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Emirates receives Maldives President’s Tourism Gold Award

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Emirates has once again been recognised for its role in growing Maldives’ tourism industry. The world’s largest international airline has been presented with the ‘President’s Tourism Gold Award’ at an awards gala ceremony held on 3 October to mark National Tourism Day in the idyllic archipelago.As part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Ministry of Tourism Maldives, Emirates received the prestigious recognition for “Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Tourism in the Maldives”, highlighting its 35 years of service to the country, with flights to and from Male since 1987.

This is the second prestigious award presented to Emirates within the last three months in appreciation of the role it has played in the growth of tourism in the Maldives. In July, Emirates was honoured by the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI), the oldest tourism-related association in the Maldives, with the ‘50 years of Tourism Award by MATI.’The President’s Tourism Gold Awards aims to recognise the services of individuals and establishments that have contributed to the development of the nation’s tourism industry over the years.

In 2021, Emirates renewed its long-standing partnership with the Maldives by extending a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Tourism. The agreement reaffirmed the airline’s commitment to the Maldives and outlined various initiatives to promote trade and tourism to the country. Emirates was recognised as the top airline for the Maldives, in terms of passenger numbers, carrying 265,000 passengers in one year alone and supporting the remarkable recovery of the nation’s tourism industry following the lifting of COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

Emirates has played an integral role in the socio-economic development of the Maldives over the past 35 years and has consistently contributed to the growth of its tourism industry, a pillar of its economy. The award-winning international airline commenced services to Malé on 27th May 1987, and has operated more than 29,000 round trip flights to the Maldives, logging approximately 135 million kilometers on the route and carrying 8.5 million passengers to and from the destination.



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Tea industry targets USD 1.2 bn export turnover in 2023

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Sri Lanka will earn around USD 1.2 billion from tea exports for 2023 exporting around 260 million Kg, said Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, (SLTB) Niraj de Mel, last week.

SLTB is forecasting a modest growth for 2023 in comparison to the current year estimating an increased production of 290 million Kgs with export revenues expected to increase to USD 1.4 billion. Due to the depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, during the first half of the year and a shortage of tea, sales caught up and auction prices increased sharply from March 2022. Despite fuel shortages and logistic issues, the Regional Plantation Companies and smallholders have been able to continue the harvesting of green leaf throughout the year. When compared to 2020 and 2021 volumes, the Green Leaf price to smallholders has increased exponentially from July 2022 onwards.

“The tea smallholder who used to get around Rs. 90 per kg three years ago is now getting around Rs. 250 per kg and some estates have paid nearly Rs. 1,000 per kg. He said that though the glyphosate fertiliser ban is lifted planters should not use it heavily as a ‘global ban of glyphosate’ is imminent for the tea industry. Some countries like Taiwan already reject tea grown with the use of glyphosate.” He recalled that tea production reached an all time high with a record of 340 million Kgs in 2013. “After short increases during the period 2017 to 2019, tea production recorded a decrease in 2020, mainly due to the fallout from the pandemic and now we are taking several steps to increase production.”

The Tea board is offering a host of financial grants and loans to the tea growers, factories as well as for exporters. “These include subsidies for replanting, fertiliser for growers, special grants and loans for factories to upgrade their machinery and soft loans for exporters for packaging. These facilities exceed Rs. 4 billion per year.”

Tea Commissioner E. Edirisinghe said that they would also provide Rs. I million for tea factory expansion which comes as a grant. “In addition, we pay 3% of the capital when factories install solar,” he said.

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Harin urges for ‘breathing space’ to revive tourism

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Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando said on Saturday that persistent political agitations make his job of promoting Sri Lanka as a safe and convenient tourist destination extremely difficult.

“Now the country has restarted to function although not at a comfortable level to everyone. People undergo many economic difficulties due to high cost of living. These issues need to be addressed and resolved one by one. Creating troubles constantly in a highly political way won’t help the country to come out of the crisis. It will only prolong the crisis.

As Minister of Tourism, I have a hard time promoting tourism in Sri Lanka because it is no easy task to convince potential overseas visitors that the situation is back to normal. So, I appeal to these parties to allow at least six months for the country resuscitate whose breathing had stopped for some time,” he said.

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UTECH Technologies recognised at Sahasak Nimavum Innovation Awards

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UTECH Technologies (Pvt) Limited, Sri Lanka’s leading Industry 4.0 transformation solutions provider won the most prestigious innovation award, the DASIS award at the Sahasak Nimavum National Innovation Awards held recently. The DASIS Award is judged across all competing categories and only awarded to the innovation that shows novelty in technology and has been commercialized successfully. This award is judged by a learned panel of national and international judges including academia and industry experts. UTECH also won overall gold for best commercialized ICT innovation. UTECH has won many national and international awards, including the overall gold for “IoT technology of the year” at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) in 2021.

UTECH’s Managing Director, Riyad Ismail said, “Having many Sri Lankan industrial conglomerates as our clients, we have started exporting our hardware and software solutions to world markets.”

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