Business Times

Tourism industry felicitated at Sri Lanka Tourism Awards night

By Sunimalee Dias

The tourism industry was felicitated recently giving prominence to some of the leaders and those who made it to becoming the best in the field.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Awards night commended some of the industry greats with Ken Balendran spotlighted as the Legend and S.D. Saparamadu and Nihal Perera awarded as Pioneers.

Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa speaking at the event held at the Water’s Edge said the government is only carrying out a facilitatory role stating it was for the private sector to take a lead and take the industry forward.

He said that a master plan will be unveiled for the next five years in a bid to achieve the given target of 2.5 million tourists by 2016. Deputy Tourism Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the government expects the private sector to ensure pricing is carried out accordingly. It was noted that while other countries were right now involved in reducing their rates Sri Lankan hoteliers were increasing their prices.

The main objective is not simply in getting a large number of tourists but also in offering a superior service and become consistent in service delivery. It was pointed out that while they had not reduced on promotions, the minister noted that they were called to carry out sufficient advertising during the ICC Cricket World Cup however, ‘we’ believed it is not necessary but focus on product development.

Winners at the awards ceremony for 2010 are: in the Tourist Hotels category – Five Star (City) was bagged by Cinnamon Lakeside – Colombo; Five Star (Resort) was won by Heritance Ahungalla and Four Star – Heritance Tea Factory while Palm Garden Village of Anuradhapura bagged the best Three Star hotel; Other Unique Accommodation - Boutique Hotel is Serene Pavilion, Wadduwa and Paradise Road – The Villa, Bentota.

In the Best Host Hotel category, the Barberyn Reef Hotel, Weligama for Ayurveda; the Ella Adventure Park, Ella in the Adventure sector; Azmara Spa of Cinnamon Lakeside bagged the award in the Spa sector; Heritance Kandalama won for Eco Tourism; in the heritage category Galle Face Hotel were winners while Nugagama of Cinnamon Grand bagged the award in the Culture sector and the CIC Agri Holiday Resort won in the Agri Tourism sector. The Gallery Café won the award in the Tourist Hotels and Restaurants.

The Professional Exhibition Organiser in the MICE tourism category was won by Lanka Exhibition and Convention Services (LECS). Best in Venue was won by the host hotel for the awards Waters Edge.
Awards were also given to the Foreign Journalist Promoting Sri Lanka Tourism – Ms. Sechiyo Iwasa; while the Electronic Media Programme on Travel and Tourism was awarded to Art TV and Neth FM won in the Radio category while the Sri Lankan Pocket Guide and Serendib Magazine walked off with joint awards in the Print category.

The Major Tour Operators Inbound was bagged by Walkers Touris; the Tour Operator in Emerging Markets and Tour Operator FIT was won by Asian Adventures; Destination Loyal Partner (Foreign) Tour Operator was given to SriLankan Holidays. The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism was awarded to President Ecotourism Foundation Palitha Gurusinghe; Tourism Entrepreneur for 2010 were Anura Lokuhetty and Sagara Palihawadena. The Leisure Attraction of the Year was bagged by Elephant Orphanage, Pinnawala; Airline of the Year was given to SriLankan Airlines; while Walkers Tours/Condor were awarded the Charter Airline Operation of the Year.

The Best Tourism Website category Walkers Tours was awarded in Travel sector, the Hotel category was won by Mt. Lavinia Hotel, and in the Niche Product was awarded to the Eco Team. In the Provincial Tourism Project the Provincial Tourism Development award was given to the Wayamba Development Authority; in the Tourism Education and Training Effort was bagged by Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. The National Tourist Guide – Lecturer was awarded to Roshan Fernando while the Excellence Award for the Chef of the Year was given to Wijesiri Delthalawage.

JKH Leisure Group clinches 6 top awards

John Keells Leisure Group won six top awards at the Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2010. The Group’s inbound tour operator Walkers Tours swept the travel awards with three (3) awards including the ‘best inbound tour operator’ award, the company said in a separate press release.

The final tally consisted of the following prestigious awards: Best Inbound Tour Operator - Walkers Tours; Best Tourism Website (travel) - Walkers Tours; Best Charter Airline - Walkers Tours / Condor; Best City Hotel - Cinnamon Lakeside; Best Spa - Azmaara Spa, Cinnamon Lakeside; and Best Host Hotel Culture - Nuga Gama, Cinnamon Grand.

Speaking after the awards, Mr. Vasantha Leelananda, Executive Vice President, John Keells Holdings and Head of the Destination Management Sector said, “We are delighted that Walkers Tours has been recognized with three prestigious awards including the best Inbound Tour Operator award. This is an endorsement of the consistent efforts we put in to raise the bar in marketing and communications, excellence in service standards, creating trend setting initiatives whilst maintaining our commitment to the community at large, and ensuring the sustainability of our product.”

Michael Elias, CEO, Walkers Tours explained, “In a year in which the industry faced severe shortages in inventory – both hotel rooms and vehicles - the efforts of my team, their commitment and passion to service clients stood out among the rest.”

Cinnamon Lakeside General Manager Neroy Marso said, “We are humbled by our triumph in winning the Best Five Star City Hotel award at the Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2010.”

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