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SLCB wraps-up series of educational sessions on MICE Tourism for 2021

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The Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB), in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference, Exhibition & Event Organizers (SLAPCEO), recently organized the Fourth and Fifth SLCB Chairperson’s Forum on MICE at Taj Samudra Colombo. The Forums – held over two distinct sessions – comprised dialogues and discussions on “State Mechanism for MICE Development in Sri Lanka” and “MICE Economic Development through Higher Educational Institutions” respectively. The SLCB, a state institution under the Ministry of Tourism organised the Forums with the prime objective of promoting Sri Lanka as a venue for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions & Events) activities.

Previous versions of the SLCB Chairperson’s Forum on MICE comprised a series of educational seminars and workshops aimed at creating awareness among industry stakeholders, including diplomats, airlines, associations, business chambers, and academics, in promoting Sri Lanka as an ideal venue for MICE ventures. Among the Forum’s aim is the dissemination of information on MICE tourism and its many benefits for the country, and educating stakeholders on positioning Sri Lanka as an attractive venue for MICE.

The Fourth SLCB Chairperson’s Forum on MICE featured a panel of expert speakers including Ms. Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson – Sri Lanka Tourism, Ms. D. L. Sannasooriya, Acting Secretary – Ministry of Tourism, Ms. Nadeeka Leeniyagoda, Secretary – SLAPCEO, Buddhika Hewawasam, Manager – Sri Lankan Holidays and Mrs. Anusha Mohotti, Director General Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board. Attendees included a gathering of key representatives from state entities in Sri Lanka.

Opening the Forum with a discussion on the topic “Rediscover Sri Lanka with MICE Events”, Ms. Kimarli Fernando commenced with an open appeal to the audience to collaborate with the Ministry of Tourism on matters of MICE, encouraging them to secure conventions to be held in Sri Lanka. Fernando also highlighted that despite the pandemic, Sri Lanka has continued to make strides in tourism, having been featured by a plethora of notable institutions such as Conde Nast Traveller and Lonely Planet. She added that the successful vaccination drive in the country and the diligent health protocols in place would attract a large number of travellers. Ms. Fernando expressed optimism for tourism in the country, adding that Sri Lanka is firmly poised to deliver the needs and wants of the post covid traveller – wellness, nature, and space. A year round destination, Fernando believes the island’s strategic location, diverse experiences, melting pot of culture and rich history will draw a plethora of tourists, but opined that in order to widen appeal, necessary changes were required, including intuitive service, up-scaled offerings, disability friendly access, and upgraded facilities. “We are working on a global promotion campaign, and we’re looking to work with tourism stakeholders to improve standards so tourists could have a good experience every step of the way”. Ms. Fernando also shared that the country’s first holistic travel app was being conceptualized, and is tipped to provide information at one’s fingertips.

Speaking on the “Role of state institutions to develop MICE Tourism in Sri Lanka”, Ms. D. L. Sannasooriya shared that “the Bureau functions as a catalyst and commands the necessary government support in bidding for international and regional MICE events. It also acts as a coordinator in enlisting the cooperation and assistance of the public sector in organizing these gatherings”. Owing to the disruptions in tourism as a result of Covid-19 pandemic, Ms. Sannasooriya explained that the SLCB had taken steps in planning educational seminars, workshops, forums to create awareness among diplomats, airlines to equip and educate tourism stakeholders. “We invite the audience to host forums and events in Sri Lanka itself. We have a long tradition of hosting significant MICE events and we are fast becoming one of Asia’s most sought after MICE destinations”.

“MICE is a high yielding tourism sector” she elaborated. “It brings more foreign exchange revenue, exposes the country to a new class of affluent visitors, employs a large number of support services resulting in significant indirect employment and generates knowledge sharing opportunities, scholarships, and investment opportunities which are essential for the development of the country. It also directly contributes to the efforts of the tourism industry to promote Sri Lanka as an upmarket tourism destination”. Ms. Sannasooriya also pledged support for local institutions bidding for MICE events to be held in the country.

In her segment on “Connecting Sri Lanka with the World of MICE”, Ms. Nadeeka Leeniyagoda remarked that while MICE is a niche market in Sri Lanka, it is actually a billion dollar segment globally. “As per 2018 statistics, the MICE domain was worth 800 billion USD, and by 2025, the value would reach 1.2 trillion. We have great potential in this segment”. Drawing attention to the varied scope of tourism avenues, Ms. Leeniyagoda showcased the benefits for the country including profit, awareness and the platform to build its profile. She also highlighted benefits for the country as a direct consequence of MICE events, adding “there is great potential for economic growth, it supports direct and indirect suppliers. Attendees will return with their families for vacations”. Ms. Leeniyagoda announced that Sri Lanka is hoping to establish conference centres, including one in Port City. “We are hoping to build MICE facilities and infrastructure to rival those of Dubai and Singapore”, she claimed.

Ms. Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson Sri Lanka Tourism, addressing the gathering

Buddhika Hewawasam, Manager – Sri Lankan Holidays took the podium to share that Sri Lankan Airlines is appropriately placed to support MICE initiatives. “As the national airline, we do have a responsibility towards tourism, so we invite all tourism stakeholders – especially MICE – to use our facilities and our support. Air travel is vital for MICE tourism to prosper and we can connect you with the world through the MICE tourism network”. Connecting 416 destinations and 55 countries,

Hewawasam stated that despite the pandemic, SriLankan Airlines continues to expand its network and recently recommenced flights to key cities in France and Germany. He further mentioned that SriLankan Airlines is focusing on facilitating MICE events and working with partners simultaneously; embarking on joint promotional efforts, additional assistance, discounts and accommodating a plethora of requirements. He concluded by sharing that the Forum was an eye opener for stakeholders, as it showcased the support available to them.

The final speaker at the Forum, Ms. Anusha Mohotti’s segment comprised “Experience sharing – Bidding and winning an International Conference to Sri Lanka”. Sharing her experience successfully securing the opportunity to host an event in Sri Lanka, she elaborated on the processes, the challenges as well as the support received from various institutions in hosting the event.

The last Forum of the series, which is the Fifth SLCB Chairperson’s Forum on MICE hosted in the afternoon at Taj Samudra Colombo amidst a gathering of key individuals from educational institutions, sought to educate on how to organize an international conference in Sri Lanka and encourage them to host and organize conferences. Speakers at the event were Krishantha Fernando, Ms. Kimarli Fernando, Ms. Nadeeka Leeniyagoda, Dr. Shaffaath Amidon, Buddhika Hewawasam and Pro. K. P. Hewagamage. Dr. Shaffaath Amidon spoke on the role of higher educational institutions to develop MICE tourism in Sri Lanka and urged them to make Sri Lanka a ‘knowledge hub’. Prof. K. P. Hewagamage, Director of University of Colombo School of Computing who played a leading role in organizing the International Conference on Advances in ICT for Emerging Regions (ICTer) at the University of Colombo for the first time, spoke on his experience in organizing the Conference annually. This year it was held for the 21st time. He encouraged the participants to organize international conferences in Sri Lanka which are relevant to their subject areas.



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Cavinkare Lanka unveils Meera Facewash – unique combination of natural actives

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FMCG Major’s latest product for the Sri Lankan market, Meera Facewash was unveiled in an official event at Colombo. Celebrating the young contemporary Sri Lankan woman, Meera facewash will be introduced in three different variants providing functional solutions to everyday skincare problems – Red Sandal (for soft skin), Neem & Tea Tree (for pimple clear skin) and Wild Turmeric (for clear skin).

Meera facewash is a range of formulation that is Soap-free, Sulphate free, Paraben free and is milder on the skin. It has a unique combination of Natural actives mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic textbooks. It includes a very special product which is Salicyclic acid- free acne treatment facewash. It helps to remove 99.9% of acne causing bacteria using prebiotic technology.

Meera facewash is aimed at modern young women of Sri Lanka who hold a strong belief in traditional practices & natural ingredients. Today young women are well read, understand the importance of healthy skin and have a holistic view of how healthy skin is beautiful skin. It comes out from the confidence of understanding scientific literature that supports these natural ingredients rather than following it naively.

Virtually connecting at the event, Arun Chacko, Business Head of Personal care category (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Nepal) said, “With the Launch of Meera Face Wash today, we add to the hugely successful Meera portfolio of shampoos. With this, we intend to enhance the Richness of Tradition that Meera as a brand has been offering to the Sri Lankan Populace over the years. We are sure that the variants, would endear to the needs of Sri Lanka. We promise to bring more such exciting products to cater to the consumers.”

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All-time record prices for two estates

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Halpewatte Uva Estate located in Bandarawela, which is renowned for producing high quality, light liquoring bright orthodox teas established an all-time record price of Rs.1,000 per kg on a liquoring BOPSP grade in the Uva Medium Category at the tea auction held on 18th January 2022. This invoice of tea was purchased by Shan Teas (Pvt) Ltd.Halpewatte Uva Estate is managed by Halpewatte Estate (Pvt) Ltd, and the teas were marketed and sold by John Keells PLC.

Venture Estate located in Bogawantalawa which is renowned for producing high quality orthodox teas over the past years, established an all-time record price, of Rs 1,060 per kg on a liquoring FBOPF1 grade in the Western High Grown Category at this week’s tea auction held on 18th January 2022. This line of tea was purchased by Inter Tea (Pvt) Ltd. Venture Estate is managed by Madulsima Plantations PLC and the teas were marketed and sold by John Keells PLC.

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HNB-Indra Traders offer exclusive leasing solutions for unregistered vehicles, freezers and pre-owned vehicles

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Sri Lanka’s leading private sector bank, HNB PLC, partnered with local automotive giant Indra Traders to provide customers with exclusive leasing solutions for unregistered and pre-owned vehicles and freezers.

Customers can make use of exciting benefits and discounts during the promotional period from January to December 2022. HNB Executive Director Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo and Indra Traders Managing Director Rushanka Silva participated in the special ceremony to sign the MoU at HNB Towers.

“Given the import restrictions, the market for unregistered and pre-owned vehicles has grown exponentially. Each year we offer our loyal customers the very best deals in the market. As such, we have renewed our partnership with Indra traders, renowned for its incomparable service, to offer those looking for vehicles with access to exceptional after-sales services and great discounts,” HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo said.

HNB will offer the prevailing interest rate for structured leases and lease facilities with a 25% residual value market value under the partnership. Customers also have access to special discounts on automobile products, servicing, spare parts, tyres, and batteries via the Prestige Prime card, with the annual fee waived off the first year.

“We are delighted to partner with HNB once again to offer our mutual customer base exciting leasing solutions and great benefits. Our continued partnership with the Bank has proven to be very beneficial to our customers, and we hope they will make use of this opportunity once again to invest in their own set of wheels,” Indra Traders Managing Director Rushanka Silva said.

Indra Traders will provide customers looking to purchase unregistered cars, vans and freezers with free insurance from SLIC for the first year. HNB customers are also eligible for discounts of up to 10% for spare parts from Indra Motor Spares and labour charges from Indra Service Park for the first year.

Customers investing in a new or unregistered passenger vehicles are eligible to have their vehicles outfitted with a free entertainment system and reverse camera. Indra Traders will also offer customers a two-year warranty for engines and gearboxes and a three-year warranty for hybrid batteries.

Notably, the company will provide free labour for services up to one year and a maximum of six services for pre-owned vehicles. A six-month warranty will also be offered for the engines and gearboxes of these vehicles.

Established in 1975, Indra Traders has diversified to various business segments in the automobile industry. A supplier of high-quality motor vehicles and related vehicles, Indra Traders today stands as not only a supplier of high-quality vehicles but also a transport solutions provider.

With 254 customer centres across the country, HNB is one of Sri Lanka’s largest, most technologically-innovative banks, having won local and global recognition for its efforts to drive forward a new paradigm in digital banking. HNB has a national rating of AA- (lka) by Fitch Ratings (Lanka) Ltd. The Bank was also ranked among the World Top 1,000 Banks list compiled by the prestigious UK-based Banker Magazine for five consecutive years. HNB was also declared Best Sub-Custodian Bank in Sri Lanka at the Global Finance Awards 2020.

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