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Sri Lanka Tourism gearing for aggressive promotion of Ceylon Sapphire



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

When tourists visit Sri Lanka, one of the major things that should be on their shopping list along with tea and spices are Ceylon sapphires. Ceylon sapphires are historically famous for their beautifully saturated colours, glowing lustre and transparent nature of the stone, so we need to integrate professional standards to this trade, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism Kimarli Fernando said in Colombo recently.

Speaking at a forum organized by Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA), she said:

“It is said that two thirds of the island contains gems, which has a huge potential to promote Sri Lanka as a gem hub; especially blue sapphire among up market tourists. Unfortunately we are just sitting on gem deposits without harnessing its true potential.”

“I request from the gem and jewellery stakeholders to ensure that quality and fair priced items are offered to tourists as there have been many complaints that tourists were ripped off and cheated by local jewellers giving a negative image to Sri Lanka.

Reopening the tourism sector to foreigners, Sri Lanka will allow tourists who have taken both COVID-19 vaccination to visit the country and also roam freely without additional quarantine regulations, she said.

Chairman SLGJA Ahsan Refai said,”The Blue Bell of Asia was an exceptional Blue sapphire weighted 392 cts. which was found in a paddyfield in Ratnapura in 1926. It was initially sold to Lord Naphil in Britain in 1937. Then it was later auctioned for record-breaking 19 million dollars. Given our rich heritage producing fine quality, gemstones must use this as a unique opportunity to promote and market this to the world and especially to the tourists visiting Sri Lanka.”

” I am sure the inclusion of our beautiful gemstones in any promotional campaign will boost the appeal of visiting Sri Lanka. This will encourage more tourists to visit our country,” he said.

The legacy of Ceylon Sapphires can be dated back to the 2nd Century AD

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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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