Welcome relief for travel industry:
Cess levies directly diverted to Tourism Ministry
THE Embarkation tax levy due for the Sri Lanka Tourism Authority was
directly channelled to the Ministry of Tourism with effect from
The Government has decided to award Rs. 500 from the airport tax of
Rs. 1500 for the development of tourism for the past few years.
Earlier this money was channelled to the Treasury and then was later
refunded to the Ministry of Tourism.
“However this method created several practical problems. With the
implementation of the Tourism Act, the Treasury has now decided to
divert this amount directly to the Authority,” said the Acting Secretary
of the Ministry of Tourism George Michael.
A sum of Rs. 25 million was handed over to the Ministry of Tourism as
the Embarkation CESS fund from November 1 to 15. Michael said that the
Tourism Authority is now gearing itself to host the Hot Air Balloons
competition at the end of March. “This will attract many foreign
visitors,” he said.
He said that November arrivals increased by 20 percent and December
arrivals with the English Cricket tour would have been even better.
“Country is recovering fast and this is a good sign for the industry,”
Meanwhile the total revenue generation from the industry last year
was at Rs. 530 million, which is a dip of Rs. 20 million. The arrivals
which passed the 500, 000 mark also dipped in 2007 mainly due to the
security tension in the early part of 2007.
In addition adverse travel advisories were imposed in Europe and this
too had created a negative impact for the industry. The tourism
Authority expects tourism arrivals to pass the 500 million mark in 2008.
Last year Sri Lanka in addition to participating at the ITB in Berlin
and WTM in London also participated in the Arabian Travel Market and it
is bringing in high returns. Deputy Minister of Tourism Faizer Musthapha
who headed this delegation said that this market was ignored and now its
importance has been highlighted.
In addition to high spending tourists from the Gulf the market has
also helped the local Hotel school graduates to gain employment in the
Sri Lankan to boost Lanka’s image in foreign media
Sri Lankan Airlines has supported to give wide publicity for Sri
Lanka as a tourist destination by organising visits by more than one
hundred journalists and travel writers in 2007 from the country’s major
tourism generating nations.
Head of Corporate Communications at SriLankan Chandana De Silva,
said: “The visit of these journalists is a part of the numerous efforts
of SriLankan Airlines to support Sri Lanka as a global tourism
They are invited and brought to Sri Lanka at the airline’s expense,
not only to write about the airline, but to provide valuable publicity
for the country.”
Journalists on familiarisation tours typically spend a week in the
island, with the airline organising visits to the southern beach
resorts, the mountain region of Nuwara Eliya, and cultural areas such as
Dambulla, Sigiriya and Kandy.
They also spend some time in Colombo, where they are shown the
attractions of the capital, including its value-for-money shopping
Manager Media Relations Ruvini Jayasinghe, said: “We obtain the
maximum publicity from these visits by choosing specialist travel
writers and sports journalists from the most widely circulated
magazines, newspapers, and electronic media.
We are assisted in this by our PR agencies in target markets, and
staff in our ticket offices around the world.”
The airline’s tours for journalists have also increased in
sophistication, as well as numbers. It now organises tours for
specialised writers who cover niche areas such as spa & wellness
tourism, boutique hotels, adventure tourism, and wildlife.
Ruvini Jayasinghe added: “All our tours for media persons are geared
specifically to promote the destination as well as the airline.
For example, those who cover the airline’s events are given a
complimentary tour of the country if they are first-timers to Sri Lanka.
Their reports include as much or more about the country as about our
event and the airline.”
In October alone, the airline hosted 63 media persons from Germany,
Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, France, Japan, UK, India, Bahrain,
Malaysia, Oman and Dubai.
They included 43 who covered the SriLankan Golf Classic at the
Victoria Golf & Country Club. There was also a group of six from Oman,
another eight from Coimbatore to coincide with the launch of the
airline’s services there; and half a dozen from Dubai in a joint effort
with Sri Lanka Tourism. November saw visits by journalists from Saudi
Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.
The airline’s other international events, such as the Singer-SriLankan
Rugby Sevens and its Surfing Competitions, also draw foreign media
personnel to the island.
“We greatly appreciate the assistance of Sri Lanka Tourism and the
country’s hotel and travel industries in organising these visits, which
are of immense value to the country, especially when it comes to
countering the negative publicity that the island sometimes receives,”
Chandana De Silva, said.
ITB travel trade show in March
ITB Supply at the world’s leading travel show will take place on
March 5 to 7 . The presence of Germany’s and the world’s leading hotel
groups at the ITB Berlin 2008 provides an ideal basis for the commercial
success of suppliers to the tourism sector at this trade show.
Both the concept and the location of ITB Supply have proved their
effectiveness. ITB Supply occupies the area.
Leading supplier companies will be presenting their products at ITB
Supply 2008. They include the manufacturer of exclusive baths, Kaldewei,
a leader in the hotel bed sector, Muhldorfer, the well-known hotel
outfitter JAB ANSTOETZ, known in particular for its fine fabrics and
carpets, a manufacturer of high quality porcelain for hotels, RAK
Porcelain, a supplier of restaurant furniture, GO IN, and the publishing
company Fluhrer Verlag, a specialist in the preparation and production
of food and drink menus.
In addition to a wide and varied range of hotel fittings and
furnishings, equipment for wellness areas and guest supplies, exhibitors
are also showing items for the travel industry as a whole, such as
leisure facilities, advertising and promotional products, signs/name
tags, marketing/PR, bicycle concepts, mobility services and
The wide range of products and services offered by the suppliers in
this section is bound to be of interest to trade visitors and exhibitors
at the ITB Berlin who represent every area of the added value chain in
the tourism industry.
‘The pearl fishers’ goes on board
Bizet’s immortal love story ‘The Pearl Fishers’ goes on the boards on
January 9 and 11.
The much talked and written about opera of love, betrayal and
rituals’ The Pearl Fishers’ will be performed at the Bandaranaike
Memorial International Conference Hall on 9th and 11th of January by a
cast of over 150 comprising musicians from France, India, Korea, and Sri
Lanka, drawing the attention of the international media to Sri Lanka.
The cast from overseas have been in Colombo, since December 27, as
guests of the Samudra Hotel School of Sri Lanka Tourism. The composer of
the opera Georges Bizet being French, and the participation of Benjamin
Levy one of Europe’s most talented and renowned conductors with a team
of leading musicians from the Pelleas Orchestra has heightened the
interest of the French media, in particular, in this production and
LCI, MEZO and FRANCE 24 invited by Sri Lanka Tourism are already in
Colombo covering the events leading up to the days of the performances.
This comes in the wake of TV 5 a TV channel watched over 5 million
viewers in France recently broadcasting “Echapees Belles” (Beautiful
Escape) Sri Lanka.
Also in Colombo, is Patricia Panton - stage director, resident
producer and director of the operas of Monte Carlo, internationally
acclaimed for staging successful operas in many parts of the world. Aude
Priya Engel the Soprano in the role of Leila, is Mumbai born and has
previously performed the role in 2005.