Travel / Lifestyle
Lanka to set record straight at WTM in UK
Elephant rides into the interior
Sri Lanka will pitch the highest importance to The World Travel Mart
(WTM) scheduled from November 6 to 9, in London, to counter the notion
of some Britishers, that the affect of the tsunami of 2004, yet lingers.
Among others, there is doubt whether the violence in the North East
of the island lies close to their holiday locale. To the second group,
the answer is that the island's cultural triangle and places of radiance
and resplendence lie outside the theatre of violence. Moreover, WTM is
the largest travel fair in UK and the second largest in the world.
The United Kingdom has been the second largest market for Sri Lanka
tourism with arrivals of 92,929 in 2005, next to India, whose arrivals
counted 113,023, that year. In terms of room nights, UK has dominated
all others, chairman Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) Udaya Nanayakkara
said. Moreover, 60 percent of business remains in the hands of tour
WTM 2005 was attended by 48,211 travel industry professionals
representing 202 countries and regions, while independent research had
shown that over GBP 24 million of businesse was generated, SLTB
director-marketing M. B. Kiriella told the media.
News coming from London says that tourism ministers from more than
100 countries are expected to gather at next month's WTM. On the agenda
is a ministers' reception onboard the Silver Sturgeon moored outside
ExCel in London's Docklands.
`In 2007 we want more of a specific focus on developing a ministers'
summit in conjunction with the World Tourism Organisation and ask them
what they want to debate.' WTM is popular with the local travel trade,
with 57 taking part in 2004 which dropped to 45 in 2005, due to the
Tour operators have committed to sell Sri Lanka in their brochures
and websites, making up 60 companies - 500 pages on Sri Lanka in the
market place for 2006. It is the travel agents who will sell one country
over the other, Nanayakkara said.
"We believe in promoting the destination in every possible way, not
as a travel mart," Nanayakkara said.
This year, at WTM, Sri Lanka will portray the Makara Thorana or the
gateway to the Temple of the Tooth Relic or Dalada Maligawa in Kandy.
In 2004, the stairway in Yapahuwa in Kurunegala which lead to the
Temple of the Tooth Relic in the 13th Century AD was depicted, besides,
other historic features, earlier, in London, Frankfurt and Paris. Our
dance troupes have also played a large part around the world, promoting
Sri Lanka as a tourist destination, SLTB additional director general,
Dileep Mudadeniya said.
The dance troupes flown to London will perform for the visitors who
gather around the Sri Lanka pavilion, while the main stage attracts
journalists, travel agents and creates a general buzz at WTM. The
Channa-Upuli dancers will also perform. The theme this year is "Beyond
the beaches" and is expected to attract over 3,000 photographers.
Sri Lanka began seven weekly advertisements in the Travel Weekly, a
leading travel paper, highlighting the "Wonders of Sri Lanka" and
inviting travel agents to its stands, SLTB additional director-
marketing, Ms Madubani Perera said.
Sri Lanka has also participated in ANTOR meets the Media with 30
other tourist boards and is expected to receive GBP 3,000 free media
publicity in the run up to WTM, and other articles are expected to
educate over 20,000 travel agents, some of whom will not make it to WTM,
Sri Lankans living in UK will receive a special supplement intended
to be shown to their friends, to promote the island as a tourist
destination. Sri Lanka Tourism has planned a large supplement on Sri
Lanka, sold in many countries. Sri Lanka will tie up with the
Independent Newspapers, with a distribution of 300,000, Nanayakkara
A six- page facet on Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Tourism will only
sponsor part of the cost. The Independent will raise the balance funds
through the industry in the UK.
India allows more flights for SriLankan Airlines
Bilateral Air Services negotiations between India and Sri Lanka were
held recently. The Indian delegation was led by Ajay Prasad, Secretary,
Civil Aviation, Government of India and the Sri Lankan delegation was
led by Tilak Collure, Secretary, Ministry of Ports and Aviation.
The negotiations reinforced the special position Sri Lanka enjoys in
the aviation sector in India. SriLankan Airlines is already the largest
foreign airline operating into India with 86 weekly flights.
SriLankan Airlines operates daily flights to six Indian metropolitan
cities and unlimited frequencies to 18 tourist destinations in India.
The three Indian carriers - Indian, Jet and Sahara - operate 21 weekly
flights to Sri Lanka.
During the negotiations, the Indian side allowed SriLankan Airlines
seven additional weekly flights to Mumbai and seven additional flights
to Bangalore from winter 2008. India also allowed seven weekly flights
to Coimbatore and Pune.
Sri Lanka has enjoyed "SAARC Plus" privileges in the civil aviation
sector in India. During the 13th SAARC Summit at Dhaka in 2005, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh extended to all SAARC countries the same
privileges as were extended to Sri Lanka.
'Taste of India' with leading chefs
Three of India's leading chefs take you on a culinary sojourn with
the 'Taste of India' food festival from October 19 to 29 from 7.30 p.m.
- 11.00 p.m. at the Atrium Cafe at the Cinnamon Grand.
The chefs are Mohamad Arif Quereshi and Hari Kummar from Radisson GRT,
and Krishnan Govindaswamy from the Great Kebab Factory.
The festival will feature food fare from different regions including
Awadhi cuisine from the city of Lucknow, Chettinad cuisine from Tamil
Nadu, Keralla's seafood flavours, Mangalorean cuisine from the western
coast, Punjabi cuisine with Tandoori, Kebabs and Dhals and Andhra
cuisine with its spicy flavours.
Chaat items, a range of separate food stations serving kebabs,
biriyani varieties, spicy and tangy curries, dosai and delightful
desserts are part of the novel features of this mega festival, with
dinners having an amazing variety of dishes from various regions.
"The hotel has recreated a little bit of India with typical Indian
monuments - live Hindustani music, decor and food to give diners a total
Indian experience, while partaking in this nightly feast of flavours," a
spokesman for the hotel said.
A special bazaar is also part of the Indian experience with stalls
selling sarees, costume jewellery, shawls and other trinkets. Mehendi
Art and a fortune-teller with add colour to the evening.
It is co-sponsored by Jet Airways, Carlsberg, Labels, Pepsi, East
West and Crisbro.
Etihad Airways to fly to New York
The inaugural Etihad Airways flight to New York is just a few days
away and the airline is gearing up to treat their guests to a journey
which is just as spectacular as its latest destination.
Since Etihad first took to the skies in 2003 it has received critical
acclaim for its innovative philosophy of treating passengers as
The epitome of Eithad's service excellence is the Diamond Zone.
Within that is the revolutionary Diamond Zone Suite, with a seat that
sets new industry benchmarks. Not only can it recline 180 degrees into a
flat bed, but it can also rotate 180 degrees enabling guests to hold
meetings, dine and converse with one another. Guests will also enjoy
almost total seclusion with the Diamond Suite privacy.
Diamond Guests can relax in the most luxurious surroundings, enjoying
an extensive range of TV programs on 23" personal LCD video screen as
well as films, video games and music on the 'air theatre'. In addition
the Diamond Zone also provides guests with an individual wardrobe,
individual baggage space, in-seat mini bar, individual lighting, in-seat
massage and a communication panel, so you can work on the go.