Sri Lanka makes impression at International French Travel Market

Sri Lanka raised its profile to that of an Asian Tourism icon at the annual ‘IFTM TOP RESA’ (International French Travel Market) which was held in Paris from 23rd to 26th September 2014.

Sri Lanka’s pavilion was opened by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France Prof Karunaratne Hangawatte, along with other Embassy officials of Sri Lanka and the leading industry participants from Sri Lanka and other dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony.

Decked with the majestic replica of the ancient rock fortress ‘Yapahuwa’, Sri Lanka showcased the ancient glory of the country attracting hundreds of visitors to the pavilion where interactions were made with the local travel and tour operators attending the event. Prof Karunaratne Hangawatte, Ambassador of Sri Lanka presiding over the press conference at the ‘Top RESA’ observed that being a compact island of 65, 610 sqkm, where a tourist can travel the length and the breadth of the country, the diversity of the tourism product it offers to the world is unparalleled.

This unique character has given the country its own authentic flavor. The press conference saw over 30 leading French media participation representing tourism related media organizations in France where Ambassador Hangawatte, engaged in a very interactive session at the end of which a raffle draw was held courtesy Sri Lankan Airlines in offering free passage to a lucky winner to visit Sri Lanka.

Ambassador Hangawatte underlined that with the dawn of peace and stability in the country, the tourism sector has been identified as one of the key sectors propelling the economic growth of the country. In our quest to achieve a target of 2.5 million Tourists by the year 2016 the French market has figured significantly achieving a tourism growth rate of 24% year on year in 2014. He reiterated the importance of capitalizing on the synergies available in a productive public – private partnership with a focus on tourism investment opportunities available in the country.

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Colombo Port city to a flying start

Chinese President Xi Jinping  launched the construction of a $1.4 billion port city in Sri Lanka’s capital that will give Beijing a firmer foothold in the Indian Ocean region. Xi wrapped up his two-day visit to Sri Lanka by visiting Colombo harbour to kick off building of the port city, before heading to neighbouring giant India.The new city, Sri Lanka’s largest single foreign investment, is being built alongside an already existing Chinese-built container terminal, the only mega port in South Asia.

As part of the deal with Sri Lanka, China will gain ownership of one third of the total 233 hectares (583 acres) of reclaimed land that the new port city will occupy.Sri Lanka is a midway point on one of the world’s busiest international shipping lanes that Beijing wants to secure as a maritime silk road of the 21st century. Colombo hopes the city, which will have a Formula One track and a luxury marina, will attract another $5 billion in foreign investment for property development.

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Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 13.8% in Aug’14

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 13.8 percent to 140,319 in August 2014 from a year earlier, driven by China and India, data from the state tourism promotion office showed. In the first eight months of 2014 arrivals were up 23.1 percent to 1,001,643. South Asian visitors were down 1.8 percent to 26,792 compared to the same month last year with arrivals from India, Sri Lanka top market, down 5.7 percent to 17,912.

Visitors from Maldives were up 30.1 percent to 5,891 and Pakistan was down 24.8 percent to 1,699. East Asian visitors were up 42.1 percent to 27,021 with arrivals from China up 139.9 percent to 14,274. In the eight months to August, visitors from China were up 143.5 percent to 81,682 compared to 98,347 from Britain up 5.4 percent.

Malaysian visitors were up 1.4 percent to 1,542, Japanese were up 6.9 percent to 5,233 and Indonesia was down 24.0 percent to 743 compared to the same month last year. Visitors from Western Europe were up 11 percent 48,253 in the month with UK up 0.1 percent to 15,532 and Germany up 29.4 percent to 10,364.

Western European visitors are strong in the northern hemisphere winter season and when Sri Lanka’s Western coast is sunny and calm until the monsoon season starts in May. Eastern European arrivals were up 26.6 percent to 6,979 with Russia up 36.4 percent to 3,246, But Ukraine was down 24.2 percent to 1,109.

Middle Eastern visitors were up 16.0 percent to 18,823 with arrivals from Saudi Arabis down 13.7 percent to 6,653 and UAE down 2.5 percent to 2551 but Oman was up 194.5 percent to 3,852. Sri Lanka targets 1.5 million tourist arrivals for the year 2014 with the key focus of achieving 2.5 million of tourists in the end of 2016.

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Sri Lanka Tourism welcomes 1,000,000th tourist

Achieving another milestone in the country’s booming tourism industry, Sri Lanka Tourism welcomed the arrival of 1,000,000th tourist in 2014 at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday. Sri Lanka Tourism officials including Managing Director Rumy Jauffer along with representatives from the travel and tourism industry welcomed the couple – Joshua Gladstein and Sophie Nathan who arrived on a SriLankan Airlines flight from London.

A special cultural dance recital was held at the BIA to welcome the duo and Sri Lanka Tourism offered a special gift and a complimentary package to the couple.

With the arrival of the one millionth tourist, the booming tourism industry of Sri Lanka has shown signs of achieving its goal of 1.5 million tourist arrivals target set for year 2014 adding another ground-breaking record in tourism industry. The main focus for tourism industry for the next two years is to attract 2.5 million arrivals by the end of 2016. This strategic development plan of Sri Lanka Tourism will achieve its core objectives serving the needs of all stakeholders and ensuring the economic benefits of the industry distributed to a larger cross section of the society being in line with the national effort of making Sri Lanka, the emerging Wonder of Asia.

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Top 12 arrivals to Sri Lanka by country of residence for the month of July 2014

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July Tourist arrivals up 25%

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals in the month of July rose 25.2 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 133,971, helped by increased tourist arrivals from China, Russia and the Middle Eastern region.

Most of the tourist arrivals were from Western Europe with 278,667 tourists visiting in the first seven months of this year recording a 15.6 percent increase over corresponding 2013 figures. For the month of July 54,857 tourists arrived in the island, 10.3% more than July 2013. Arrivals from North America rose by 12.1 percent with 42,822 visitors for the first seven months in the year while arrivals from Eastern Europe increased 44.1 percent with the arrival of 92,903 tourists. Most of the arrivals from Eastern Europe were from Russia with 41,381 arrivals representing a 72.0 percent increase. Tourist arrivals from Middle East rose in July by 55 percent to 5,998 and for the year arrivals increased by 14.0 percent to 44,601. In the first seven months of the year 156,677 East Asians arrived in the island, an increase of 53.1 percent. Number of Chinese tourists arriving in the island rose by an impressive 144.2 percent to reach 67,408. Arrivals from South Asia, the other region from where most of the tourists come, increased by 19.5 percent in the year with 203,004 tourists flocking to the island while, arrivals from India increased 24.5 percent to 133,515 in the first seven months of 2014. In the first six months of the year, 33,920 Australians arrived in the country, an 11.2 percent increase from the previous year.

Sri Lanka has earned US$ 901.8 million from tourism in the first five months of this year, an increase of 35.8 percent compared to last year.

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CFH – 5th year anniversary (7th July 2014)

CFH celebrated their 5th year anniversary by organising a Pirith ceremony and arms giving jointly organised by the management, staff and other valued contributors to the company.

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Huwans/Club Adventure – France invited Mr. Arosha Wijesekara for a special training and workshop in France

We are delighted to announce that one of our senior French speaking guide lecturers Mr. Arosha Wijesekara has been invited to participate in the annual Guide seminar, workshop and training project handled by one of the leading French Tour operators called Huwans – Club Adventure specialists in nature & adventure with head quarters in France. He has been declared as their master guide from Sri Lanka for this important occasion after thoroughly analyzing performances during 2013 / 2014 seasons followed by consent of director board of CFH. Mr. Wijesekara has a rare passion and dedication towards Eco-tourism and contributes to the best aptitude representing Huwans – France as well as CFH with an absolute talent that generates frequently successful customer reports.

This project took place successfully from 16th to 25th May’14 with 19 guides invited from 15 different countries worldwide. We are proud to have one of our guides selected for such an important project with impressive recognition. His representation triggers increased awareness to the destination as well as to CFH internationally. This special project includes many benefits such as travelling around the France, including meeting the Huwans – Club Adventure regional offices and their staff , adequate training for carrier enhancements, exposure to language improvements and much awaited opportunity to discover highlights of France, meeting with professional guide trainers internationally recognized and sharing their experiences, working together with guides from 15 other nationalities which is a rare opportunity to exchange various ethnic backgrounds and it will open doors to build contacts in the same field who are vastly experienced & recognized.

This mission is well promoted by French media and Mr. Wijesekara received multiple occasions to express his views and also to highlight the destination which is a mega boost to tourism industry.

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Vesak commemorations at Country Feeling Holidays

We paid tribute to the Buddha on Vesak – 14th May’14, the day commemorating the birth, Enlightenment, and Parinirvana (passing away) of Lord Buddha. Buddhists throughout the world adopted the Day of the Full Moon in the month of May each year as the Day of Vesak. All at Country Feeling Holidays displayed their devotion through various observances despite extreme schedules.It glittered meaningfully by participating to donate 25 packs of daily needs to poor families through chief venerable Agalakada Thero of “Bodhirajaramaya” temple of the area while truly emphasizing on ethical and socially acceptable values taught in Buddhism to ensure our both material and spiritual progress.

The objective of Buddhism is to overcome our limitations and problems, and to realise our true potentials developing and underlining the importance of core teachings of the Buddhathat encourages the Middle Path for genuine social progress.

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CFH to develop Chinese market with a challenging approach marks rewarding success!

Revenue from Sri Lanka’s lucrative post-war tourism industry grew 32.2 percent in the first two months of this year to 161.2 million USD when compared with the previous year, largely helped by a whopping 119.2 percent boost of arrivals from China. Followed strong market analysis and forecasts, CFH has now commenced since early this year serious investments in the Chinese market with a challenging strategic plan in cooperation with one of their French partnerships recently establishing their offices in China with a brand new concept of attracting Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka in years to conquer. Already considered among top leaders of the French market, CFH has a great potential to develop a powerful presence in the Chinese market in cooperation with their counterpart as well as with their resourceful infrastructure locally and internationally.

Eco-tourism and classic version of tourism through a specialized amalgamation to create engrossingly memorable as well as refreshing new experiences to Chinese nationals when discovering the destination through expert planning & itineraries are the key ingredients to this promising brand new approach.

More updates to follow in near future to share the success!

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