The Ambassador of the EU Delegation in Sri Lanka, Denis Chaibi together with Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism, Ms. Kimarli Fernando, launched the initial stage of the island’s first ever long distance walking trail, with the unveiling of the signage at the trailhead.
The Heritage Trails project identifies a collection of destination-based walking trails across the island starting with a more than 300-kilometer walking path traversing the hills of Sri Lanka. The interconnecting trail network will be the first of a series of walking trails that allow visitors to discover the varying terrain, history, culture, food and local community by foot, in short sections or as part of a multi-day experience.
The development of the trails is part of the EU’s 5.7 million Euro investment (1.3 billion Rupees) in support of Sri Lanka’s national tourism strategy – including the development of signature experiences that are authentic, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) committed a further $787,000 (approximately LKR 160 million) to support the initiative. The project is implemented by the International Executive Service Corps.
Sharing his views while walking the trail, Ambassador Chaibi said, “As an avid biker, I’ve been all over the country and am amazed by the tourism potential here – particularly when you take the time to get off the beaten track. Sri Lanka has suffered multiple crises since 2019, leaving the tourism industry and the people dependent on it very vulnerable. The European Union is committed to working closely with the Government of Sri Lanka. This trail experience allows us to explore the development of more signature experiences that align with the emerging post-Covid travel trends. We are also delighted that USAID has joined with us in this effort.”
Meanwhile, commenting on the overall project, Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga said, “We value the support extended to us by the European Union and the United States to this vital sector of our economy and are confident that programs like this one will help some of the most vulnerable businesses stay in operation and safeguard the livelihoods of the many individuals directly and indirectly employed in the sector. Travelers from the European Union account for nearly half of all tourists visiting Sri Lanka, and we are happy to witness a continued growth in arrivals from the EU since October 2021.”
USAID Mission Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Reed Aeschliman said, “For over 60 years, USAID has invested in Sri Lanka’s growth. We are excited to partner with the Government of Sri Lanka and the European Union to shine the spotlight on Sri Lanka’s natural heritage and support the tourism sector with a long-term, sustainable initiative.”
The Heritage Trails project complements the foundation of the trail network with initiatives supporting tourism employment and entrepreneurship. These include a grants program to help establish and sustain small enterprises that can support Sri Lanka’s new signature experiences, as well as training for tourism workers, owners, and managers.
The European Union and USAID have provided economic and humanitarian support to Sri Lanka for decades. The Heritage Trails initiative is one component of these longstanding partnerships.
CSE Director Board appoints new chairman
The Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Dumith Fernando who has served in this role since July 01, 2020, has informed the Board of his intention to retire by rotation on June 23, 2022 at the conclusion of his current term as a Director. Subsequently, at its regular monthly board meeting held on May 19th, 2022, the Board of the CSE has elected Director Dilshan Wirasekara to succeed Fernando as Chairman with effect from June 24th, 2022. Wirasekara is currently Director and Chief Executive Officer of First Capital Holdings PLC.According to the Articles of Association of the CSE, it’s Chair is chosen from among the five Directors elected by the members of the CSE. The appointment of Wirasekara is in line with the CSE’s normal board succession practice.
The outgoing Chairman Fernando said that “We are very pleased with the advancement of the CSE in the last 2 years. The market has set records across capital raising, trading volumes and participation alongside significant wealth creation for investors. The CSE is also financially stronger than it has ever been, and I am pleased to hand over my role following the institution’s highest-ever profitability and capital reserves position. Credit for this is due to my fellow board members, management and staff as well as all those stakeholders who collaborated with us including our regulator the Securities & Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and the stock broking and investor communities.”
Commenting on the appointment of his successor, he further stated “I have had the pleasure of serving as a Director with Dilshan for five years where he has been a critical and energetic member of the board. The board and I have full confidence that he will continue to work with all stakeholders to build on our recent efforts to transform into a modern-day multi-product exchange. I look forward to supporting Dilshan over the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition.”Wirasekara thanked both the outgoing chairman for his leadership of the CSE over the last 2 years and the CSE Board for the confidence placed in him. He further stated, “I hope to continue the good progress at the CSE and look forward to working with the Board and the CSE team together with the regulator and the industry to advance our ambitious capital market development plans.”
SLIM Research Bureau embarks on a mission to promote fair trade in Sri Lanka
As corporates and consumers globally are shifting towards best practices such as sustainability, inclusivity, and most importantly, equality to all, “fairness” has become a significant part of how business and buyer decisions are made.With this in mind, SLIM Research Bureau, the research arm associated with the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), recently signed an agreement with Fairtrade NAPP at SLIM Home, in aspiration of promoting fair trade and consumption of fairly traded products in the local market of Sri Lanka.Through this collaboration, SLIM Research Bureau and Fairtrade intends to launch a project – named “SRI-PROM” funded by AICS, the Italian Agency for Development Co-operation, and supported by Fairtrade Italy – that aims to contribute to the social and economic strengthening of rural areas in Sri Lanka, through the development of much more profitable eco-sustainable supply chains for small farmers.
Commenting on the partnership, SLIM President Mr. Nuwan Gamage stated: “SLIM is thrilled to enter into this milestone partnership with Fairtrade NAPP to instil globally accepted best practices within the corporate circle that help achieve fair, equitable trade relationships. The project will be the first step in inviting businesses across industries to become a trailblazer that sets an example both in Sri Lanka and around the world. We look forward to expand these efforts further in the days to come.”The modern concept of fair trade refers to the ethical and sustainable sourcing of products, where workers and farmers at the foundational level of supply and value chains are treated fairly. This, in turn, offers consumers a powerful opportunity to reduce poverty through their purchases.
Fairtrade International Programme Consultant for Sri Lanka, Standards Committee Chair, and Oversight Committee Asia-Pacific Representative Mrs. Iresha Sanjeewanie noted: “Fairtrade takes a 360-degree approach to address a number of different issues and developmental challenges faced by small-scale producers and workers. Though Fairtrade Standards are a glum eye-opener into the implications of unfair trade, in a broader sense, it advocates reform-oriented research and pushes to raise the bar in trade.”
Bank of Ceylon sponsors Annual Sand Paving Ceremony at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Temple Anuradhapura
Invoking the blessings of the sacred “Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi” situated in the historic city of Anuradhapura, on the country and on all its citizens, for peace, harmony and prosperity, the Bank of Ceylon conducted its annual ceremony of strewing fresh sand which is known as “weli Athirime Pinkama” in “Uda Maluwa” recently.
The ceremony took place with the participation of the Bank’s General Manager K.E.D. Sumanasiri, DGM Corporate and Offshore Banking Priyal Silva, DGM Human Resource Dhamma Wijeyawardhene, DGM Branch operations and Development Banking Nilantha Meneripitiyage, AGM North Central Province Mahinda Bandara, AGM Marketing Aruna Hettiarachchi, AGM North Western Mrs.Ruchindra Perera and other staff members. The event was organized by the Bank’s Assistant General Manager North Central Province (NCP) G.K.G. Mahinda Bandara and staff members of the NCP province with the guidance of the Atamasthanadipathi of Anuradhapura, the Most Venerable Dr. Pallegama Siriniwasa Thero.
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