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83rd Battle of the Saints – This can be a nailbiter – no quarter given or asked

Posted on 25 February 2017 by TSL

 

By M. Shamil Amit – Courtesy: Sunday Times.

As it happens every year during the month of March the saints are ready to march on the cricket field for their annual “Battle of the Saints”.  This is the 83rd in the series to be played on March 3 and 4 at the P. Sara Stadium and no doubt with both the teams fielding talented players there is bound to be a close tussle.

The Josephians lead the series with 12 wins with their last win being in 2008 under the leadership of Ruwantha Fernandopulle while the Peterites have ten wins having won the encounter last year under Vinu Mohotti.

In fact it was the sportsmanship of St Joseph’s rector Rev. Fr. Travis Gabriel who awarded the win to St Peter’s due to the crowd invasion when the Peterites was on the verge of winning the game.

 

But the organisers this time out, the joint committee of the two schools are not going to leave any stone unturned and trouble makers beware as no room will be left and stern action will be taken as the relevant officials have been advised to take necessary action.

Both teams this year are unbeaten.  Peterites led by Lakshina Rodrigo have a better record.  After 18 games they have registered five outright wins. They are against St Anthony’s Wattala, Maris Stella, St Mary’s Kegalle, St Sebastian’s Moratuwa and St Benedict’s.

Seated from Left: Asiri Perera (Fitness Trainer), Asiri Caldera (2nd XI MIC), Prasantha Ranaweera (1st XI MIC), Rev.Fr. Milan Bernard (POG), Harin Cooray (Capt), Rev. Fr. Travis Gabriel (Rector), Shevon Fonseka (V. Capt), Roger Wijesuriya (Head Coach), Michael Adams (2nd XI Coach,), Dharantha Menerigama (Fielding Coach). 1st Row from left: Shevaan Rasool, Cameron Duruge, Dineth Jayakody, Nipun Sumanasinghe, Jehan Daniel, Revan Kelly, Thashan Perera, Avishka Fernando, Sachintha Mahindasinghe, 2nd Row from left: Kavindu Jayathissa, Pahan Perera, Darlo Dasanayake,, Ruchira Ekanayake, Dineth Madurawala, Jehan Fernandopulle, Lakshan Gamage, Havin Perera.

St. Peter's College XI – Seated from left: Manuker Gunaratne (Trainer), Sampath Dharmasiri [Fielding Coach], Crishantha Peiris [Bowling Coach], Shanaka Fernando [Asst Coach], Sanath Chinthaka [ Secretary/Senior M. I. C.], Lakshina Rodrigo [Capt), Rev. Fr. Trevor Martin [Rector), Rev. Fr. Thilina Pathum {Sport Co-ordinator), Manelker De Silva [Vice Capt], Malinda Warnapura [Head Coach], Wasanatha Haputhanthri [Junior M. I. C.], Kitto Fernandopulle [Asst Coach], Mahesh De Silva [Manager). First row from left: Banuka de Silva, Shivan Perera, Chathura Obeysekera, Shalith Fernando, Sulakshana Fernando, Anishka Perera, Ravindu Silva, Dinith Anjula, Sachin Silva, Vinul Gunawardane. Top row from left: Nipunaka Fonseka, Ameen Miflal, Ramnith Jayasena, Santhush Gunathilaka, Lashen Rodrigo, Prabasara Herath.

 

Josephians led by Harin Cooray have played 18 matches has been able to win three of them against St Patrick’s Jaffna, Maris Stella and Bandaranayake MV Gampaha.

Nevertheless for any school their traditional encounter is something special and the “Battle of the Saints” is going to be a tussle for supremacy between the two schools.

Let’s also not forget that in most of the matches played in the series have been dominated by the underdogs. This year with both the teams well balanced it will be hard to predict an outcome as the two teams’ posses and are oozing with talented players.

The Josephian batting will revolve around their leading run getter Nipun Sumanasinghe who had the honour of being the first player this season to reach the 1000 runs mark and has made three tons and five half tons.

To support him there is Dineth Madurawala who has made over 800 runs which includes four tons and two half tons and Shevon Fonseka the other player to crack a ton and has scored over 650 runs.

Pahan Perera, Jehan Fernandopulle and Jehan Daniels are the three batsmen that the Petes will have to keep an eye. Pahan though making over 550 runs is a player with better potential but has not lived up to expectations and he is capable of doing the needful in this game while much will be expected from the Jehan double.

Skipper Harin who ended as the top bowler of the side with 77 scalps to his credit will spearhead the bowling attack and the responsibility is no doubt going to be a burden to him.

The skipper will look for support from Ruchira Ekanayake, Nipun Sumanasinghe, Havin Perera and Dineth Jayakody to curtail the strong Peterite batting line up.

The Peterites on the other hand will bank their batting on two players Santhush Gunatilleke and skipper Lakshina who both have been in the runs right through out the season.

Santhush in fact was unfortunate to miss out in achieving 1000 runs for the season when he was dismissed for 85 needing 128 runs and fell short by 43 runs.

Santhush ended with 957 runs and has two tons and seven half tons, so he will no doubt be looking forward to make a memorable big match and will be the one for the Josephians to watch.

Skipper Lakshina along with two others Manelker de Silva and Anishka Perera are the other centurions of the side. Apart from the ton Lakshina has made eight half tons while Manelker who has scored over 575 runs and Anishka 500, has three half tons each

Then there is Shalith Fernando who has scored over 700 runs inclusive of seven half tons along with the above players along with Ranmith Jayasena and Vinul Gunawardena are going to be a thorn in the flesh for the Josephian bowlers

Left arm spinner Mohamed Ameen is their trump card in the bowling department and the youngster has been in the wickets on regular basis and ended up by achieving the magical 100 wickets in a season, the only player to do it so far and he could be the match winner along with Santhush and skipper Lakshina.

The support of Chathura Obeysekera who has taken over 70 wickets and make shift bowlers Santhush Gunatilleke, Sachin Silva and Manelker de Silva would be looked forward to curtail the Josephian batting.

Looking back at the cricketers who donned the Sri Lanka jersey from the two institutions, the Josephians produced Angelo Mathews, Chaminda Vaas, Thisara Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Ashley de Silva and Michael Vandort to name a few and the Peterites produced Roy Dias, Rumesh Ratnayake, Russel Arnold, Vinothan John, Amal Silva, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Malinda Warnapura and Angelo Perera.

The chief guest at the 83rd “Battle of the Saints” will be Kitto Fernandopulle who led the Peterites in the year 1979.

The two day encounter will be followed by the 43rd limited over encounter which is played for the Fr. Peter A. Pillai trophy which is scheduled to be played on March 25 at SSC ground which is returning back to venue after 1994.

In this segment too the Josephians are leading with 21 wins to the 19 by the Peterites with two matches being washed out.

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Galle Face Hotel wins TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award

Posted on 25 February 2017 by TSL

We value their feedback, as it allows us to better understand our guests’ expectations and create more memorable experiences in the future,” said Deni A. Dukic, General Manager, Galle Face Hotel. 

 

We are immensely thankful to everyone who took the time to review us on TripAdvisor over the course of the last year.

Guests have long been captivated by the colonial charm the hotel resonates, which is combined with our team’s dedicated approach towards providing them with a unique experience upon every visit.

“It is a distinguished pleasure to be recognized by our patrons as one of the best properties in Sri Lanka.

Categories are both international and regional, and include everything from the top hotels, luxury, family, boutique hotels, B&Bs and inns.

The travel planning and booking site determined the winners based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travellers worldwide. The awards reflect the “best of the best” for service, quality, and customer satisfaction.

Now in its 15th year, these annual awards are the only travel industry awards based on millions of reviews and opinions from travellers around the world.

Established in 2002, the Travellers’ Choice awards are the highest honor TripAdvisor can bestow.

South Asia’s leading Grande Dame, the iconic Galle Face Hotel recently won a Travellers’ Choice award in a survey conducted by TripAdvisor. Ranked as one of the Top 25 hotels to visit in Sri Lanka, the award is a testament to the exceptional service and attention to detail which is weaved seamlessly into the old world grandeur and modern sensibility that Galle Face Hotel has consistently been well known.

 

 

 

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Harpo’s Pizza and Pasta opens in Mount Lavinia

Posted on 23 February 2017 by TSL

As part of its long term expansion plan, Harpo's Pizza and Pasta, launched its second pizza parlour in Mount Lavinia. Conveniently located and easily accessible on Galle Road in a prime position of Mount Lavinia, Harpo's Pizza and Pasta offers a range of woodfired, thin crust pizzas and fresh homemade pastas for customers to dine in, takeaway or have delivered to their home through their efficient delivery service. 

The new restaurant can accommodate 52 diners and the team is headed by Sunil Thanthirige who brings extensive experience in the hotel, restaurant and catering field which he garnered while working in Ravenna, Italy. 

 

 

Speaking on the expansion of Harpo's Pizza and Pasta, affable Harpo Gooneratne, MD said “It gives me great pleasure to launch our second pizza parlour within a short span of less than 2 years in Mount Lavinia. Given the residential neighbourhood, the schools and facilities nearby, this makes it an ideal location to offer our range of fresh homemade brand of pizzas and fresh pasta.” 

 

 

The restaurant boasts its own brick woodfired oven, serving up home grown products with the pizza and pasta range, using fresh and healthy ingredients. There are 30 delicious flavours in 4 sizes which includes Colombo’s largest 19” pizza with 16 sumptuous slices and the only square 22” pizza serving 36 slices ideal for entertaining and to share with friends. The fresh pastas include ravioli, tagliatelle, and of course the dessert range includes dessert pizzas. It also offers fresh homemade beverages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Malayali family brings back to life a slice of colonial Colombo

Posted on 22 February 2017 by TSL

 

Courtesy of  PK Balachandran  |  Express News Service  |   Published: 22nd February 2017.

Vishnu Vethody | EPS

COLOMBO: The Vethodys, a family of Malayali entrepreneurs with roots in Kerala and Sri Lanka, have brought back to life a slice of Colombo’s colonial past with the re-launch of their extensively renovated 135-year-old iconic Hotel Nippon situated in the heart of the capital’s business district.

“Nippon” as it is popularly known, occupies Manning Mansions in Slave Island, a place which the 16th Century Portuguese rulers of Colombo had used to house slaves brought from Africa. Being one of the oldest buildings in Colombo, Manning Mansions were designated as one of its “heritage” buildings by the Sri Lankan Department of Archeology with strict rules for their upkeep.

Hotel Nippon found its place in cinematic history when it was featured in David Lean’s Academy Award-winning film Bridge On The River Kwai shot in Ceylon in the mid-1950s. According to Dr.Valsan Vethody, a Director of the hotel, some of the indoor shots of the Japanese army headquarters were shot in Nippon, and its then joint proprietor, Greg Roskowski, a Polish émigré, had acted in the film as one of the British Prisoners of War.

Built in 1882, Manning Mansions initially comprised 14 apartments to house British military officers. But sometime in the 20th Century, Roskowski senior bought it and turned it into a hotel which was popular with sailors.

For a short while Roskowski ran it as “Hotel Polski” but renamed it as “Hotel Nippon” when he married a Japanese lady. The Japanese connection got strengthened in the mid 1950s, when Roskowski’s son Greg, an announcer in the then hugely popular English service of Radio Ceylon, also took a Japanese bride. Serving authentic Japanese food along with continental and local fare, Nippon became a must for Japanese visitors to Colombo. 

Meanwhile, Roskowski junior’s Japanese wife took as her business associate, Vethody Kumaran, a Ceylonese of Kerala origin, who, after leaving the engineering corps of the British army, was running a restaurant at Pettah.

But it did not take Kumaran long to assume full ownership of the hotel. Under Kumaran, Nippon retained its place as one of the three modern hotels within Colombo city, the others being Galle Face Hotel and the Grand Oriental Hotel. Nippon is thus an indelible landmark in the hospitality history of Colombo.

But the good times came to an abrupt end in 1983 when ethnic riots convulsed Colombo.

“From 1983 to till the end of the war in 2009, it was a dark age for the hotel,”  recalled Vishnu K.Vethody, the young Managing Director of the hotel and a grandson of Vethody Kumaran. Nippon was particularly hard hit because it was located in a life-threatening zone housing the headquarters of the Sri Lankan Army and Air Force – institutions which were under constant threat from terrorists. In fact, on January 2, 2008, a bomb targeting an army bus went off right outside the hotel killing four.  

But once the war ended in May 2009, the Vethody clan sprang to life. Encouraged by the Urban Development Authority’s ambitious plan for the restoration of heritage buildings in Colombo, the Vethody brothers  Valsan, Vasan, Chandrasena and the later Prasannan, launched an ambitious LKR 400 million (US$ 2 million) project to completely renovate the rooms and the building, while keeping intact the basic design, the trade mark façade, and the sturdy staircases made of 130 year old Burma teak.

“The fixtures in the hotel, including the linen used in the rooms, are imported and on par with other top hotels in Colombo,” Vishnu points out.

With Indians being the single largest group among tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka, Nippon caters to the Indian palate too. It is the only hotel to serve the famous “Madras filter coffee”. And being Keralites, the Vethodys have seen to it that the hotel serves a range of authentic Malayali dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. General Manager Amitha Manchanaike sitting at the helm, ensures that the administrative machinery is well oiled and up and running round the clock.     

And the tariff is competitive, points out Vishnu.

“One does not have to have a deep pocket to book into Nippon as the charge per day for bed and breakfast is just US$ 60, with all taxes included. Given the low tariff people come with low expectations, planning to stay for a day. But seeing the good conditions, many end up extending their stay by three or four days,” he said.     

Bringing back memories

The renovated Nippon is meant to revive pleasant memories of the Colombo of the fifties and sixties when it was a swinging city with a distinctly Westernized air. Located not far from the sea front, the Beira Lake and cinema theaters, Nippon was a favorite rendezvous for young couples up to the late 1970s.  

“It was common for young people to see an English movie at the Rio and walk across to Nippon to have milkshakes or ice creams before heading home. I have come across couples in their sixties and seventies dropping in only to go back to their romantic past. An elderly lady got teary eyed recalling how her beau proposed to her sitting right here,” Vishnu said.  

Situated in a commercial area, Nippon has been a busy eatery during the day, famous for its “short eats” especially mutton rolls. 

“Our rolls makers have been passing their skill down generations. This is the secret of the uniqueness of Nippon’s rolls,” Vishnu said.

Emotional Bond   

The personal attention that Nippon’s staff gave to its customers had created an emotional bond between the two.  

“Personal service has been one of Nippon’s strong points right through. And we will to maintain it,” Vishnu pledged.

And the Vethodys set the example. With airs whatsoever, they make it a point to address all staff members by their first names and move around the premises chit chatting with them. The Vethodys often go on excursions with the hotel staff to infuse informality in relations. 

 

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Trinity-Antonian ‘Big Match’ celebrates ‘A Century of Friendly Rivalry’

Posted on 19 February 2017 by TSL

 

Andrew Fowler-Watt the principal of Trinity College Kandy, Rev Fr. Henry Bernard Wijeratne – Principal/Rector of St. Anthony’s College Kandy holding the ‘John Halangoda Trophy’ of the Trinity-Antonian Big Match with Asela Herath – President Old Antonians Cricket Wing and President of Trinity College Cricket Foundation, Nilantha Ratnayake

The much awaited Centenary Cricket encounter between Trinity College Kandy and St. Anthony’s College Kandy will  be played under the theme; ‘A century of friendly rivalry’ on the 10th and 11th of March 2017 at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium.

In line with its celebrations to commemorate the Centenary big match between the two schools, the Trinity-Antonian joint committee recently hosted a press conference at the Galadari Hotel, Colombo to officially launch the web-site of the event; www.trinityantonian.com and announce its activities leading up to the Big Match. St. Anthony’s and Trinity College are two of the oldest Colleges in Kandy and the Trinity-Antonian Cricket encounter is the 6th oldest Inter-school Cricket tournament in Sri Lanka. The two schools have a very rich cricket history and are also two of the oldest schools that took up the game in Sri Lanka. According to past records, Trinity College played their very first cricket match in 1893 whilst St. Anthony’s did so in 1899.

Speaking about the centenary big match, Andrew Fowler-Watt, Principal of Trinity College Kandy said, “The annual Trinity-Antonian Big Match is one of the most prestigious cricketing encounters in the Sri Lankan schools cricket calendar. I am extremely pleased to be a part of this historic event, as it is going from strength-to-strength in terms of traditions and cricketing excellence.”

While commending the on the great discipline shown by the past and present boys and cricketers both in and out of the field, Rev. Henry Wijeratne OSB, Principal/Rector of St. Anthony’s College, Kandy said, “This is indeed a remarkable achievement by two of  the biggest and oldest schools in Kandy. ‘Hill Country’s Battle of the Blues’ is an exemplary match to all the other schools as it is great platform that showcases class, talent and the spirit of friendly rivalry.”

A Joint Committee headed by the Principals of Trinity College and St. Anthony’s College  have released the official event logo to be used in connection with all activities related to this Centenary Big Match. There will be a series of events such as the joint dinner dance and two fellowship evenings both in Kandy and Colombo, the traditional Tea party between the two teams, Antonian Cricket Carnival and many more activities which have been organized to commemorate this historic occasion. The joint committee is being ably supported by the Old Antonians Cricket Wing, the Trinity College Cricket Foundation and the Old Trinitians Sports Club in planning and implementing the match and related events.

The tally, as it stands today after 99 encounters has Trinity College with 23 wins, St. Anthony’s College with 12 wins and 64 ending without a decision. While a majority of wins registered by Trinity were in the pre-independence era, the Antonians have had the better of exchanges since independence. In the latter part of the last century, a trophy was introduced in memory of John Halangoda, who was a product of Trinity College and subsequently cricket coach at St. Anthony’s College.

Both schools have a proud history of producing some excellent cricketers who have gone on to shine in both local and international arenas. Amongst them are Jack Anderson, A.C.M.Lafir, MahesGoonatilleke, Bernard Perera, Marlon VonHagt, RuwanKalpage, PiyalWijetunge, MuttiahMuralitharan and Sajith Fernando from St. Anthony’s and Ravi Ratnayeke, Nilantha Ratnayake, KaushalyaWeeraratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Sachith Pathirana, NiroshanDickwella and Lahiru Kumara from Trinity. These two schools have produced the most number of international cricketers and also the most number of School Boy Cricketers of the year from the Central province. The world’s highest wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan and the highest runs scorer Kumar Sangakkara are products from these two schools which is indeed a unique feature.

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JETWING COLOMBO SEVEN

Posted on 17 February 2017 by TSL

Juliet Coombe checks out the cities most exciting hospitality newcomer Jetwing Colombo Seven – Courtesy of Daily News.

Remember the scene in ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ where the Devil, played brilliantly by Al Pacino, takes the Attorney, Kevin, played by Keanu Reaves, onto the rooftop of his high rise building with an amazing infinity pool and a view to die for? Well, the setting at the top of Jetwing Colombo Seven is similar but even more beautiful, especially at dusk, and the good news being a Jetwing property you don’t have to sell your soul for it.

Neither will you be tempted, like Jesus, by the same Devil, to think that you might have dominion over all you see if you worship him, for this has been built by a family with the greatest integrity and vision, who ward off such spirits and ensure that everyone they work with is valued as it is the Jetwing team that makes Jetwing Hotels exceptionally special experiences. Like his father, Herbert Cooray the company founder, before him, Hiran Cooray Chairman of Jetwing Hotels has strong vision and religious faith in God and his amazing team. His father had the inspiration to build Jetwing Colombo Seven but sadly never saw it materialise in his life time “But I am sure his blessings from above will always be here”, Hiran says.

L-R Architect Sim Boon Yang, Ruan Samarasinghe, Hiran Cooray, Shiromal Cooray, Ramesh Costa, Jerome

Jetwing vision spans the whole of Sri Lanka and will one day, no doubt, go beyond its shores to teach the rest of the world how to value mother nature so it is protected and all its beauty, but also equally importantly all the people involved in the wonderful business of making people from all over the world feel at home in the best settings the island has to offer. In fact, the family, and this is another key element to their success, goes beyond making you feel at home and towards making their staff and you feel that they are part of maintaining a healthy, diverse, exciting and sustainable approach that protects the island for future generations to enjoy in the same way, and working in a new constructive world dominated by clarity and most importantly of all integrity they make the impossible happen even with the smallest plots of land, which in this case was originally Herbert Cooray’s family home.

Jetwing Colombo Seven is the latest in an exciting line of stunning hotels to be rolled out by the group around the country with more opening later in the year. The hotel caters to all tastes but is probably most attractive to the serious business traveller who needs to put in a focused, productive day in the business centre of Colombo, a very short ride away from Ward Place without the stress of battling through hair-raising grid locked traffic. Its central location makes it possible to return quickly after meetings to complete peace and tranquillity, either to unwind in the most relaxing possible way or to finish off communications for the day’s tasks in a conducive boudoir designed to be both chic and ultra modern.

A world of amazing shapes

Hiran, a lover of world travel and great architecture, explains how the inspiration for this stunning property, on a tiny plot of land, came from a very small Hotel in Singapore called the Naumi. When Hiran stayed there, he thoroughly enjoyed the utilisation of the space in this small block and immediately wanted to meet the architect who designed it. That is how Hiran met Sim Boon Yang of Eco ID and invited him to Sri Lanka to design a hotel for Jetwing.

One can only fully appreciate the brilliance of this architect by zipping up in the lift to the rooftop and diving into the beautiful pool overlooking Colombo. You won’t feel like you are swimming in a pool, but more like flying through the city like Peter Pan, surrounded by a world of amazing shapes lit up in dazzling bold neon lights against a moody black crenelated tropical Manhattan skyline. This is where the infinity experience really comes into its own, some twelve storeys above the exciting port city of Colombo. The bar is also perfectly situated for a valentine’s liaison, a deal clincher if ever there was one. A superbly stocked bar which to be honest you need not drink at all here for you will get quite tipsy enough on the atmosphere, ambience and altitude of the setting.

After the most breath-taking of swims as the sun sets over the city turning from orangey reds to royal purple golden hues, you will be ready for something to eat and you can continue to drink in the panoramic views from the comfort of the hotels world class restaurant, treated to exquisite food cooked by the young Indika Bandara, trained under the three star Michelin Chef Yannick Alleno. In the luxury of such, you can admire the sights in slow comfort, of this tropical resort style setting – the Nelum Pokuna Theatre is particularly stunning with its flower-like vibrant colours at night and depending on which direction you are looking you will see views of the Indian Ocean and be able to see historic buildings like the National Gallery and the National Museum amongst many other architectural wonders.

A birds eye window

As with all Jetwing hotels, the staff reflect its style, with the management having wide and long worldly experience whilst the ‘7’ team are drawn from both the local population with great knowledge of their surroundings or having been trained at other great hosting establishments. They are trained primarily to make you feel fully at ease, being attentive when you need help whilst also knowing when to leave you in peace.

The hotel is also fully fitted with a host of other great things such as four very different conference rooms for a diverse range of presentational styles, a luxurious spa, 24 hour room service, a concierge service with fantastic local knowledge and, if you are poorly or just need a little advice on your health, a resident doctor. And, of course, there is a fully fitted gym where you can listen to your favourite music whilst you treadmill-walk the perfect city panorama.

Whilst it’s still affordable, with amazing opening deals this hotel is an absolute must for those seeking solace and great service with a multitude of facilities in a unique resort style ambience in the heart of it all and who want to feel that penthouse amongst penthouses experience, up on a prominent city ‘mountain’, to reflect and recuperate, free from the temptations of the buzzy world below.

Hiran who sees his father as both his hero and his guru says building this hotel was pivotal to his fathers vision of the Jetwing group being an island wide group “I would like to see Sri Lanka positioned as one of the best Island nations in the World, offering not only lovely beaches but also wildlife, culture, thousands of years of fascinating history, and amazing greenery. We are known all over the world for the beauty of our Island, but today’s traveller is not aware of the product improvement that has happened over the past seven years, since the end of the thirty year conflict. This needs to be communicated so that we can continue to attract discerning travellers to our Island.”

Hiran, along with selecting a great architect, has put together a dream team and is delighted to have Ramesh Costa, who was based in London for over 30 years, join Jetwing as the general manager of Jetwing Colombo Seven. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Sri Lanka and Jetwing, not only in food and beverages but also in general management.

This is truly a hotel in the centre of Colombo with a birds eye window on the world and a style that embodies everything that is truly Sri Lankan, from a family whose roots run deep into the very soul of the island, or in this case, the very foundations on which this magnificent hotel is built. For me, the view from the roof, the azure swimming pool bar’s uber cool minimalist design, and the terrific restaurant will make this a legendary stopping-off point for all worldly travellers that truly appreciate premium hospitality.

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New visa changes influence Sri Lanka’s real estate market

Posted on 16 February 2017 by TSL

Since the new visa laws were proposed, a new government has come into power. What impact do the new visa requirements and this new government’s enforcement of the rules have on real estate investment on the island? Leading property portal Lamudi finds out, Visa programmes in Sri Lanka’s new system Since the end of the war, Sri Lanka’s immigration services have evolved considerably. The process of applying for a visa and having a visa approved is now more similar to processes in fully developed countries like Australia. All visitors to Sri Lanka now require an electronic travel authorisation document (ETA) to enter the country.

This represents a similar procedure to the USA and Canada’s immigration services. When it comes to spending longer periods of time in the country, (and depending on your citizenship) you can either apply for a Visitor Visa (for a short stay), or a Residence Visa.

There are various different types of Residence Visa. You can get a visa for being an employee, an investor, a member of the clergy, a diplomat, a student, a family member, a returning former-expat/dependent, an Indian person covered by the 1954 Indo-Lanka Agreement, or someone applying to the “My Dream Home Visa Programme” (a program for retirees).

The My Dream Home Visa Programme serves to allow “senior foreign nationals” to purchase property in Sri Lanka as long as they meet certain requirements.Foreign nationals over the age of 55 can apply for this scheme as long as they “remit US$15,000 or the equivalent in an approved foreign currency”. They then have to deposit the funds into a Sri Lankan bank account. Other requirements also apply.

Increase in real estate FDI in Sri Lanka Having a valid permanent residency visa is usually a requirement for purchasing property in Sri Lanka. However, factors other than immigration status can affect the process of acquiring a home on the island. In fact, the rules of property acquisition by foreign nationals have changed for the better in recent years.

Since President Maithripala Sirisena was elected in 2015, Sri Lanka has relaxed laws restricting foreign investment. This move has encouraged foreign investors to purchase homes in Sri Lanka.

Before the relaxation law was passed, foreigners who wanted to invest in property on the island (those buying leasehold) had to pay a large and off-putting sum in tax. Since the law was passed, foreign nationals wishing to buy land can now initially be 49% shareholders of leasehold.

Foreigners used only to be allowed to own 25% of this land.Foreigners now have the opportunity to apply for a freehold arrangement 20 years after buying this share.This is a big step as in many emerging markets, it is not possible to apply for freehold as a foreigner at all.

Foreign investors can now purchase a home with leasehold of up to 99 years with a minimal tax fee. In addition, the process for signing a deal on property is now much more streamlined for foreigners. It still isn’t possible for foreigners to buy freehold properties and land from the outset, so there is still a fair way to go, but the situation is definitely getting better. This implies good things and a bright future for Sri Lanka’s property market.

Demand for luxury property among foreign nationals in Colombo

City centre property is in high demand in the nation’s capital. According to JLL, Colombo records high sales velocity in projects close to completion; out of 3,300 luxury apartments supplied since 2005, 98% of the completed units were reported sold in 2014.

While this trend does not appear to be increasing by very much, demand remains stable and the economy is stable too.In addition to foreign investment providing a boost to Sri Lanka’s real estate economy-wise, FDI has also had an impact in the type of property that is the most in demand. Luxury property in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, is on the rise.

This trend is largely motivated by foreign nationals’ penchant for luxury apartment living, especially among the retired, including those on the My Dream Home Visa. Demand is expected to grow. (Lamudi.lk)

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SriLankan Airlines named Best Airline in South Asia

Posted on 16 February 2017 by TSL

Caption: SriLankan Airlines Country Manager China Mr. V. Ravindran with the award.

Colombo, February 16 2017: SriLankan Airlines added yet another accolade when China’s Top Travel magazine named it the Best Airline in South Asia at the 10th Annual Top Travel Awards, recognizing SriLankan’s continuous efforts at expanding travel between China and Sri Lanka.

This is the latest in a string of awards for Sri Lanka’s National Carrier. SriLankan Airlines was recently crowned the “World's Leading Airline Operating to the Indian Ocean Region” at the prestigious World Travel Awards and “Best Full Service Airline in Central and South Asia” for the second consecutive year at the Future Travel Experience Asia Awards. SriLankan was also last year named the “Most Innovative Marketing Airline in China” by Life Weekly magazine.

Wang Jianmei, the Chief Editor of Top Travel, said: “The Award of Best Airline in South Asia that Top Travel bestowed upon SriLankan Airlines is well earned. We are pleased to see that more and more Chinese tourists choose SriLankan Airlines to travel to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles and many more destinations in the world.”

Ravindran Veeraperumal, SriLankan Airlines Country Manager China, who received the award on behalf of SriLankan, said: “This is a great acknowledgement and encouragement for our efforts to promote travel on SriLankan. We strive to maintain our highest standard and delight our customers. On behalf of SriLankan Airlines, I would like to thank Top Travel for this award and all my team members for making this possible. With the commitment and support of our entire airline, we expect to win many more awards in the future.’

SriLankan now serves five cities in China – Shanghai, Beijing, Kunming, Guangzhou (Canton) and Hong Kong – operated on state-of-the-art Airbus A330 wide-body aircraft with passengers enjoying the legendary hospitality of SriLankan Airlines cabin crew, together with the most modern onboard entertainment system, luxurious seating and the finest in-flight cuisine.

China is now Sri Lanka's second largest tourism market, behind India. A total of 271,577 Chinese tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2016, a 26% year on year increase, according to statistics of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

SriLankan recently adopted a new strategy of focusing on the Asia and Middle East region and added 11 new destinations in Asia during the last quarter of 2016, also increasing services to many of its existing destinations throughout Asia. It has the largest foreign airline network in India with over 100 flights to 11 cities and is also the largest international airline serving the Maldives, with 25 flights per week.

SriLankan’s global network covers 101 cities in 47 countries and as a member of the oneworld global airline alliance, SriLankan also connects its passengers to oneworld’s worldwide network of more than 1,000 destinations in 160 countries.

Corporate Communications

SriLankan Airlines

www.srilankan.com

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Waters Edge Breaks Ground for Mega Entertainment Centre Project

Posted on 16 February 2017 by TSL

Situated on the outskirts of Colombo and surrounded by the tranquil waters of the Diyawanna, Waters Edge Battaramulla is known globally for its breathtaking views and plethora of restaurants that serve up gourmet cooking from around the world. It is also a preferred choice for those who desire breathtaking venues for special events that are located throughout the landscape of the property.

Lead by the ideas and efforts of Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka, Chairman of Waters Edge Chamath De Silva and General Manager Rohan Fernandopulle, the waterfront property has many projects in the pipeline. The groundbreaking ceremony for one of the most ambitious projects to-date was held today under their patronage. The event was also attended by high ranking officials from the ministry, UDA and Waters Edge. “The Station at the Edge” will be a one-of-a-kind entertainment hub that brings together sports and entertainment.

Speaking at the ceremony Chairman of Waters Edge Chamath De Silva noted, “Sports and entertainment have a long history of being an integral part of people’s lives. We as Sri Lankans love our cricket and many other sports have also come up in the recent past. As an island blessed with an abundance of waterworks, we have also seen a significant rise in interest for water-sports. This new centre will be a culmination of both indoor and outdoor activities. Waters Edge is looking to be the hub for sports entertainment in the country, providing a platform for all sports in the country.”

The development project aims to create a recreation, leisure and sports facility on the far side of the water front in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and the Urban Development Authority. With an aim of introducing sports tourism to Sri Lanka the space will also allow various sports associations and bodies the chance to utilize the area for national and international level sporting events. The centre will facilitate thirty sports including many water sports such as kayaking, rowing and wind surfing among many others. The centre will be segregated into three different categories under extreme sports, leisure sports and kid’s sports.

The main objectives behind the project are to convert acres of land into an area that provides the general public with an opportunity to engage in sports and relax while also providing the youth of the country with state-of-the-art facilities to train at. The preservation of the nature that surrounds the hotel is also one of the causes that sit close to the hearts of the hotel and the UDA with much emphasis being placed on sustainable infrastructure development.

The project will also feature a unique train running along a rail track consisting of seven carriages that will be converted into kitchens and three passenger compartments revamped into restaurants serving up hawker style street food. The platform beside the railway track too will be used as part of the restaurants creating a typical train station atmosphere with the hustle and bustle that is commonplace of a Sri Lankan railway station. Ensuring that the restaurant is accessible to all, food will be affordably priced and made fresh daily. A fresh fish market is also on the cards.

COURTESY: ADADERANA BUSINESS LK

 

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe receives honorary doctorate from Deaking University

Posted on 13 February 2017 by TSL

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived at the Melbourne Air Port, Australia Monday (13) commencing a four day official visit on an invitation by the Australian Government. The Premier and delegation was received by the Victoria State Prime Minister Daniel Andrews and Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Bryce Hutchesson.

Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia Somasundaram Skandakumar and officials of the Sri Lankan High Commission in Australia also participated at the event.Professor Maithri Wickremesinghe, Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Vijith Vijayamuni Soyza, Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Dr.Harsha de Silva, Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Ekanayake, Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister Saman Athaudahetti and Special Assistant Sandra Perera too are taking part the official visit. 

 

 

Daily Financial Review, Tuesday, 14 February 2017.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is set to receive an honorary doctorate on the first day of his official visit to Australia. The Prime Minister will be awarded an honorary doctorate in law at a graduation ceremony at Deakin University in Geelong on Tuesday, the AAP News reported. The award recognizes Wickremesinghe’s efforts to help Sri Lanka transition from a country traumatized by protracted, violent conflict toward a stable democracy.

“Mr. Wickremesinghe has emphasized the need for reconciliation, whilst ensuring accountability, and enabled groups riven by conflict to find common ground in a more hopeful future,” a Deakin University spokeswoman told AAP.

He’ll also meet with Victorian Governor Linda Dessau and will head to Canberra on Tuesday for a reception with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to commemorate 70 years of Australian-Sri Lankan diplomatic relations.

 

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