Sri Lankan hotel awarded recertification from Green Globe

Green Globe has announced that it has issued a recertification for the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel Colombo in Sri Lanka.

The hotel has been issued with the recertification after it was subjected to an audit about two years ago. The certification agency said that the recertification comes after the hotel implemented a number of improvements. The hotel was also commended for its continuous demonstration of leadership in sustainable tourism and corporate social responsibility.

After the hotel won the recertification, Denis Gruhier, general manager, said, ‘At Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, we firmly believe that creating awareness is the key to strengthening green initiatives. We are very proud to earn the prestigious Green Globe Certification for the third year in a row, and we aim to continue our close involvement with the local community, enhancing the John Keells leisure sector’s pledge ‘I Will Care.’ Associates of our hotel actively volunteer to participate in CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects embracing all four major ethnicities prevalent in this country, as we are dedicated to support ethnic harmony. Our recent CSR projects include assistance in the restoration of the historic Abeygiriya Temple, St. Anne’s Church, Ayeshwariya Lakshmi Amman Kovil, and the Galloluwa Jumma Mosque in Minuwangoda. We are a member of the local green sustainable business programme in the region.’

The hotel has implemented many measures that are focussed on saving energy and the environment. For example, energy and water usage is under strict surveillance in the hotel. Guest rooms are equipped with water-efficient, dual-flush toilets and water-saving showers and faucets. The hotel uses only chemicals that are biodegradable. It sends all wastes for recycling and food waste is donated to a local piggery. The hotel sports a roof-top vegetable and herb garden and all kitchen wastes are used in that garden.

The Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo is part of John Keells Hotels Plc.


Sri Lanka Tourism enters into association with MasterCard Worldwide

The tourism department in Sri Lanka has entered into an association with MasterCard Worldwide (NYSE: MA), a provider of credit card services.

The two entities have entered into an agreement to promote tourism in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) would use the facilities provided by the payments company to enhance its presence in the nation as well as globally. The agreement would have a specific focus on attracting India’s tourists. The five-year agreement would promote Sri Lanka as a premier tourist destination for Indian travellers. MasterCard and Maestro card holders would be able to avail special privileges and benefits through the association.

The government of Sri Lanka and its tourism department is making efforts to revive the tourism sector of the nation, which is just recovering from years of civil war that had destroyed the nation’s economy. Even though the war has ended, tourism has not picked up particularly well, and efforts are ongoing to revive the sector. The nation is now pursuing an ambitious strategy to welcome 2.5 million visitors by 2016. International tourism arrivals in Sri Lanka had touched 856,000 in 2011 with a growth rate of 30.79% over 2010. India is believed to be the biggest source of tourists to Sri Lanka, and so the nation is now trying to focus on the influx of Indian tourists to the nation.

TV Seshadri, division president, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide, said, ‘This alliance underscores our optimism regarding the potential of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, as well as our commitment to developing and promoting cross border tourism between India and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is rich in culture and heritage and an attractive destination for both leisure and business travellers. We’re excited to be able to deliver even greater travel experiences to MasterCard cardholders through our work with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.’

MasterCard is to use its business influence to promote Sri Lankan tourism in India through propaganda aimed at high-potential travellers.

BA to offer new Sri Lanka service

British Airways, the UK based airline company, is offering a new service to Sri Lanka, from London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

The new service will be offering flights three times per week from March 31, 2012, to Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city. The airline will be operating the service with a Boeing 777 aircraft that offers three grades of cabin, including Club World class, which will feature fully flat beds.

Silla Maizey, the airline managing director for London Gatwick Airport, said, ‘This is such an exciting new route for us. The UK has the second largest number of tourists visiting the island after India so it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to fly there with British Airways from Gatwick.

Sri Lanka has so much to offer visitors from beach, spa or adventure holidays, to cultural, wildlife and nature breaks.’

The airfares are to commence from GBP595 in World Traveller class, GBP1,316 in World Traveller Plus class, and GBP2,244 in Club World class.

Those passengers travelling on the new Colombo flights will be able to access a dedicated check-in area at Gatwick North Terminal, which will be operated by the airline to provide a more comfortable start to their journey.

Previously, the airport has reported the opening of a new airport restaurant, ‘YO! Sushi’, at the North Terminal as part of its efforts to improve passenger facilities. The opening of the Japanese food outlet has followed on the heels of a new Jamie Oliver restaurant that also recently opened at the airport.


Tour operators in SAARC nations to jointly promote tourism

Tour operators conducting business in the SAARC nations have agreed to jointly promote tourism in the region.

A Tour Operators Conclave was convened by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in New Delhi earlier this month, and in the conclave tour operators were urged to work with each other to promote tourism in the SAARC nations.

The minister for Tourism in India, Subodh Kant Sahai, said, ‘We must motivate each SAARC country in such a way that tourism becomes the focus of economic and political agenda. SAARC region has immense growth potential. If it could be fully utilized in all possible ways, the SAARC region has the potential to steer the economy of the world. The cultural diversity of the SAARC region is unique, and the combination of scenic landscapes, natural beauty, and ethnic multiplicity – only add to its international appeal. All these facts unite to make the SAARC region a great tourist attraction. In fact, most SAARC nations have already realized this potential at individual level but with a concerted effort, the success culminated would be many folds.’

The minister also lamented that the tourism sector still lacked due political and economic recognition. He also announced the launch of the ‘Global Leaders for Tourism Campaign’ that is expected to expand tourist activities in the region.

About 45 tour operators from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka participated in the conclave.

According to official figures, international tourist arrivals to Asia and the Pacific are to increase from 204 million in 2010 to 535 million in 2030.

New Website Offers Hotel Rooms Under £100

A new UK-based website,, is offering stays at independent hotels for room rates commencing under £100 per night.

The website offers a portfolio of privately owned, boutique hotels across the world, each offering new vacation experiences. It is claimed that travel experts have individually reviewed the listed hotels, and the listings include a special, ‘What We Say’ section highlighting the levels of service experienced by those experts.

Currently the hotels are located in India, Sri Lanka and Zambia, but the company intends to expand its listings beyond these areas in future.

The listed hotels are privately owned, some are family run, and claim to offer a range of local flavours that are offbeat and away from popular tourist destinations. The hotels offer a range of accommodation from suites to large and small rooms, and include seasonal promotions and themed travel options. The themed travel options include wildlife and camel safaris, trekking, and golf and yoga based stays. The bed and breakfast prices are based on double occupancy.

The company founder and director, Philippa Kaye, said, ‘We wanted to create a website that has a more personal approach to finding the perfect ‘hidden gem’ properties that can make travelling so special. We are aware that price is a key factor in today’s decision making so we decided to focus our efforts on hotel rooms that are under £100, however as people are conscious of ‘budget’ travel in India we also ensure that we personally and visit review all hotels or that they are recommended by a trusted colleague.’