Author Topic: NEWS - About Tourism  (Read 79763 times)

Madhusagara

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NEWS - About Tourism
« on: September 22, 2014, 02:29:23 PM »
Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct’, the new commercial paradise

Making a great leap forward, the ‘Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct’, the new commercial paradise situated in the historic fortress of the renowned world heritage city of Galle was declared opened for public on Saturday.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the opening ceremony as the Chief Guest. Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the driving force behind urban development was also present at the event.

Chief Guest, President Rajapaksa unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion amidst the distinguished guests at the entrance and also visited the shops during the session.

Certificates of appreciation were also presented to the officials and other personnel who contributed their valuable services towards the successful completion of the project by the President. Musical and dance performances mixed with cultural features enthralled the invitees in the intervening time.

Located in the renowned Galle Fort, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dutch Hospital is an iconic structure that was originally built by the Portuguese and later developed by the Dutch. Today, the Galle Dutch Hospital has been transformed in to an attractive shopping mall just similar to the one in Colombo Fort.

In accordance with the heritage buildings development project, steps were taken to renovate the historical buildings in the Galle Fort under the directions of the Defence Secretary. Thereupon, plans were drawn to give this exclusive fortress a facelift while entrusting 10th Engineering Service Regiment of Sri Lanka Army with the construction duties. Combining the expertise of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and the Army, internal ambiance blends with modern facilities has been developed while retaining its original architectural designs.

The astonishing shopping complex has eight shops on the ground and 10 on the first floor. Comprised with gems and jewellery shops, tea and spice shops, antiques collectibles shops and classy food and beverage serving restaurants, it would definitely entice a large number of tourists to the venue. It is also an ideal setting to spend leisure time and buy souvenirs while enjoying the real Sri Lankan spirit.

The Southern Expressway, Sri Lanka’s first highway linking the Colombo with the historic city of Galle has currently reduced the time spent to travel to an hour.

Ministers, Galle Chief Minister, Parliamentarians, Galle Governor and the Mayor, the Chief of Defence Staff, Service Commanders, Provincial Councillors, UDA Chairperson and the Director General, Project Architect, Senior State Officials and a large gathering were also present at the event.

See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/dutch-hospital-shopping-precinct-new-commercial-paradise#sthash.qNMHoYx0.dpuf
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 01:09:43 PM by Madhusagara »


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Madhusagara

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Re: NEWS
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2014, 11:16:21 AM »
The National Museum, Kandy will be closed from September 15 to December 31 due to the preservation and renovation activities underway, the Department of National Museums stated in a release yesterday.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/kandy-museum-closed#sthash.Cm79FHDT.dpuf
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 11:21:43 AM by Madhusagara »
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Madhusagara

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Re: NEWS
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2014, 11:20:35 AM »
Pope approves Joseph Vaz as Lanka’s first saint

Pope Francis has approved Blessed Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) as Sri Lanka’s first saint, reports from the Vatican said yesterday.

Reports said that the Pope had bent Vatican rules to bypass confirmation of a miracle in order to approve Blessed Joseph Vaz as a saint.

Pope Francis will now canonize Joseph Vaz, a 17th century missionary, during his visit to Sri Lanka in January. Vaz was born in India in 1651, but chose to work in Sri Lanka amid persecution of Catholics by Dutch colonial rulers, who were Calvinists. He is credited with having revived the Catholic faith in the country.

The Vatican said Wednesday, that Francis approved the decision by the Vatican’s saint-making office to canonize Vaz. The process was the same Francis used to canonize St. John XXIII without a second miracle attributed to his intercession.

Francis has waived Vatican saint-making rules on several occasions and has promised to give Asia more saints.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/pope-approves-joseph-vaz-lanka-s-first-saint#sthash.Uvm6k5Bs.dpuf
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 11:23:57 AM by Madhusagara »
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Re: NEWS
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2014, 11:27:26 AM »
Colombo Port city to a flying start

Dharma Sri Abeyratne

President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a ceremony to mark the commencement of construction work on the mega Colombo Port City Development Project at the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT) yesterday. Picture by Sudath Silva
Construction work on the mega Colombo Port City Development Project commenced yesterday under the patronage of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT).

The event was held with pomp and pageantry with the participation of the two presidents amid a cultural performance by Kandyan dancers and drum beaters with focus on confidence, dedication, national unity, patriotism, nationalism, peace, national responsibility, culture and awareness of national history in the minds of the people.

The ceremony commenced with the arrival of Chinese President Xi Jinping at 9 a.m. He was received by President Rajapaksa and other political heads. The Chinese President was later accompanied to the CICT main building, to view a miniature structure of proposed Port City. Both Presidents jointly unveiled the plaque of the project amidst the beating of Magul Bera and blowing of conch shells. Then they officially commenced the construction of the mega Colombo Port City Development Project by cutting a ribbon. Parallel to this, sand filling of the sea area began by a ship.

Considering several feasibility studies carried out, it has been identified that Colombo city, which is the major economic centre should be developed as a modern city with all facilities parallel to the overall rapid development drives. However, land limitation of the Colombo City has become a limiting factor when carrying out such a development drive and as it is difficult to find a huge land area within the city limits, it was proposed to add an additional land area to Colombo city by reclaiming the sea as a remedy and develop it as a new city. It was apparent that prominence should be given to the Port City, which will be constructed by reclaiming the sea to enable city expansion thus uplifting Colombo city as a modern international city. The Colombo Port City Project, which covers 233 hectares has been planned for two stages and will be completed in eight years . The total land area for the project is 233 hectares and that area will totally be reclaimed from the sea. The proposed area will include all related facilities such as access roads, electricity, communication and all other infrastructure facilities together with landscaping constructions including lakes. The significant feature of the project is it changes the geography of the country and outlook of Colombo with the inclusion of 233 hectares added to the Sri Lankan map. Besides, the project extends immense strength to the government’s efforts to ensure continuity and dedication towards realizing the goal of making Sri Lanka, the most competitive and preferred maritime and logistics hub in the Asian region. The work on the breakwater for the project commenced last October with a total investment of USD 15 billion.

Not less than 233 hectares of sea bed will be reclaimed by the project, which is implemented by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka. Of this, 170 hectares have been identified as an area that can be developed and the rest of the 63 hectares have been allocated for common facilities such as water area, roads and parks. An extent of 108 hectares from this reclaimed land is to be reserved for the company selected for this project, China Communications Constructions Company (CCCC), to cover its investment costs, marketing promotions costs and profits. The project proponent CCCC invests US $ 1,337 million as the total construction expenditure.

From the extent of land thus reserved, some 20 hectares will be on free hold right basis and the balance 88 hectares on a 99 year lease basis. It is expected that around bout US $ 20 billion investment will be made in the second stage of the project within a period of 20 years. The entire construction will be carried out by the China Harbour Engineering Company.

The remaining 125 hectares of this reclaimed land will be under the purview of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). The estimated cost of US$ 1.4 billion for the first phase of this project is to be invested by CCCC. Sri Lanka and China in recent years have developed increasingly closer economic and trade relations and a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries will boost Sri Lanka’s future development.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/colombo-port-city-flying-start#sthash.HdVpp0nh.dpuf
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Re: NEWS
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2014, 11:31:17 AM »
Colombo Port City work commences
The “Colombo Port City project”, the largest foreign-funded investment on record in Sri Lanka commenced yesterday with the commissioning of construction of Phase 1 by Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Chinese-financed $1.4 billion “Colombo Port City” project is its largest foreign-funded investment on record.

The Port City will be built by a unit of state-controlled China Communications Construction Co. (1800) on 233 hectares (576 acres) of reclaimed land, an area slightly larger than Monaco.

The offices, hotels, apartments and shopping centres will draw as much as $20 billion.

Pictures by Sudath Silva

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/colombo-port-city-work-commences#sthash.8hAHCgqw.dpuf
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Re: NEWS
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2014, 07:44:59 PM »
Pedestrians warned to heed colour lights

Sarath Malalasekera

Colombo Traffic Division Director Senior Superintendent of Police Chula de Silva yesterday directed traffic police to arrest all pedestrians who fail to obey traffic colour lights when crossing the road and produce them before courts. The Senior SP also warned the public to obey the colour light signals while crossing the main roads to avoid accidents.

“Who ever ignores the colour lights signals when crossing main roads will be taken into custody and produced before courts,” he said.

The Senior SP also directed his men to book all vehicles that attempt to storm past zebra crossings ignoring pedestrians attempting to cross the road.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=police-legal/pedestrians-warned-heed-colour-lights#sthash.0HKDXSFv.dpuf
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Re: NEWS
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2014, 11:50:15 PM »
Train reaches Jaffna after 24 years

ASM Irshad, Colombo Fort TKN Corr.

After 24 years, a train from Southern part of the country reached Jaffna Railway Station. A test run was carried out from Palai to Jaffna last Monday. Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda and Northern Province Governor G. A. Chandrasiri inaugurated the test run by travelling in the train.

Since 1990, the Yal Devi train service had to terminate at intermediate stations due to the war between the the terrorist war. The Yal Devi had been operating till Kilinochchi since last year and will resume its services to Jaffna once the railway station damaged during the war is opened next month with the completion of the reconstruction work. Test runs along the new Colombo-Jaffna railway track using other trains have been conducted over the past few days.

The train reached Jaffna railway station passing through Eluthumadduval, Mirusuvil, Kodikamam, Meesalai, Sankathanai, Chavakachcheri and Navatkuli.

During this journey, the minister and the Governor examined the construction work being carried out at Kodikamam Railway Station. For last four years, the railway line from Vavuniya to Kankesanthurai is being constructed. At first stage, Vavuniya to Omanthai railway construction work was completed. Then from Omanthai to Kilinochchi, thereafter Kilinochchi to Palai and now Palai to Jaffna has been completed. At present Jaffna to Kankesanthurai work is being carried out at a rapid pace. Parliamentarian M.Chandrakumar and Sylvesthri Allentine, Northern Provincial Council Chief Secretary R.Wijialudchumi, Governor’s Secretary L.Ilaangovan, Jaffna Government Agent Suntharam Arumainayagam, Director of IRCONN S. L.Gupta, Project Director for Palai-KKS Eng. Premkumar, Sri Lanka Railway Official Ariyaratna and several others also took part.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/train-reaches-jaffna-after-24-years#sthash.D7Yd0WuG.dpuf
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2014, 09:39:38 AM »
WHAT’S NEXT FOR SRI LANKA’S GROWING TOURISM?

James Ruggia

Sri Lanka finally seems to have moved the conversation away from the past to the more appealing power of its tourism attractions including tea plantations, blue whale watching, highlands, wildlife viewing, beaches, lakes, rivers and jungles. In August the country had already welcomed its millionth visitor, a development that has tourism officials optimistic that they can reach their 2014 goal of 1.5 million visitors. Last year the country attracted about 1.2 million visitors and is targeting 2.5 million in 2015.

In the immediate aftermath of the war, it was difficult to attract tourists or investment. International hotel companies were among the first tourism concerns to enter the country with Marriott, Hyatt, Mövenpick and Shangri-La leading the charge and several tour operators are now also wading in the waters.

For these operators, Sri Lanka offers their well-travelled customers a fresh frontier. “Our clients demand new and exotic destinations,” said A&A S.E. Asia’s Executive Director Mario P. Scozia of the tour packages he recently launched.

It’s a great destination. The national parks feature wild elephants, water buffalo, monkeys, barking deer, wild boar, sloth bear and leopards. On the cultural side, Sri Lanka’s connection to Hindu literature, especially the Ramayana, is evident in monuments around the country including Dambulla and the temples of Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Activities are at the core of Artisans of Leisure’s private Sri Lanka programs including the 10-day Essence of Sri Lanka $8,795; nine-day Luxuries of Sri Lanka $8,955; seven-day Introduction to Sri Lanka $5,800; six-day Exclusive Sri Lanka $6,315; 10-day Cultural Highlights of Sri Lanka $8,885; 15-day Journey Through Sri Lanka $12,315; and the 12-day Southern India and Sri Lanka (12 Days) $10,680.

Historic boutique hotels

The packages feature tea factory tours, curry cooking classes, elephant riding, spice plantation tours, performances of Sri Lankan dance and fire walking, wild life safaris, Ayurvedic spa treatments and plenty of sightseeing at the monuments and ruins of ancient Buddhist cities.


White water rafting a great tourist attraction in Kitulgala
A&A S.E. Asia Tours is increasing their South Asia programs with 12-day packages to Sri Lanka and the Seychelles. A&A has always had the knack for customizing extra luxuries into the program, but it’s hard to top their willingness to add stopovers en-route of either two or three nights to any Southeast Asia, Asia, South Pacific or Italian destination. A&A designs their packages as either half- or full-board with all ground services in luxury vehicles, all guided tours with uniformed, educated English speaking guides.

Earlier this year Alexander + Roberts launched a new 11-day journey to Sri Lanka using boutique hotels and small groups of six to 16 guests that allow for interaction with the local people. They’re also customizing private journeys. During the trip travellers stay in such historic boutique hotels as Tea Trails, an exclusive resort set in bungalows originally built for British tea estate managers, and Amangalla, a luxury landmark built by the Portuguese in 1658 within the ancient ramparts of Galle Fort.

As usual with Alexander + Roberts, there’s a respect for the traveller’s intelligence that’s reflected in high-quality guides. For instance, Juliet Coombe, author of Around the Fort in 80 Days, will guide travellers through the hidden backstreets of Galle Fort; Mark Forbes, a Colombo native leads a walking tour of the city’s best-kept secrets, special dining experiences such as a lunch at the private hillside estate of textile artist Ena de Silva.

Diversity and richness of wonderful landscapes

On Nov. 1, Khiri Travel, one of Asia’s most successful and responsible inbound operators will open an office in Sri Lanka, a joint venture between Khiri Travel and Sri Lanka-based DMC Luxe Asia. The venture will be a part of the Galle Face Hotel Management Group, which owns and operates the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo (1865), Ceylon Hotels Corporation, Kandy Hotels, Queens Hotel and Suisse Hotel. It has a diverse collection of over 20 properties throughout the island.

“Luxe Asia shares the same values as Khiri Travel,” said Willem Niemeijer, CEO of Khiri Travel Group. “A fantastic new selection of signature Sri Lanka experiences will feature the diversity and richness of Sri Lanka's wonderful landscapes, ancient temples, colonial heritage buildings, nature safaris, and culinary discoveries. Sri Lanka has amazing variety for such a relatively small country.”

Those values can also be found in Jetwing, a Sri Lankan hotel group that is pointing towards the future. Jetwing opened the country's largest privately owned solar photo-voltaic (PV) system, at Jetwing Yala. As the country's third largest PV installation, it covers an area of 1.25 acres – a first in the industry, featuring a record 1122 panels.

The company’s first solar installation took place at Jetwing Blue in 2010, with a 20 kW off-grid roof mounted system that provided energy for 100 per cent of guest room lighting. Jetwing Sea followed suit in 2011, and in 2012 Jetwing Lagoon became the first property to expand the solar PV system to more than just illumination – with a 20 kW off-grid system for guest room lighting, and a 10 kW grid-tied system.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/what-s-next-sri-lanka-s-growing-tourism#sthash.rCfXPYIg.dpuf
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 01:08:52 PM by Madhusagara »
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Madhusagara

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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2014, 01:27:17 PM »
Anilana Hotels to raise Rs 767 m

Anilana Hotels and Properties to recommend to the shareholders to raise over Rs 767 million by the issue of up to One Hundred and Nine Million Six Hundred and Twenty Four Thousand One Hundred and Fourteen (109,624,114) ordinary shares at a price of Rupees Seven (Rs 7) per share, by way of Right to the existing shareholders, in the proportion of Two New Ordinary Shares for every, seven ordinary shares held.

The current stated capital of the Company is Rupees Three Billion Ninety Five Million Eight Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty (Rs. 3,095,892,850/-) represented by Three Hundred and Eighty Three Million Six Hundred and Eighty Four Thousand Four Hundred (383,684,400) Ordinary Shares. The funds raised through the Issue would be partly utilized to retire existing debt of the company and the balance sum of Rs. 600 million would be utilized to finance the balance construction of the Dambulla hotel project. The Rights Issue is subject to the approval of the Colombo Stock Exchange.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=business/anilana-hotels-raise-rs-767-m#sthash.btePUunj.dpuf
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 11:15:45 PM »
World Tourism Day' at Arugam Bay today

The Chamber of Tourism and Industry, Sri Lanka in association with the Ministry of Tourism Industry of the Eastern Province will celebrate "World Tourism Day" at Arugam Bay today.




The program which is to be held under the chairmanship of its President AM Jaufer will commence with a Tourism Walk scheduled to commence at 9 am on the day at Arugam Bay Bridge and wind up at Pacific Hotel, where the main ceremony is to take place. A large number of foreigners are expected to participate in this colourful event.

A Job Fair sponsored by the Ministry of Production and Promotion displaying the productions of small and medium industrialists will be held at Hotel Pacific grounds. This would be followed by an awards ceremony for the Best Hoteliers, Best Travelers/Air-tickets reservations, First Investors on Tourism after restoration war- East Passikudah Malu Malu Holiday restaurant, Best ten three wheelers who have been extending services to tourists. In addition, best five surfers who have been promoting surfing in Arugam bay would also be honoured.

Senior Minister International Monitoring and Deputy Minister for Finance and Planning Sarath Amunugama, Local Government and Provincial Councils Minister ALM Athaullah, Senior Minister of Food and Security P. Dayaratna and Minister of Productivity Promotions Basheer Segu Dhawood and British High Commissioner John Rankin will grace the occasion.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/world-tourism-day-arugam-bay-today#sthash.WyRR6Qc7.dpuf
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 12:59:00 AM by Madhusagara »
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Madhusagara

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« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2014, 11:37:14 PM »
A TASTE OF SRI LANKA

Shilpa Nair Anand

Chef Duminda Abeysiriwardena brings Lankan flavours to the city

I say puttu, Duminda Abeysiriwardena says pittu. I say appam he says appa. I persist with idiappam and he says idiappa. This is the Sri Lankan chef and me exchanging notes on the similarities between Malayali cuisine and the food in his country. Duminda is in town for a Sri Lankan food festival hosted by Le Meridien.



Chef Duminda Abeysiriwardena

For someone who ‘stumbled’ on to cooking, Duminda is besotted by food especially the traditional foods of his country. It is the kind of cuisine that he is promoting in India. Vishakhapatanam, Goa, Mumbai and now Kochi, his last stop, before he heads back home to Galle.

On his first trip to Kochi, he hopes to tickle the city’s palate with Sri Lankan flavours. There is an easy familiarity about food from the island – the many ways coconut is used, many eats made of rice flour, red rice, chilli, cardamom and spices the way we use it and even jaggery in sweets…the list can go on.

Cookery show

“It is easy to work here. All I need I can find here, easily,” as strong, faintly familiar but foreign smells of roasting and/or fried spices and foods waft by at the restaurant, Latest Recipe. He has just finished filming a cookery show for a television channel. He claims to insist on Malayali support staff in the kitchens he worked in while in India, “because they understand what I want.”

Duminda runs his own company, hosts TV shows, travels extensively to propagate Sri Lanka’s ethnic foods across the world and is a restaurateur. Claypot in his hometown serves Indian food (mostly North Indian) but he now wants to focus more on Andhra and Malayali cuisine. “It is virgin territory. Our style is light, which people like. North Indian food is very heavy unlike ours.”

The pronoun used for emphasis, underlines the similarities. He attributes that to the cultural influences from India.

“Foods found in along the south Indian coast, from Andhra to Kerala and Goa, are similar to Sri Lankan food – 75 per cent; the rest has a strong Dutch and Portuguese influence.”

Asian cultures

There is an abundance of seafood in the cuisine in the island country. The recipes that he has brought with him are traditional Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim recipes.

He opposes ‘market-oriented’ cooking and is a votary of the traditional or ‘real cuisine’, as he prefers to call it – food and of how it is prepared. In order to stick to tradition, Duminda says, he researches on food and finds out more about it. “The West is taking all that is good about our way of life and has made it theirs. Look at a grain like ragi which we, Asian cultures, have always known about and now forgotten. What have we done with thousands of years-old tradition?”

Fast food, genetically modified food, monosodium glutamate…he rejects and advocates a return to roots. As a chef he takes his job seriously, he says. A healthy culture of food, according to him, can only start with the person preparing it.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/taste-sri-lanka#sthash.PPN9EAqU.dpuf
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 12:58:10 AM by Madhusagara »
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Madhusagara

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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2014, 11:54:28 PM »
65 MONTHS STRAIGHT, TOURIST ARRIVALS UP

- Lanka shooting up the charts of top tourist destinations
- Govt’s infrastructure groundwork has set the pace


Chamikara Weerasinghe



Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka have risen 16.8 per cent year-on-year in September, with the number of foreign visitors rising for the 65th straight month since the end to the three-decades war in May 2009.

Total arrivals hit a record high in 2013, while revenue from the country’s leisure sector also hit a peak.

The government expects new record high arrivals this year, while the revenue in the first nine months of 2014 has already surpassed the annual revenue recorded last year.

The country is reacting to the rapid growth of tourism. It is shooting up the charts of top tourist destinations, heads of local hoteliers’ associations and tourism organizations assert. The hotels are experiencing a boom in tourist arrivals, the hoteliers said. “We see our hotel bookings continue to grow.

There is definitely a surge in guests,” said the president of the Arugambay Tourism Association M H A Raheem.

“We have about 3,000 hotel rooms in Arugambay as of today. All are packed with guests. We did not have this much of hotels and tourism infrastructure to facilities our guests about two years ago,” he noted .

“I must say that the government has done much to develop tourism infrastructure, not only in Arugambay but across the country. It has created an atmosphere conducive for tourism”, he said.

“Some areas in the East , that had been closed for tourism for over three decades because of the war have been transformed to key tourism zones by the government as part of its Tourism Development strategy,” Rahim said.

According him, one can see Pasikuda Beach East Coast hotels opened along the pristine beaches of the East Coast, which had once been closed to tourism.

“The people are getting benefits from these projects that have created thousands of direct and indirect employment. For example, The hotels buy huge quantities of fish from local fishermen in these areas to cater to the foreigners, the Association President said. “Unlike in the past , we are getting high-spending tourists coming into the country because of new hotel infrastructure and improved services. A group of French tourists told me that they like Sri Lanka because of travel-ease - because there is no travel anxiety in getting to places inside the country unlike in many other Asian countries,” he said.

“It is undeniable that the government has created the base or the groundwork, such as expressways, highways, water sports , hospitals, the roads, the communication systems and services to cater to the tourists,” he said.

“As pointed out by officials of the Kandy Hoteliers Association, the government is in a position to reach its target of generating nearly 500, 000 direct and indirect employment opportunities through tourism in concurrence with its ongoing Tourism Development Strategy under the Mahinda Chinthana Vision for the “Future, that identifies tourism as the key sector to propel the country’s economic growth,” he added.

They said that there are a number of five star hotels , such as Shangrila that are being constructed at this point in time to boost the country’s tourism industry, which will create job opportunities to many local youth.

Former President of the Hoteliers of South Senaka De Silva said it was a good thing that the government has encouraged the hotel industry in such a big way to promote tourism.

“In fact we are well prepared in terms of infrastructure facilities to cater to the flow of ever increasing visitors to the country. There is indeed a discernible growth in the mid-end and high -end tourists to the country.

There is a growth in Chinese and Russian tourists,” he said.

“It is a case of implementing an aggressive marketing plan to cater to the needs of the tourists as it stands now,” said Silva.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/65-months-straight-tourist-arrivals#sthash.mwWx0qP2.dpuf
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2014, 11:58:08 PM »
Yala Park closure extended until October 15

Disna Mudalige



The Yala National Park closure for visitors has been extended until October 15, Wildlife Conservation Department Director General H.D. Rathnayake said.

He said the park would reopen on October 16.

Rathnayake said department officials decided to keep the park closed for visitors for few more weeks due to water scarcity for wild animals resulting from the drought. The Yala National Park was closed on September 1 and was previously scheduled to reopen on October 1. He said officers of the department with the support of Irrigation Department, Water Supply Board, NGOs and private sector are engaged in refilling the water holes in the park to ensure sufficient water for the wild animals.

Meanwhile, the Director General commenting on recent reports that the larger percentage of money allocated to the Department for 2014 has not been utilized, said these reports were misleading as the Department has utilised 80 percent of the allocated money.

Rathnayake said the Department has been allocated Rs. 500 million for 2014.

He said Rs. 150 million of that money was spent on habitat enrichment, demarcations and constructions in national parks, mitigation of human elephant conflict etc, adding that more payments are yet to be made for the work nearing completion.

Rathnayake said the Department purchased 75 double cabs to solve the vehicle shortage, adding that the vehicles are to be received by the end of the year and a payment of Rs. 200 million have to be made for them. He said the media reports of not utilising the money allocated to the Department were not correct.

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/yala-park-closure-extended-until-october-15#sthash.ytBkYxjx.dpuf
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Madhusagara

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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2014, 12:27:57 PM »
SRI LANKA: WATER FOR ELEPHANTS



Tourists at Pinnawala
Watching these mighty beasts splash in the river is an amazing sight, says Alex Robertson

“How do you tell a male from a female elephant?” our guide Amiter asked, with a glint in his eye, as we bumped our way toward the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Kegalle, central Sri Lanka.

“The male has longer legs at the front - to make it easier when he mounts the female!”

He tossed his head back and roared a toothy laugh, before telling us that the length of an elephant's front legs is twice the circumference of its footprint, that Asian elephants have small ears (their natural habitat is in cooler forests in the highlands and they don't have heat issues, unlike their African cousins) and that their trunk has only one finger at the end, compared with two for an African elephant, because of the abundance of food.

Pinnawala orphanage



Elephants at sunset on the Kaudalla National Park Game Reserve.  Picture by Alex Robertson
Elephants are revered in Sri Lankan culture: their image adorns temples across the country and, to Buddhists, represents birth. Hindus worship them in the form of the deity Ganesha. The British Christians, however, saw elephants, which sometimes destroyed farmland and buildings, as a problem and encouraged their destruction. In the mid-19th century, Major Thomas Rogers claimed to have shot 1,500 elephants - one a day for four years.

Wild elephants gradually lost their highland habitat to coffee growers, then tea plantations, and moved to lowland areas where they became more of a problem to farmers, who regularly trapped and killed them.

The population dwindled from an estimated 14,000 in the early 19th century to less than 2,500 by 1969.

Conservation is now the aim and by 2011 the population had increased to more than 5,000. The Sri Lankan government set up the Pinnawala orphanage for young and injured elephants at Kegalle in 1975; it is popular with tourists and locals - there were two school parties the day I visited. Young elephants can be hand-fed for a small fee, and foreign tourists line up for a happy snap as four litres of milk are greedily sucked from gigantic glass bottles.

The highlight of the visit is definitely bath time (10 am and 2 pm), with 84 animals - from giant tuskers to tiny babies - trundling a dusty path through the village to cool off in the Maha Oya.If you help supplement their meagre income, the handlers will help you to get up close for a special snap, as the elephants splash and play. The village is made up of cafes and tourist shops, and a souvenir made from elephant dung (see picture) should be on everyone's shopping list.

Family groups

The orphanage does great work helping animals that would otherwise die young, but the best way to see elephants is from the back of a Land Rover. Wild herds can be seen in some of the country's 22 national parks. In Kaudalla Park, the elephants seem relaxed and can be seen in family groups: a mother, trunk raised, chasing after her errant baby; an infant suckling between her mother's legs; two adolescents play-fighting, their trunks entwined as they push against one another; two kids wrestling on the ground.



This notebook was made from recycled elephant dung
The only noise is the occasional trumpet or snort from a bull and the tearing and swishing as trunks twist, wrench and flay grass before it is thrown into a mouth or over a back. The sky turns purple at the edges; two elephants are silhouetted in the fading light, yet I can still make out that one is a male, the other female. An adult Asian elephant eats about 200kg of plant matter and drinks 200 litres of water a day. A similar amount comes out the other end.

Multiply this by 84 animals - the population at the Pinnawala Orphanage - and you have a rather large problem. The intelligent and resourceful Sri Lankans have come up with a neat solution to this mountain of waste - turning poo into paper. You can watch the process away from the full glare of the sun and out of sight of the cack-averse. Waste is collected twice daily; the larger leafy material is separated and composted, while the dung is put aside to be dried and shredded. The resulting fibre is boiled and sterilised and dye is added for colour.

There's another round of drying and soaking before the mulch is pulped by hand and set on stretchers to dry as sheets of paper. The rough paper is smoothed by rollers to create fine paper and formed into many products. Colourful books and greeting cards are popular souvenirs, with tourists attracted by signs that yell out “Poo Paper” or “Elephant Dung Products”, sometimes with pictures of elephants on the loo.

They didn't have toilet paper for sale, though, which would be rather clever in a Buddhist circle-of-life way.

Courtesy: The New Zealand Herald

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/sri-lanka-water-elephants#sthash.KmG8eAJf.dpuf
« Last Edit: October 11, 2014, 03:49:51 PM by Madhusagara »
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2014, 06:18:11 PM »
Why TEA is more versatile than you think

Brea Carte



John Lawson has recently added a tea smoked trout dish to his menu
Tea isn't simply confined to the morning cuppa; in fact a number of the nation's top chefs are opting to include it in their sweet and savoury dishes, as well as beverages.

Hospitality spoke with three tea advocates to uncover why they have chosen to embrace tea, as well as the techniques they employ to create the perfect tea flavourings.

Tea: the benefits

Jared Ingersoll, the former owner of Danks Street Depot and now pop-up king, is a fan of tea because of its flavour profile.

"Tea has a wonderful depth and qualities that make it really appealing to include in many dishes, and it is a very easy ingredient to use," he says.



Ceylon tea smoked trout tostadas by Peter Kuruvita
Chef, restaurateur, TV presenter and cookbook author Peter Kuruvita agrees tea can add great flavour to a dish, and he says it is also extremely versatile.

"Chefs are always looking for new ingredients and I feel that tea is the next ingredient - we love it for its flavour, but also for its natural ability to be used as a tenderiser as well as impairing colour and flavour to a dish."

John Lawson of Crown Melbourne's No.8 by John Lawson is a tea enthusiast for a number of reasons, however its flavour that tops his list.

"Aside from the amazing health claims made by different types of tea, ranging from lowering cholesterol to weight loss, the greatest benefit is the flavour," he says.

"Tea provides a subtle hint of flavour with a distinct aroma that can rarely be achieved by any other single ingredient."

Tips for incorporating tea into a dish

Ingersoll tends to incorporate tea into his dishes in either a liquid form or as a crumb or garnish. "One of my favourite ways to use tea is as a cold infusion - from there I often go on to reduce it further into a concentrate to get incredible flavour and true integrity from the tea.

"Another quirky way to incorporate the herb is to simply dry roast and use it as a crumb/garnish - the sky really is the limit," he adds.

While he says there are no rules when it comes to using tea, Ingersoll advises chefs avoid one practice in particular. "My only word of caution is to beware of long extraction times with hot infusions, as this tends to release bitter notes."

Ingersoll prefers to work with single origin varieties; however he says most types are suitable for use in food.

"All types of tea are really adaptable, so much so that every time I realise a rule or structure I am already considering the exceptions to it," he says.

Kuruvita believes imagination and experience are important when it comes to working with tea, and advises chefs begin with the basics.

"I would suggest that chefs start off by matching and pairing their food with a basic black tea and then move towards other flavours.

"A little bit of investigation will show that tea and food have had a very close relationship for a long time, and now with modern techniques the options are only limited by chefs' creativity. Two classic examples are Earl Grey and chocolate along with green tea and seafood," he adds.

Kuruvita explains the brewing process is a little different to when one makes a cup of tea in the morning. "My suggestion is to brew the tea longer and stronger than if you were using it as a beverage, and then to try it - if it is too strong then back it off. Try infusing the tea into water and using it to steam food over."





Peter Kuruvita's Mexican donuts with Earl Grey tea anglaise
Kuruvita works with a range of different tea varieties, however in each instance he opts for Dilmah branded tea - a decision he's made for two primary reasons.

"The tea is from Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka only, meaning that it is garden fresh when it arrives. A lot of tea companies buy their tea from all over the world and then blend it in Europe.

"My other reason is that the Ceylon teas are insecticide free and are all single origin, the tea is picked and packed by the Sri Lankans and all of the profits flows directly back to the country. The tea is ethically produced with the health and wellbeing of the worker as a priority."

Lawson includes tea in sweet and savoury dishes, and he uses it in different ways depending on the time of year.

"Currently on the menu at No.8 we have a tea smoked trout with Jasmine. This adds a fresh, spring-time flavour to the dish and keeps it light. In winter I add green tea spices to an apricot crumble and serve it with brandy cream to intensify the flavour and enhance the aroma."

Lawson is a fan of the smoking technique in particular. "I tea smoke the ingredients of the dish, especially when cooking with fish or delicate meats such as pigeon. Another option is tea-infusing dishes using a broth which creates a more intense, prominent flavour," he explains.

The chef is open to using different types of tea, a decision that tends to be determined by the type of dish he is going to create.

Tea and beverages

"Each type of tea has its benefits. Green tea is the healthiest option and is best for a subtle introduction of flavour.

"For dishes that require a more aromatic approach, I always prefer Jasmine as it's more scented and isn't featured enough on the menu. The strongest tea to cook with is Earl Grey, as it contains citrus notes in the fragrance which I love pairing with fish, especially in summer," Lawson says.

"Black teas such as Darjeerling can be paired with egg dishes to complement its robust flavour and high tannis," he adds.

Ingersoll explains tea can be used to create great tasting alcoholic beverages. "Tea is awesome for creating excellent and really simple cocktails.

"Again, cold infusions are my preference and I use them as you would any bitter/instrigent beverage. Use it as you would a background flavour to give depth to the drink as a whole," he advises.

On the other hand, Kuruvita believes alcoholic tea-infused beverages can be quite difficult and time-consuming to make.

"The tea needs to steep for a long time to cold infuse, but if you rapid infuse via a cream gun it is a lot quicker.

"Hot infusions work the same as food, but be careful of the strength of the alcohol diffusing the tea flavour. Once the cocktail or mocktail is made, ensure the ice you use is either frozen berries if the drink is fruit based or make ice from the tea in the drink so you can enjoy the flavour of tea for the whole drink without dilution," he explains.

"One of our favourites at No.8 is to infuse a small amount of white tea into a gin and tonic, complete with a serving of house smoked salmon and crème fraiche," adds Lawson.

Not a trend, but here to stay

Ingersoll sees tea gastronomy as an emerging trend, and predicts it will continue to gain traction. "I have found great inspiration in the versatility of tea and enjoy experimenting with the many ways it can be used," he says.

"It will be interesting to see the practice develop over the coming years. In the future, I see tea being more fully integrated into everyday food from casual through to fine dining."

Kuruvita explains the practice is not a trend and that tea has been included in food for a long time. "High tea has been around for a long time as has cooking with tea - it is a great ingredient which can be substituted for mainstream ingredients."

Lawson agrees, and says the use of tea in food is more of a tradition than a trend. "The use of tea in cooking has been around for centuries.

"I see chefs continuing to smoke, infuse and keep tea on the menu and continuing to utilise its aromas and flavours throughout all seasonal menus," he adds.

Courtesy: hospitalitymagazine.com

- See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/why-tea-more-versatile-you-think#sthash.auupUKvN.dpuf
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 06:20:18 PM by Madhusagara »
Best Regards
M.  S.