31st December 2000
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  • Monocable passenger cable cars in the hills
  • Some key events during the year
  • Business Bug 
  • Hayleys Fotoprint installs another digital minilab 
  • Commerical Bank opens new branch in Panchikawatte
  • SriLankan cares
  • WAP site from Eagle
  • Interpersonal skills a must for business
  • Hayleys in Kegalle 
  • Sarath Silva new GM
  • Riva seeks niche market in Lanka
  • SLAQ conducts ISO 9000 Lead Auditor Training
  • Glamour and drama at 'Pantene Hair Asia Pacific 2000'
  • Ceylon tea at 'Polagra Food 2000' exhibition
  • New look and spirit of change at Taj Samudra 
  • Monocable passenger cable cars in the hills

    Lover's Leap

    Nuwara Eliya has been specifically selected for the project due to the large number of tourist arrivals and its scenic beauty. The project involves the construction and operation of detachable monocable gondola passenger cable cars system primarily to attract local as well as foreign tourists. Thirty five cars are expected to be installed with each having the facility to carry 8 passengers. The system is designed to transport passengers uphill and down hill at an average speed of 5 metres per second. 

    The local company will construct 25 towers and one main station for the operation of cable cars. 

    Meanwhile, the company believes that the project will not significantly damage or pollute the environment. However, the company will obtain a final clearance from the CEA for the project. 

    "All steps are being taken to ensure that the environment is not damaged especially due to the large number of tourists expected. We expect 1.5 million both local and foreign tourists a year in Nuwara Eliya out of which at least 80% is likely to take a cable car ride," said Mr. Victor Fernando. A joint venture company will be established with the Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council to undertake the project implementation. Prospective investors will also participate in the equity of the new company. 

    The cable car project is intended as a turnkey project. Doppelmayr agrees to design, supply and hand-over the total package to the Government of Sri Lanka for operation henceforth. 

    The Uva Province

    The cable car project for the Uva province proposed by Franz Srubar and Partner, the local agent for Doppelmayr company will handle the installation of 124 cable cars with a capacity of six (6) passengers per car. Eighty (80) towers would be constructed to operate the cable cars and three (3) stations to facilitate passengers. The cable cars will operate 1800ft-7000ft from sea level and hope to capture the elegant hill-country rich in fauna and flora as its primary attractions. The cable cars will travel 25-30 metres above the tea estates in an 11 km wide pathway. They will travel nine (9) hours daily. This is the largest of the three projects.

    The location identified for this project is in the Haputale district of the Uva Province. The location is significant due to its scenic beauty is also the home of the famous Horton plains, which offers the best scenic locations in the hill country.

    The location is also only a few minutes drive from the famous World's End and the cool climes of Nuwara Eliya , Banadarawela and Diyatalawa.

    Ample opportunities

    Possible employment areas identified by the Ministry of tourism are in handicraft, jewellery, wood-carvings, brassware, restaurants, accommodation facilities such as hotels, rest and guest houses, souvenir shops, tour guides, small scale tourism based industries and so forth. 

    It has also been proposed to grant loans to residents in the area to install tourism based activities and industries as a means of encouraging home based industries. This would undoubtedly add to the development of the region while assisting in reducing the rate of unemployment in the province.

    An automatic development on roads is expected with the implementation of this project. With the implementation of the primary infrastructure development necessary for the projects, it is believed that this roadway will also benefit and develop along with many other roads situated in and around the chosen sites.

    Similarly, transportation by railroad is also infrequent in these areas. Once these projects are underway it will be essential to have a constant railway service along with a more frequent train services in the rest of the provinces. 

    Officials of Doppelmayr have also made suggestions in this regard to improve the railway services to the locations. They have agreed to take steps to improve the standards of the railway stations and the services. 

    Many side projects to attract the target groups have been proposed. Among them are Bio parks, cottages, and to improve low key tourist destinations already in existence. 

    Information regarding this will be made available at tourist destinations, hotels, rest/guest houses run by the Ceylon Hotels Corporation, tourists' souvenir shops and in all other promotions conducted by them. Meanwhile, Doppelmayr has also agreed to include Sri Lanka in their brochure world over. 

    Mr.Fernando said that foreign missions as well as leading hoteliers and travel agents have had discussions concerning promotion of the project. 

    During the first year of operation one million visitors are expected in Uva and 1.5 million visitors in Nuwara Eliya. In the first year of operations locals will be charged Rs.200.00 per round trip and foreigners will be charged rs.1000.00 . Groups will be given a discount of 20%. An estimated turnover of Rs.375 million an year is expected from Nuwara Eliya in five years time once the loan has been fully paid. With regard to Uva, a total income of approximately Rs.629.8 million an year at the end of five years is anticipated, after the loan payment period.

    The construction work of the Uva cable car project will begin in February 2001. It is likely to take 18 months and the commissioning will take two years from the date of commencement.


    Kadugannawa project is still at its initial stage. At the request of the Sabaragamuwa provincial council a survey has been carried out from Kadugannawa to the base of the Bible rock (8km). The starting point is near the Kadugannawa tunnel. Economic surveys have indicated the project to be viable considering the geographical situation and due to the close proximity to the national botanical gardens and temple of the tooth. As required feasibility studies will be prepared within the next few weeks for this project. 

    "Sample cars have arrived in Sri Lanka of the exact size, and model. Unfortunately there has been a delay in obtaining them from the Airport due to a mixup of official documentation,"Mr. Fernando said.

    Some key events during the year

    * The most frequent and obvious - Fuel hikes
    * Rupee devaluation
    * The tumble of the Colombo Bourse
    * Unprecedented expenditure of Rs. 800 million on the on-going North-East war
    * A number of new records in tea, including a record number of days of strike action by plantation workers asking for a wage hike. 
    * FTA between India and Sri Lanka see the light of day
    * FTA between Sri Lanka and Pakistan initiated
    * Forbes changes hands
    * Sampath - HNB mayhem 
    * Lubricants market opened up
    * Gas industry monopoly comes to an end
    * Standard Chartered Bank takes over Grindlays Bank
    * After months of hype SLT foreign issue falls through
    * Ken Balendra steps off the JKH chair
    * Wireless Application Protocol launched 
    * Merc Bank - the newest addition to the local commercial banks 

    Business Bug 

    By Business Bug
    Forget me not
    It is an open secret now that Paris did not yield what was expected, except a stern warning to effect more reforms. And that is why some price hikes in gas and fuel were announced immediately afterwards, unpalatable though the decision may seem politically.

    And that is because the political bosses decided that sooner the better as yet another election is on the cards and that they should therefore give the people enough time to forget the price increases...

    Shell shocked again
    The people who held a monopoly are now shell shocked about the imminent entry of not one but many competitors into the fray, with the first of them becoming operational in February. 

    Present indications are that their rivals' services will be cheaper, at least initially and the monopoly holders fear a major loss of revenue.

    Therefore they now want a regulatory commission that will monitor prices, on the lines of the one that governs telecommunication services...

    Mega malls
    The concept of malls is now here to stay, with some of them specialising in clothing. But, there is no real supermarket mall anywhere in the country where you could buy anything from groceries to hardware and medicines to sports goods, some businessmen seem to think.

    So, they believe there is scope for a 'mega-mall' in the city where literally anything could be found under one roof and sites are being prospected for the project...

    Hayleys Fotoprint installs another digital minilab 

    Ten months after it installed Sri Lanka's first digital minilab, Hayleys Photoprint Limited (HPL) commissioned a second in Colombo, and expects to install two more in the first quarter of 2001, the company said a in a news release.

    Hayleys Fotoprint, imported a Second Fujifilm Frontier 350 in response to the burgeoning demand for the unique facilities the digital minilab offers, HPL's Director/General Manager Ashan Abeyesundere said. "It is significant that Fujifilm was the first with digital minilabs in Sri Lanka, it is also the only choice of local photo-finishing professionals to date," Mr. Abeyesundere said. "Fujifilm will be responsible for the first four digital minilabs in this country according to information available to date."

    Acme Foto Proprietor Ranjan Silva said the demand for services from the Frontier 350 commissioned in February this year had resulted in machine operators often working till 2 am, justifying investment in another machine. "We had difficulties in delivering on time due to the heavy demand,'' he said. "The quality of the Fujifilm digital minilab's output is without match in Sri Lanka, and the after sales service of HPL is excellent. It's a winning combination." According to Selvaratnam Nimal, Assistant Manager Photo Imaging and Information Department at HPL, two more Fujifilm digital minilabs are due to be installed at photo processing outlets in Colombo in January and March. "This is very encouraging news for photography professionals and amateurs alike, because these minilabs represent the state of the art in quality and innovation," he said.

    Another significant aspect of the installation of the second Frontier 350 is that the installation, testing and commissioning of the minilab was handled entirely by HPL's own technicians, with no overseas help, Mr. Nimal added. The Fujifilm Frontier 350 digital minilab, which costs between Rs 8-10 million, accepts regular colour negative and slide film, as well as a wide range of digital sources, including digital cameras, CD-ROMs, floppy disks, Zip disks, PC cards and the Internet, for output on photographic paper at a fraction of the cost of ink-jet prints.

    Commerical Bank opens new branch in Panchikawatte

    The Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently opened its 81st branch in Panchikawatte Colombo's motor spare parts hub. The advent of Commercial Bank to Panchikawatte provides the area with the services of the largest computer-linked branch network in the country a company release said. This will enable customers using the new branch to access 81 computer-linked branches around the country as well as the bank's network of 79 automated teller machines which provide a 24-hour service, the release added.

    "The full range of banking facilities including import/export facilities, leasing and credit facilities will be available through this branch" Mr Udaya Dissanayake, the manager of the new branch said. Businessmen, their customers and others in the area will be assured of the superior service commercial Bank is now well known for and its strategic location will be of great convenience to customers.

    SriLankan cares

    SriLankan Airlines Airport Services recently inaugurated the 'To show we care' programme addresses the needs of wheelchair passengers, unaccompanied minors, VIPs and clients. 

    An airline news release said that passengers flying SriLankan are now assured of individual attention and personal care right from the time they make their reservations and express their special needs and concerns. "Usually, wheelchair passengers only tell us that the need special care when they enter the airport building," explained Ingrid Guruge, who is the co-ordinator to the programme, "To show we care means that we will be prepared for them, with wheelchairs and any other special equipment they may need, from the point of their arrival at Katunayake."

    Careful thought has gone into making this programme a success, with Airport Services staff being instructed on the finer points of personalised care at specially designed training sessions. Such passengers are telephoned in advance and the time of their check in ascertained, at which time Airport Services staff will await their arrival with any special equipment required and of course, the warm SriLankan hospitality. 'To show we care' also takes away the anxiety of parents and guardians when their unaccompanied minors fly SriLankan by providing them with telephone facilities to call their families once check in formalities are completed.

    SriLankan is confident that 'To show we care' will give them a distinct competitive advantage over services provided by other airlines

    WAP site from Eagle

    Eagle has pioneered the insurance industry in making insurance services available to customers through mobile internet technology.

    WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) service allows customers access to the internet on your phone at your convenience, from your palm while at home, office or even when travelling, says a company news release.

    Eagle's web site - on could thus now be browsed from a WAP mobile phone at the customers convenience. 

    The customers could carry out a number of tasks such as inform the Company of a claim, make inquiries on their policies or any insurance related matter and also check out Eagle mutual fund rates.

    The Company web site itself which was commenced with the launch of the new millennium, can be accessed through internet on the above address. The site makes insurance more interesting with an innovative approach to information and is connected to the Eagle NDB Fund Management, NDB & Zurich Financial Services Group. 

    Interpersonal skills a must for business

    The Sunday Times Celltel Business Club met for the last time in the year on Wednesday. The speaker for the session was Akhry Ameer, a Speech Teacher of the Wendy Whatmore Academy and a former Radio Presenter who gave an overview of Interpersonal Skills. 

    "Interpersonal skills are part and parcel of our lives and we have been using them from the day we were born. Therefore the territory is familiar, but probably we are not fully aware of its use" said Mr. Ameer. He explained this further by identifying the various skills that form the core of interpersonal skills. 

    A broad base of such skills include counselling, assertiveness, social and facilitation skills. It is from these skills that other specifics such as interviewing, writing and telephoning are derived.

    The necessary training for these skills can be acquired through practice, experimental learning and a process known as 'sitting with Nellie'. Experimental Learning is learning through reflecting on the doing as opposed to the straightforward learning. 'Sitting with Nellie' is a process known as picking up various skills through observing professionals providing some form of formal training.

    There are several training methods like role play, small group activities, pairs exercises, project work, gestalt exercises, etc. An insight was given into the training methods through two practical exercises. 

    In conclusion of his overview, Mr. Ameer stressed that this cannot be learnt overnight and that constant application of oneself is necessary to build interpersonal skills. He also explained that in transforming the learning in to practice in the real world would require an understanding of theories like that of Carl Rogers' Personal Qualities for Interpersonal Effectiveness. 

    This comprises four factors: warmth, genuineness, empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard.

    Dilip Jesuthasan, Celltel's Manager - Corporate also addressed the members. He briefed its members on a special benefit package on Celltel's Infiniti connection that is being offered to the club. He also requested the members to come up with their ideas and plans for the year ahead and committed Celltel's co-operation. 

    Hayleys in Kegalle 

    Hayleys Electronics (Retailing) Limited, recently inaugurated the company's latest showroom in Kegalle. 

    The showroom will carry the brands marketed by Hayleys Electronics (Philips, Daewoo, Daytron, National Panasonic) as well as those of Siedles (Sony, Aiwa and Hitachi) consequent to the joint venture between the two companies, says a company news release. 

    Sarath Silva new GM

    Mr. Sarath De Silva, has been appointed as the General manager of the Bank of Ceylon with effect from 1 January 2001, with the concurrence of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, who is also Finance and Planning Minister.

    Mr. de Silva who is a senior, much respected banker has contributed immensely to the banking profession in Sri Lanka, a bank release said. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, U.K, the highest grade of membership of the Institute. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka. Mr, De Silva is the president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Colombo Center. 

    He is also the vice president of the professional Bankers Association of Sri Lanka. He has served as a consultant to several International Funding Agencies in the past.

    Riva seeks niche market in Lanka

    Evidence of a growing demand for gourmet or craft beers in Sri Lanka, has prompted one of Belgium's most respected breweries to explore the potential for niche marketing here. The 120-year-old Riva Brewery of Dentergem, Belgium, recently invited Food and Beverage Managers from some of Colombo's leading hotels to sample two specialty beers brewed with cherries and strawberries. 

    These fruity beers were from Liefmans, one of four microbreweries that supply Riva. Liefmans has ben described as "a living working museum of beer making, " says a news release.

    SLAQ conducts ISO 9000 Lead Auditor Training

    Sri Lanka Association for Quality (SLAQ) conducted a ISO 9000 Lead Auditor Certification programme in association with SGS Lanka Ltd. This programme is approved by the International Register for Certified Auditor (IRCA) in UK. 

    This is the only IRCA approved programme conducted in Sri Lanka where two IRCA approved tutors conducted the programme on internationally approved guidelines.

    The services of two ISO 9000 lead auditors, Mr. D. Dharmadasa and Ms. Mangalika de Silva were provided by Ms. SGS Lanka Ltd., as tutors for the programme and this is the first occasion that two Sri Lankan tutors conducted the programme in Sri Lanka. 

    This is the second of the series of programmes conducted by SLAQ with SGS.

    SLAQ is conducting these programmes regularly with SGS to improve the quality of ISO 9000 Quality Management activities so that the organizations developing ISO 9000 systems will really achieve the expected benefit from such a system with the assistance of SLAQ trained Auditors.

    It is noted in many instances ISO 9000 certification is aimed marketing benefits and the cost of operations had really increased due to payments for consultancies and certification in addition to additional operations expenses.

    SLAQ will hold the next Lead Auditor programme in March 2001 with the assistance from SGS.

    International Organization for Standards (ISO) has now revised the ISO 9000 QMS standard and issued as ISO 9000:2000 (revision). SLAQ had made arrangements to conduct a series of training based on these revised standards to help the industry in Sri Lanka. 

    It is expected that all ISO 9000 certified companies adopt the revised standards within before the end of 2003.

    Glamour and drama at 'Pantene Hair Asia Pacific 2000'

    "Pantene Hair Asia Pacific 2000 was a great success, bringing into the limelight some of the most creative talent. 

    It was one of the biggest sensations in the Hair and Beauty industry."

    Living up to its four-year reputation, the recently conducted Hair Asia Pacific 2000 show, held on a suitably magnificent scale at the Park Sheraton Hotel, in Chennai.

    The main sponsor, 'Power of Healthy Hair' Pantene, delivered on its promise to provide excitement, glamour and drama in a four-hour long programme, featuring renowned hair stylists from all over the world.

    Over 200 participants vied for coveted titles, trophies, certificates and cash prizes to the value of US $ 500. 

    The majority of winners were from India, Thailand, Japan ... and our own Sri Lanka!

    The Pantene Awards (for 'Best Bridal Make Up' and 'Fantasy Hair') were won by Manori Jayaweera and Romesh Atapattu, respectively.

    Hair Asia Pacific 2000 was organized by the Sri Lankan Association of Hair Dressers and Beauticians (SLAHAB), who for the second time around, merit congratulation on their successful efforts in organizing yet another spectacular show.

    There's more to come . . . by all accounts, 

    Hair Asia Pacific 2001 promises to be yet another event that will turn heads!

    Ceylon tea at 'Polagra Food 2000' exhibition

    Polagra Food International Exposition has been well known on the Polish and European fair markets. It became the largest and most important event in the European calendar of food/agriculture exhibitions organised in Poland and one of the largest events of that type in Europe. Today POLAGRA FOOD has become the biggest trade event organised in Poland and joined ranks with the select group of most prominent Food/Agricultural trade event in Europe.

    This exhibition covered nearly everything that is connected with Food & Beverage, Food Processing Industry, Catering Machines & Equipment, Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture and Farm Animal Breeding.

    In this year's POLAGRA - FOOD 2000 which was held in Poznan, Poland from 5-10 October 2000, was attended by 1213 Exhibitors from 37 countries including Sri Lanka. Exhibitors rented over 35000sq.m. of exhibitory space (80% Polish, 20% Foreign). According to the information given by the fair organisers, the visitorship of this year's Polagra was over 120,000. Sri Lanka Tea Board has been taking part at this exhibition sponsoring Sri Lankan tea companies during last few years. In this year, Sri Lanka Tea Board was represented by its Overseas Representative Office, Ceylon Tea Bureau in Moscow, sponsoring three leading tea companies from Sri Lanka, i.e., Akbar Brothers Ltd., Standard Trading Co. (Pvt) Ltd., and Nihal Exports (Pvt) Ltd.

    New look and spirit of change at Taj Samudra

    Taj Samudra's faith in Sri Lanka's tourism industry has been exemplified with an extensive refurbishment and upgrading programme involving an investment of US $ 2.5 million, with which the hotel confidently re-launches itself ,continuing to provide its discerning clientele with nothing but the very best in Taj hospitality. 

    Located in Colombo's most prestigious site opposite the Galle Face green, the Taj Samudra's spectacular view of the Indian Ocean and its highly acclaimed service and facilities place the hotel among the top tier of the city's most popular hotels, where seasoned international travellers check into. As a part of one of India's largest conglomerates,' Tata's', and being a key link in the Taj chain which spreads from destinations as diverse as the Maldives to Lusaka in Zambia and London to Washington D.C, the Hotel Taj Samudra has re-emphasised its confidence and commitment to Sri Lanka and its tourism industry. 

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