The 45th Annual General Meeting of the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka (TAASL) and the 32nd Annual General Meeting of the IATA Agents Association of Sri Lanka (IAASL) was held on September 19, at the Tangerine Beach Hotel, Kalutara. 183 participants attended this event. Channe Wijemanne, Director / CEO, George Steuarts Travels Ltd was re-elected as president of the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka (TAASL) for the year 2020 /2021. Tilak Wickramasinghe, Managing Director of Skyways Travel Solutions (Pvt) Ltd was elected as the President of the IATA Agents Association of Sri Lanka (IAASL) for the year 2020 /2021.
Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga graced the occasion with his presence.During his speech, Wijemanne requested the Minister of Tourism to assist the industry on the requests made for financial assistance for the travel industry and moratorium and the working capital soft loan extensions. Further the Minister of Tourism reiterated that as discussed, positions would be given to TAASL & IAASL on the Management Committee of Airport and Aviation. Wijemanne thanked the Minister of Tourism profusely for giving the industry numerous opportunities to voice our grievances and wished him good luck in achieving his objectives and confirmed the industries fullest cooperation and support.
TAASL is the national travel agents body in the country, with representation on the governing boards of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourist Hotel Management (SLITHM), the Tourism Industry Skills Council and a member of the “One Industry One Voice” initiative.
It was founded on October 22, 1974 and is an approved association of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce representing the interest of 165 outbound travel agents in Sri Lanka.
IATA Agents Association of Sri Lanka (IAASL) an affiliated association of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, which was formed in 1988 as a body to represent the interests of the Sri Lankan travel agencies accredited by the International Air Transport Association. At present the membership consists of over 145 travel agencies located throughout Sri Lanka.
The following Executive Council Members were elected at the TAASL Annual General Meeting:
Mr. Jude Condrad of Himpras Tours (Pvt) Ltd – Senior Vice President, Mr. Sabry Bahaudeen of Classic Travels (Pvt) Ltd – Junior Vice President, Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt) Ltd – Mr. Nishantha Senaveratne, Alpha Travels & Holidays (Pvt) Ltd – Mr. Wilhelm E. Brown, BOC Travels (Pvt) Ltd – Mr. Romesh Samaranayake, Acorn Travels (Pvt) Ltd (Formally Hemas Travels (Pvt) Ltd) – Mr. Mohamed Hussain Abdul Habeeb, Intersun Travels (Pvt) Ltd – Mr. Suffian Mohideen, Lando Travels (Pvt) Ltd – Mr. Lawrence Fernando, Mackinnons Travels (Pvt) Ltd – Mr. Shamindra Fernando, Scenic Ventures (Pvt) Ltd – Mr. Rizwan Ramieze, Skyways – Mr. Tillak Wickremasinghe, Traveller Global Destinations & Leisure Holidays (Pvt) Ltd – Mr. Omar – Ul – Shibly Shamsudeen, Upul’s Travel Service (Pvt) Ltd – Mr. Kapilanath Kalapuge.
The following Executive Council Members were elected at the IAASL Annual General Meeting:
Mr. Janath Vidanage of Danata Travels & Tour (Pvt) Ltd – Vice President, Mr. Riza Ahamat – 02ND Chance Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Hussain Habeeb – Acorn Travels (Private) Limited, Mr. Wilhelm Brown – Alpha Travels & Holidays (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Romesh Samaranayake – B. O. C. Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Mohamed Sabry Bahaudeen – Classic Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Brighton Alexander – Ganlo Travel & Tours (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Mohamed Ziard Wahid – Golden International Travels & Tours (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Jude Condrad – Himpras Tours (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Lawrence Fernando – Lando Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Shaminda Fernando – Mackinnons Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Rizwan Rameize – Scenic Ventures (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Saman Premakumara – Travel World (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Rizmi Reyal – The Traveller Global (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Duminda Kuruwitaarachchi – Travel Outlook (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Kapilanath Kalapuge – Upuls Travel Service (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Nishantha Senaveratne will join the Executive Council in his capacity as the Immediate Past President.
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Unlimited music streaming platform in Sri Lanka
SLT-Mobitel, the nation’s ICT and Telecommunications Service Provider recently partnered with Spotify, to mark their launch in Sri Lanka. Spotify is a paid premium music streaming app which allows subscribers to listen to music to their hearts content. Both, SLT-Mobitel Post-Paid and Pre-Paid customers will now be able to enjoy Spotify by activating a monthly recurring subscription or one-time subscription plan and access unlimited music streaming and downloading facilities.
The subscription charges will get added to the user’s customary billing, where payment will be deducted in real time. Starting from the payment date, the user will be able to access Spotify and download their favourite songs, for the next 30 days. Users who sign up for their first monthly subscription will receive an additional one month, courtesy of Spotify. The one-month subscription plan is not applicable with one-time subscription plans. SLT-Mobitel data rates, depending on the user’s respective broadband charges, will apply.
Spotify also has some exciting features that will provide SLT-Mobitel customers with the opportunity to listen to ad-free music, access millions of uninterrupted music under one platform, play any song they like, anywhere they go, and also be able to enjoy their music offline.
SLT-Mobitel customers can select their preferred premium package under four categories; Individual, Duo, Family, Student. Each category has recurring and non-recurring plans. After one month of free streaming, the package will activate once the offer period terminates. While both, the Individual and Student premiums are limited to one account user, the Duo package offers two accounts and the Family premium is accessible through six accounts. To view Spotify plans, users can log on to https://spoti.fi/3aLWvce
Sri Lanka using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor
by Sanath Nanayakkare
Anyone conversant with the elements of a political economy would know that Sri Lanka is using its ‘sovereign power’ to manage the different dynamics of the economy in a sustainable manner, Professor W. D Lakshman Governor of the Central Bank said on Wednesday.
“Some critics are saying that we adopt a so-called modern monetary theory. That’s not the case. In fact, Sri Lanka is using its sovereign power in a number of economic aspects to honour its external debt repayment commitments as well as to reduce its debt burden in the medium term as well as achieve resilient growth in the medium to long term, he said.
“We make policy decisions to boost our gross foreign reserves, meet our external debt servicing, to facilitate monetary expansion, to boost our GDP growth, to strengthen our current account balance and manage our domestic and external economic variables in a sustainable manner. This is not a modern monetary theory. This is an age-old tool used by central banks around the world when the circumstances demand it, he said.
“Certain trade-offs will be necessary when dealing with an economy which has a big fiscal gap to bridge. There are efforts to push Sri Lanka towards the IMF again which would in turn have influence on our policymaking. We have taken policy measures to stabilize the economy and we have adequate reserve levels to meet our debt repayments. Meanwhile, we are in negotiations with overseas central banks and multilateral agencies to further boost our reserve level and it would materialise within a matter of weeks,” he noted.
“One of the tools the Central Bank has introduced is in respect of repatriation of export proceeds into Sri Lanka and conversion of such proceeds into Sri Lankan rupees in order to strengthen the foreign exchange situation of the country,” he said.
The Governor made these remarks while delivering the keynote speech at a webinar organised by the Veemansa Initiative led by its Managing Director Luxman Siriwardene – the former Executive Director of Pathfinder Foundation.
The webinar revolved round the topic ‘External debt situation in Sri Lanka: Are we heading for a resolution or crisis?’
Professor Sirimal Abeyratne, Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage, Dr. Nishan de Mel and Dr. Ravi Liyanage were the other speakers on the panel.
CSE on the rebound; indices close positive
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
CSE produced signs of a rebound yesterday with both indices closing positive, though turnover remained low. Central Bank Governor W.D Lakshman’s recent statement on managing foreign reserves gave some boost to the market yesterday, stock market analysts said.
The index experienced a zigzag movement within the early hours of trading; thereafter, it recorded a slight up-trend as it reached its intraday high of 7,439. Later, the market witnessed a down-trend at mid-day, followed by a sideways movement and closed at 7,372, gaining 43 points during the month of February, market sources said.
It is said the banking sector dominated turnover with a contribution of considerable parcel trades in Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank and HNB.
Further, the Commercial Bank’s impressive quarterly results during the recent turbulent period also built investor confidence. Commercial Bank was able to register a18 percent net interest income when other banks were reporting a decline. Its share price increased by Rs. 3 or 3.5 percent. On the previous day, its shares started trading at Rs. 85 and at the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 88. Due to the positive growth results, the bank announced a Rs. 4.40 dividend per share, plus a Rs. 2 script divergent for every share.
Further, Sampath Bank shares also appreciated in both crossing and retail. In crossings its shares appreciated by Rs. 1.At the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 154.50. In the retail market, its shares moved up by Rs. 2 or 1.3 percent. Previously, its shares fetched Rs. 154 and at the end of yesterday they moved up to Rs. 156.
Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 104.48 points and S and P SL20 rose by 67.78 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Sampath Bank, where 3.9 million shares crossed for Rs. 602.2 million, its share price being Rs. 154.50, HNB 375,000 shares crossed for Rs. 39.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 105, Pan Asia Power 9.5 million shares crossed for Rs. 33.2 million, its shares traded at Rs. 3.50 and Access Engineering 1.2 million shares crossed for Rs. 28.2 million; its shares traded at Rs. 24.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 450 million (10 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 205 million (1.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 199 million (34.9 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs. 191 million (1.2 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 137.7 million (2.8 million shares traded). During the day 101 million share volumes changed hands in 18046 transactions.
During the day, Expolanka, the biggest contributor to the turnover, saw its share price appreciating by Rs. 6.20 or 15 percent. Its share price quoted on the previous day was Rs. 41 and at the end of trading yesterday it moved up to Rs. 47.
Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted wider at 193.50/195.50 levels to the US dollar in the spot next market on Thursday while bond yields remained unchanged, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the spot market at 194.50/195.00 to the dollar on Wednesday.