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‘Sri Lanka, the perfect winter destination for Western tourists’



Jean-Noel Rault

By Lynn Ockersz

Sri Lanka is a high potential travel destination and given its natural assets, geographical diversity, exotic appeal and welcoming, friendly people, the country could be considered a perfect winter destination for Western tourists, General Manager Air France – KLM, Indian Sub-continent, Jean-Noel Rault told The Island Financial Review.

Speaking to this newspaper in an exclusive interview on Air France’s (AF) decision to resume flights to Sri Lanka after a 30-year lapse, Rault said that AF would be expanding its long-haul network with the launch of three weekly direct flights between Paris and Colombo. The first flight departure from Colombo-Paris was on November 5 this year.

Customers will be able to travel to Paris and connect to AF’s global network with close to 200 destinations via the continent hub of Paris, Charles de Gaulle airport. Colombo will be served as a seasonal operation in the winter schedule 2021-22 and as a continuation of the AF flight from Male.

Sri Lanka’s high brand image and its popularity among Western tourists, among other factors, accounted for AF’s decision to resume flights to Sri Lanka, Rault explained. Now that AF has placed Sri Lanka on its map it is bound to attract tourists in substantial numbers, the General Manager added by way of outlining the mutual benefits that could accrue to Sri Lanka and France as a result of the AF decision.

On the other hand, the arriving tourists could be assured of a most pleasant time in Sri Lanka far away from home. Besides the country’s natural beauty and good weather there is appetizing food and friendly, hospitable people. All this means that Sri Lanka could look forward to considerable revenue from the AF decision to resume flights.

The younger tourists from France will be looking forward to traveling widely in Sri Lanka in quest of adventure. The more high-end tourists usually prefer to spend a relaxing, quiet time on Sri Lanka’s sunny beaches and other tranquil locations. Sri Lanka could look forward to both high-end and backpack tourists, Rault said. ‘Sri Lanka’s attractions are such that it could be considered a nice blend of all the pleasing features of regional destinations, such as the Maldives, Bangladesh and India.’

It was explained that Sri Lanka could facilitate in-bound tourism by reducing complex travel formalities and documentation. Such formalities should be simple and facilitatory of convenient travel. On the other hand, AF is increasingly modernizing its Boeing 787-9 aircraft which will be used on the Colombo-Paris flights to expedite tourist traffic to Sri Lanka. Among other things, the best of entertainment is on offer.

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Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia pledges output cuts – Opec+




(picture BBC)

Oil-producing countries have agreed to continued cuts in production in a bid to shore up flagging prices.

Saudi Arabia said it would make cuts of a million barrels per day (bpd) in July and Opec+ said targets would drop by a further 1.4 million bpd from 2024.

Opec+ accounts for around 40% of the world’s crude oil and its decisions can have a major impact on oil prices.

In Asia trade on Monday, Brent crude oil rose by as much as 2.4% before settling at around $77 a barrel.

The seven hour-long meeting on Sunday of the oil-rich nations, led by Russia, came against a backdrop of falling energy prices.

Total production cuts, which Opec+ has undertaken since October 2022, reached 3.66 million bpd, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Opec+, a formulation which refers to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, had already agreed to cut production by two million bpd, about 2% of global demand.


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Manpower services agency wins accolades for its contribution to foreign employment sector



Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services receives the award

Its MD says. ‘go abroad only if you can work hard’

Siraj Manpower Services, one of Sri Lanka’s leading foreign employment agencies, was honoured with the Three-Star Award at the ‘Golden Awards’ 2023, organised by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). This award ceremony was organised to honour foreign employment agencies that have made a significant contribution to the development of the foreign employment sector, which is a major source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka. Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services, was presented with the award at the award ceremony which was held at the BMICH in Colombo under the patronage of Minister of Foreign Employment and Labour Manusha Nanayakkara.

Having been established in 2002, Siraj Manpower Services ( has earned a reputation in the field of foreign employment by winning the trust of customers for more than 20 years. It has been offering job opportunities in the Middle East countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia as housekeepers, drivers, sanitation workers, labourers and also jobs related to the apparel industry. All these workers are entitled to approved salary scales certified by the SLBFE.

“We always stand for the safety of workers who go abroad through our organisation. We work to solve the problems that arise in relation to the contracts that the workers have entered into. I must mention something special to those who go abroad for employment. That is, you should keep in mind that you go abroad only to work. Go abroad only if you can work hard. You have to remember that you are going abroad to earn some more money and achieve the advancement of your family.” said Siraj Cafoor.

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Direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake to commence from August



A special discussion between Turkish Ambassador – Demet Sekercioglu and Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation – Nimal Siripala de Silva took place last week at the ministry office. The aim of the discussion was to seek authorization to commence direct flights from the Turkish Capital Istanbul to Katunayake, Sri Lanka. The Chief of Turkish Airlines’ South Asia Office Fathi Bozkurt was also present during the discussion.

Currently, Turkish Airlines connects with Sri Lanka through a route that includes a stopover in the Maldives, resulting in an additional travel time of one and a half hours. The delay caused by this routing is not favored by travelers, as emphasized by the Ambassador.

The Chief of Turkish Airlines requested for time and space to be allocated in order to initiate direct flights between Istanbul and Katunaike, thus providing convenience for Turkish tourists and travelers who prefer visit Sri Lanka.

The Minister announced that the request would be forwarded to the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited. The aim is to establish direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake starting from August this year.

Turkish Airlines, a renowned airline with a fleet of over 100 aircraft, offers flights connecting Europe’s Vancouver and New York. The Chief of Turkish Airlines said that the new service would not only benefit European travelers but also encourage them to travel to Sri Lanka.

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