sri Lanka during the tour, such as Heritance Tea Factory, the Earl’s Regency and Turyaa Kalutara.

‘Waves of Fun’ package is a 4days/3 nights exclusive package at the beach at Turyaa Kalutara, allowing the traveller to enjoy time out for themselves with many excursions they could pick and choose.

Sri Lankan Airlines has launched the special Sri Lanka travel packages to the top Indian Tour operators in three of the most important source cities in India through exclusive events. Accordingly, launch events took place in Delhi on the 8th of January, in Mumbai on the 13th of January and in Chennai on the 18th of January.

“Last year compared to the overall growth in tourist arrivals of 18%, Indian tourist arrivals experienced a growth of 30% and remains the number one country for tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka with a figure of over 320,000 arrivals. In order to show our further commitment to the Sri Lanka Tourism product, SriLankan Airlines will continue to promote Sri Lanka with tailor made packages to the Indian market throughout the year”, said SriLankan Airlines’ Manager for North India, Chinthaka Weerasinghe.

“As Sri Lanka’s leading destination management company, we have relentlessly pursued unchartered markets globally, bringing in valuable diversity to the country’s tourist portfolio. Sri Lanka as a destination has to have a strategic focus on India for many obvious reasons, such as proximity, connectivity and size. There is tremendous potential in developing the Indian market for Sri Lanka. We see SriLankan Airlines as a critical partner in this process who have continued to support the industry in promoting destination Sri Lanka”, said Aitken Spence Travels Managing Director, Nalin Jayasundera.

Part of the gathering of Top tour operators in India who were part of the presentation

Spanish Global Family Business Expert Impressed by Sri Lanka

5 Jan

Zugaza family in the cultural triangle

Mr. Jose Manuel Zugaza and family in Polonnaruwa

One of the most globally well-known family business consultants, Jose Manuel Zugaza celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife and three children in Sri Lanka recently. Mr. Zugaza, a former Executive President of Banco de Madrid of Spain and now the Managing Partner of UNILCO, a leading consultancy for family companies. The Zugaza family experienced the Cultural Triangle in a tour organized by Aitken Spence Travels through their partner, a high-end tour operator in Spain. Aitken Spence Travels is the largest inbound tourist operator in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Zugaza and his wife Carlota Escribano, who is a Director of Institutional Relations at the Development Bank of Latin America described their visits to the UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the Dambulla Cave Temple as “epic”. They also took part in a biking tour through the ruins of Polonnaruwa, another UNESCO World Heritage site.

“We will never forget encountering a herd of elephants on the main road, from Polonnaruwa on our way to a Safari tour in Minneriya”, said Ms. Escribano.

Jose Manual Zugaza is also the President of the Asociación Española de Consejeros de Empresas Familiares, Member of Family Business Network (F.B.N.) of Lausanne (Suiza), Member of Family Firm Institute (F.F.I.) of the USA and external adviser for Executive Family Boards in Europe and Latin América, among others. He is an expert on generational transition processes, and a specialist mediator in conflict resolution family business. He is the Author of several publications on strategies for family business and he wrote the book “Las Equivocaciones Que Nos Hicieron Triunfar” (“The mistakes which made us succeed”).

Aitken Spence Travels is fully diversified in to every aspect of tourism related activities namely; Leisure, Eco, Adventure, MICE and Cruise. It is considered as the leader in destination management in Sri Lanka with its creative and innovative tours and services. Partnered with the world’s largest tourism integrated company, TUI group, with over three decades of experience, the company is backed by a reputation of being the most professional in the business.

Aitken Spence Travels hosts President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association to Sri Lanka

4 Dec
Lebanese Travel Agents Visiting Sigiriya

The President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association, Mr. Jean Abboud along with other Lebanese tour agents visiting Sigiriya.

The President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association, Mr. Jean Abboud along with a group of high profile Lebanese tour agents on an educational tour to Sri Lanka was welcomed and hosted by Aitken Spence Travels recently. The group’s main objective was to update themselves about the destination and explore possibilities of developing new tours based on their 14-year relationship with the company.

As the market leader that penetrated the Lebanese market way back in 2001, Aitken Spence Travels has enjoyed the first mover advantage and handles the bulk of the inbound Lebanese travelers to Sri Lanka. The country recorded over 3,700 Lebanese travelers last year and this number is currently growing at 20 per cent.

The Lebanese travelers prefer to travel to Sri Lanka specifically during Eid, Easter, Christmas and summer holidays which usually fall during June, July & August. Many honeymooners and groups prefer Sri Lanka as a destination and enjoy the many new attractions the country has to offer including shopping at all international branded stores.

Commenting on his visit to Sri Lanka President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association, Mr. Jean Abboud said “I have been in love with Sri Lanka since my first visit way back in 2001. I could safely say that this is my second home. You have a beautiful country which is a tropical destination to many Lebanese who enjoy attractions such as the abundance of beautiful nature, the rich culture, the sandy beaches and the varied wild life Sri Lanka has to offer. So we need to look at creating more and more new tours highlighting these products to attract travelers from Lebanon that would further strengthen and grow the market”

“We have invested heavily in this market ever since we entered it. All our efforts through promotions, airline promotions and educating the agents has paid rich dividends in reaching the current position. We will not relay on our current laurels and will ensure that we further strengthen the relationships and develop more tours that would help us tap in to untapped potential travelers of Lebanon” stated Mr. Darell de Crusz AVP Marketing of Aitken Spence Travels.

Aitken Spence Travels the winner of the Presidential award for 3 consecutive years and the only DMC to enter the Hall of Fame as well as being the recipient of Sri Lanka Tourism Award for Professional Conference Organizer. The company was also the proud recipient of the prestigious PATA gold award in 2014 under the Environment – Ecotourism Project for an innovative excursion program developed together with the Elpitiya Plantations.

Aitken Spence Travels is fully diversified in to every aspect of tourism related activities namely; Leisure, Eco, Adventure, MICE and Cruise. It is considered as the leader in destination management in Sri Lanka with its creative and innovative tours and services. Partnered with the world’s largest tourism integrated company, TUI group, with over three decades of experience, the company is backed by a reputation of being the most professional in the business.

Aitken Spence Managed Desert Nights Camp in Oman, Voted as One of the World’s Best

13 Jun

Desert Nights Camp, operated by Aitken Spence Hotels has been voted by the clients of Studiosus as one of the best hotels in their global portfolio. It also won  the Studiosus quality award for the year 2012. Studiosus is one of Germany’s leading tour operators offering outbound guided tours to a multitude of international destinations.

 

The accolade was awarded on the exceptional levels of service experienced by guests during their stay at the Desert Nights Camp gaining recognition as one of the best hotels in the world.

Located in Wahiba Sands in Oman this rustic beauty is surrounded by peaks of sand dunes, offering a natural protection from the temperamental sun of the Omani desert. The luxurious detached tented suites provide a lavish ‘chance of a lifetime’ experience. The camp blends in harmoniously with its environment and offers ‘zero’ disturbance to its guests. The unique desert experience provided in combination with an array of ‘wine & dine’ options enables one to capture the wonders of this property within its desert dwelling.
 
“We are extremely proud of this tremendous achievement. The team at Desert  Nights Camp led by Mr. Anurin Jansen prides themselves in providing exceptional service and winning accolades such as this attests to the team’s commitment” said Mr. Srinith De Silva, Chief Operating Officer for Oman for Aitken Spence Hotels.

 

Aitken Spence Hotels, the first Sri Lankan hotel operator to enter the Maldives in1993 and India  in 2007 broke new ground once again when they ventured into Oman in 2009 entering into a management agreement with Oman Hotels and Tourism Company (OHTC).

 

 “Aitken Spence prides itself in delivering incredible experiences and excellent standards of hospitality. With the vision, support and cooperation extended to us by Mr. Maqbool  Hameed Al Saleh, Chairman of OHTC, we have been able to  achieve great feats in Oman” , said Mr. Malin Hapuoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels. 

 

Aitken Spence is the largest resort operator in Sri Lanka and the largest international hotel operator in the Maldives. The Desert Nights Camp is operated under the management of Aitken Spence Hotels. Aitken Spence Hotels operates 5 hotels in the Sultanate of Oman.

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Sustainability is the key to tourism development in Sri Lanka

9 Jul

Sustainability is a big buzz word globally, and it is increasingly shaping the way how businesses think and operate. In the travel and tourism sector, which is the largest industry worldwide, sustainability has become a key driver helping market airlines, destinations, hotels & tours.

For us in Sri Lanka, the tourism industry is bringing a whole new world of opportunities for economic development, especially in the rural areas.  Integrated nature of the tourism industry is such that the economic benefits always spread across the entire country, almost all the people. Tourism also helps us to look after our natural & cultural resources.

Aitken Spence Hotels Group has come a very long way in making their hotels sustainable. According to Mr. Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director of the Aitken Spence Hotels Management (Pvt) Ltd. which operates Sri Lanka’s largest hotel portfolio, the Group’s sustainability practices have been adopted long before sustainability became fashionable in the international tourism industry. Mr. Hapugoda said “Aitken Spence  has  invested in lot of time and financial resources  over the decades to make our hotels world class case study examples of sustainability. We have found out that our business associates and our guests are keen to learn about the sustainability practices of the hotels than ever before. The unique sustainability features of our hotels are clearly giving us a marketing advantage.  Our expertise gained in sustainability in Sri Lanka is spreading across to our hotels in the Maldives, India & Oman. ”

Sustainable tourism is on the rise in Sri Lanka, with consumer demand growing, travel industry suppliers are developing new green programmes, and the government is encouraging sustainable practices in tourism. But what does “sustainable tourism” really mean? How can it be measured and credibly demonstrated, in order to build consumer confidence, promote efficiency, and fight false claims? Mr Hapugoda emphasizing the importance of credibility & sustainability reporting said, “There are internationally accepted standard guidelines & frameworks for sustainability implementation, evaluation, data collection and reporting.  If Sri Lankan hotels want external parties to recognize their efforts and build credibility it is very important to adopt these guidelines to share information on what they have achieved and disclose information on an universally accepted format”.

The Sustainability reporting framework developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) complying with  the G3 guidelines and indicator protocols for economic, environment, human rights, labour, product responsibility and societal performance. The report outlines the company’s progress in embedding the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact and Climate Change mitigation actions.

Media Release – 09 July 2010