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Sunday, 29 November 2009

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'Feel Negombo 2009'

Sri Lanka tourism is forging ahead with impressive figures recorded during the past two months and the hotel occupancy rate will increase in the next couple of months, said Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Tourism Development Authority, Bernard Goonetileke.

He said, the tourism industry has organised a series of events to promote tourism in various locations across the country. The Negombo Beach Festival is one such mega tourism promotion event that will take place from December 11-13.

"A few years ago many said that hotels will have to be closed down and employees will have to be retrenched due to the global economic recession. Today with the turn of events following the recovery from the crisis the industry is rebounding", Goonetileke said. The objective of the mega tourism bash in Negombo is to create a vibrant and attractive image of Negombo as a popular destination for local and foreign travellers. Feel Negombo 2009, in line with its theme of catering to the entire family, has a host of events and entertainment lined up for three full days.

There has been a tremendous response from the Hikkaduwa Beach fest which is an annual event that attracts a large number of local and foreign visitors. The benefit to the locality through the event is over Rs. 100 million.

Sri Lanka tourism is planning to hold events targeting tourism development in key locations such as Galle, Kandy, Hikkaduwa and Negombo.

Minister of Tourism-Western Provincial Council, Nimal Lanza said Negombo has the required infrastructure for an upmarket beach tourist hub.

The tourism industry is targeting 2.5 million tourists to the country by 2016. The lack of sound infrastructure and the number of hotel rooms will be some of the major challenges which the industry will need to look into. LF


Food exhibition

To showcase Lanka's food supply chain:

The Agribusiness, Food Processing and Packaging fraternities will once again combine on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of August 2010 to showcase Sri Lanka's complete food supply chain. As in previous years, the show will create opportunities for individuals and companies to introduce new products, technology and services. The show is a public private partnership, with the Ministry of Industries and the Ministry of Agriculture Development supporting the event for the ninth year in succession.

Profoods / Propack 2010 is all about getting Sri Lanka focused at this important task at hand. The Exhibition will have around 200 stalls covering the totality of the food supply chain, giving opportunities for investors, traders and consumers to see first hand, the availability and opportunities in this industry.

The event will showcase the latest products in the local processed food industry, sampling of consumer favourites, innovations and technology development in packaging, newest agricultural machinery and services, processed food hygiene education and many more. The concurrent events such as the Food Awards of excellence and the cleaner diner programme will benchmark best practices and reward performance within the industry.

This exhibition has been designed in such a manner that the public, who are the end consumers, derive substantial knowledge and information about new products and advanced food technologies. This is evidenced by the growing number of visitors to the exhibition every year, making it one of the most popular exhibitions to be visited.

Northern and Eastern provinces which were virtually alienated from the rest of the country during the last two or three decades, are expected to join the main stream of the country's agricultural, industrial and economic development. It is a well-known fact that the North and the East possess an unmatchable capacity for production, specially in the agricultural sector, and the organizers will be mapping out their strategies, taking into account the positive changes that are expected to take place when the exhibition is due to be held. One important aspect of our plans is to transfer the advanced technologies to the newly developing areas.

This event, growing year by year, helps all stakeholders of the processed food, packaging and agriculture industry to exchange their technical know-how, and enrich business relationships. This is an event that undoubtedly stimulates country's economic growth. A noteworthy feature of this whole process is the high level of benefits that are passed down to the farmers, who are the indispensable and also most deserving segment of the processed food chain.

Profoods/Propack 2010 will also showcase many overseas companies participating, especially from the SAARC region. An area has been allocated for international pavilions that have seen the tremendous growth of this event and the popularity it has among all consumers and stakeholders in the industry.

In 2010 the organizers plan to increase the number of stalls allocated for these companies thereby encouraging more participation from the rural areas.


'Tourism will flourish'

The dawn of peace in the country will further increase job opportunities in the airline and related industries, said the directress of the International Airline Ticketing Academy Mayoni Perera, the first International Air Transport Association (IATA) recognized training school in Sri Lanka.

Deepal Perera
Director
Mayoni Perera
Directress

She said that already there is a big difference and we are very optimistic of 2010 and beyond as tourism will flourish in the country. The International Airline Ticketing Academy offers three month diploma courses related to travel and tourism that are equivalent to degrees. The only requirement is the knowledge to understand English and it is proved by the fact that our youngest student was 14 years while the oldest student was 72 years, said Perera.

She said that not only school leavers but house wives, frequent flyers as well as people seeking to start a self employment venture can attend these courses.

The lecturers are IATA qualified and not only give the students the subject knowledge but also the knowledge on grooming, customer care, manners as well as the value of punctuality. Working on time is essential for a person employed in the airline industry as one minute delay cause a heavy cost to the airline. Therefore, everybody who plans to enter the profession must learn punctuality among other things such as courtesy and be well groomed at all times.

All the travel agencies and airlines contact the academy when they have vacancies as they know that we give them a thorough knowledge on every discipline. In addition on the job training is provided by many airlines to our students while our students are employed by most of the airlines around the world and also by all 91 IATA travel agents in Sri Lanka.

Perera said that they also conduct courses in Maldives and also have foreign students studying with them in Sri Lanka. She said that classes are held once a week for three months and most importantly they have to do their homework which is corrected and returned. The students can call us at any time of the day even at night if they are having doubts when doing homework.

She said that the airline industry is the only profession where a person can apply the knowledge globally be it in Sri Lanka or Jordan as the workings are the same everywhere. Therefore a student can be employed anywhere in the world once he is qualified.

We take three intakes for a year in January, May and September and students can select whether they want to attend weekend or week day classes according to their preference. She said that though the academy started conducting courses only in airline ticketing now they conduct courses on Diploma in Airline Fares/AE-ticketing, reservations marketing, Airport Operations and Cargo, airline cabin crew training and international degrees.

She said that the world's youngest IATA holder who is 16 years is also from the International Airline Ticketing Academy and this proves our dedication.

The academy started its operations in 1991 by Deepal Perera who is a veteran in the field with seven students and we have grown to what we are today as we always maintain standards and give the best to our students.


Emirates arrives early to Paris

An Emirates' A380 will serve Paris from December 29, one month earlier than planned.

The airline had previously announced that the super-jumbo would head to Paris Charles de Gaulle from February 1 next year, but an operational review, coupled with demand on the route, has led to an earlier introduction.

The 489-seat aircraft will be incorporated into Emirates' double daily flights to Paris. It will initially service three of the morning departures from Dubai, becoming daily from January 17 2010.

Earlier this month, Emirates bucked the trend in the aviation industry by posting a sizeable profit increase for its operations in the April-September period of the current financial year.

During this period, the airline announced a profit of Dhs 752 million (US $ 205 million) and, significantly, an 18% increase in passengers.

The growth in passengers and earnings has been mirrored in the French market and has been a major consideration in the earlier introduction of the A380 onto the Paris route.

Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe and Russian Federation, said: "Our forward carryings out of France are extremely strong. Coupled with the earlier aircraft availability on that route, it means we can provide passengers with the experience of flying this highly popular aircraft between Dubai and Paris much sooner than originally anticipated. It also provides our passengers with an earlier A380 service all the way through to Sydney, Auckland, Bangkok and, soon, Seoul."

The A380 serving Paris will have a configuration of 14 Private Suites in First Class, 76 new generation, fully flat seats in Business Class and 399 seats in the Economy cabin.

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