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DateLine Sunday, 30 September 2007

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Three-year project to develop SMAPs in Lanka and Nepal

A three-year project will get off the ground in October to develop the Small and Medium Accommodation Providers (SMAPs) in Sri Lanka and Nepal. The investment of the project is 175,000 Euros.

The objectives of this project are to enhance the selling capabilities of the small and medium scale accommodation providers and improving the product and service standards in these establishments, said Country Manager Hilfswerk Austria, David Mangala.

Under this project 40 Sri Lankan establishments and 80 Nepali establishments will be supported to develop their product and service standards to cater to tourists from around the world.

In Sri Lanka the accommodation providers in the areas of Negombo, Southern stretch, Anuradhapura, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya will be selected.

The selection criteria is that it should be less than 20 rooms and employ less than 20 persons.

But we will not be supporting any villa type of accommodation, he said.

The project will get the support of ITH Austria and the Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. Two representatives from the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Hilfswerk Sri Lanka, representatives from the Nepal Tourist Board and Hilswerk Austria will attend the initial meeting in Nepal.

Project Manager Tourism Hilfswerk, Austria, Sandamala Wickremaratne said that at the end of three years we will have a progress review meeting together with the participants to decide on how best we can take the program forward.

Under this project we plan to set up SMAP training academies, improve the product and service qualities, enable SMAPs to participate actively in the worldwide tourism market actively by integrating them to the internet and promote know-how transfer and the best practices exchange between Europe, Asia and Asian countries.

SG


The Tea Factory among the world's Best 100

In an encouraging sign to Sri Lanka's tourism industry, The Sunday Times of UK has named Sri Lanka's first theme hotel, The Tea Factory among the "World's Best 100 Places to Stay" in its September Travel issue.

The UK's largest-selling Sunday newspaper commenting on The Tea Factory said: "Sitting on a grassy terrace at 2000m in the lush tea-planted hills of Sri Lanka, is the Tea Factory. For years that's exactly what it was, but now it's an arresting 57-room boutique hotel.

Outside it preserves its corrugated iron construction; within are still some of the old Professor Potts-style innards-machines for moving, sorting and drying tea" that whish and shirr into life each evening."

Situated 6,800 feet above the sea level, the magnificent Tea Factory is part of the Aitken Spence chain of resorts.

The Tea Factory lies, alone and unique, on the slopes of the tea plantations at Kandapola, high above the Nuwara Eliya town. Surrounded by the picturesque Hethersett Estate, the original tea factory was built in the 1930s by British planters.

There is a no more luxurious way to explore Sri Lanka's history of tea making. Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotels and the Immediate Past President of the Sri Lanka Hoteliers Association Malin Hapugoda commenting on the achievement said: "We are really excited that one of Sri Lanka's iconic hotel properties has been featured in the list of the World's Best Places to Stay by UK's leading Sunday newspaper. The Tea Factory is truly unique to the world as it is the only tea factory which has been converted to a top-class boutique hotel."

The Tea Factory showcases some of Sri Lanka's best attractions as one irresistible package, from lush tea gardens, culture, exquisite cuisine to exceptional service.

The Tea Factory conducts exciting excursions to Horton Plains, Hakgala Gardens, Kurundu Oya Waterfalls and visits to ancient Hindu religious sites, a miniature tea factory, a wildlife sanctuary and the spectacular Randenigala Dam.

The Tea Factory holds the distinction of being awarded the South Asian Architecture Award in 1995.

The hotel also received outstanding recognition and fame when it was conferred with the RICS award by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, London in October 2000 for successfully restoring an abandoned building whilst maintaining its original facade.

The Tea Factory is also the recipient of the UNESCO Asia" Pacific Heritage Merit Award" 2001 for the impressive conversion of a dilapidated tea factory into a luxury hotel complex.


SriLankan unveils Serendib Treasures

SriLankan Airlines has launched 'Serendib Treasures', an exciting new range of duty free products for passengers to choose from on board its flights.

Shopping in the unhurried environment of an aircraft cabin is a popular pastime among many SriLankan's passengers, and on-board sales have been booming this year.

Head of Service Delivery at SriLankan, Nigel O'Shea, said: "The new Serendib Treasures collection is yet another means by which SriLankan Airlines is adding value to our passengers' travel.

We have included many of the latest name-brand items, and we will be constantly revamping the product range."

The Serendib Treasures collection includes more than 180 products ranging from the most sought after fragrances and cosmetics, to designer watches, name brand pens, exquisite jewellery, exotic souvenirs, gift items and products for children.

Manager Inflight Service Support, Jehan Karunaratne, said: "There's something for everyone to choose from in the Serendib Treasures collection. We also offer special discounts on various items, and gift items with the purchase of certain products."

SriLankan is renowned for its warm and friendly inflight service, and many on-board comforts. In recent years it has won prestigious awards such as World's Best Airline in a survey of Economy Class passengers, World's Friendliest Cabin Staff, first runner-up for World's Best Cabin Staff, and Best Overall Inflight Entertainment (small fleet).

SriLankan now flies to 51 destinations in 28 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

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