Features

The Island Spirit – ‘We are stronger together’

By Pujanee Galappaththi

“The unfortunate events that took place during Easter Sunday drove us into a dark time. It is time that we heal and show the world that we are rebuilding a positive Sri Lanka,” said Manesha Coorey from Jetwing Villa Collection at The Island Spirit – a collaborative event organised by The Island Story and sponsored by Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance and Positive Sri Lanka on 13 July from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Botanik Rooftop Bistro and Bar, Colombo.

From Sri Lankans for Sri Lankans

This was an initiative to create positive dialogue, promote local businesses, and allow locals to enjoy some of Sri Lanka’s best at affordable rates in the grand scheme of rebuilding Mother Lanka. Representatives from a series of high-end, luxurious boutique hotels and villas were present at this event, presenting many remarkable offers and wonderful rates; Cantaloupe & Co., Wilde & Co., Haritha Collection, Why House, Manor House Concepts, The Rainforest Ecolodge, Mosvold Villas, and Jetwing Hotels and Villas were some of them.

Speaking to the representatives of each of these properties, we found out that there was an increase in sales over the past few weeks and that they are hopeful things will soon go back to normal. Cantaloupe & Co. Assistant Business Development Manager Victoria Powell stated: “We believe this is an important initiative to jump-start tourism. It is necessary that we talk about travel experiences in order to create awareness and that is what we are doing.”

All properties represented at the event offered discounts up to 50-70% off the actual rupee rates for lodging and dining on full-board and half-board bases. Each property offered treats, sweets, or a wonderful spa treatment in attempts to give a glimpse into their unique experiences.

In reference to the goal behind this initiative, Sugala Senanayake from The Island Story stated: “This is an attempt to create a local market drive in order to help locals and expats experience some of Sri Lanka’s best hotels and villas and tell the world to come back, getting together in the true island spirit to recover from the major slump in sales. This is until things pick up again.”

It was an amusing day full of good food, great hotel deals, and a lot of energy. The evening was enlivened with delicious street barbecue and the tunes of the delightful “Adam and Eves” band.

Wilde & Co. Gal Oya Lodge General Manager Madushan Perera, Haritha Collection Reservations Manager Tharani Peiris,  Henrietta Cottam from Why House, The Rainforest Ecolodge Executive – Sales and Marketing Bhagya Geethanjalie, Mosvold Villas Head of Digital Marketing and Sales Afrar Sally, and Manesha Coorey from Jetwing Hotels and Villas collectively stated that they had individually created awareness through local travel agents, influencers, and social media to contribute to the improvement of the tourism wave in Sri Lanka.

Representing Trail Blazer Tours India (Pvt.) Ltd. Vice President Arvind Kumar who was present at the event as a guest, commented on the success of the event as well.

Tharani Peiris from Haritha Collection had a message to share with international travellers: “Come to Sri Lanka now. It is the bear season in Yala, the weather is perfect, the tourist inflow is low, thus you are guaranteed to have the best experience.”

Chairman and Managing Director of Jetwing Travels (Pvt) Ltd Shiromal Cooray shared:

“It is truly humbling to witness how everyone is deeply committed to showcasing our beautiful island and restoring the lost perception that Sri Lanka is safe as any other country. It is great to be a part of this initiative as it’s important to support each other to get back on our feet. Sri Lankans have always been truly resilient we have no doubt the travel and tourism industry will recover and once again be the best destination to travel in the world.”

#dineescaperebuild

A dine-in #hashtag promotion and a minimum-spend bill raffle draw promo was initiated on 13 July and will go on till 28 July for all attendees to stand a chance to win a free night at one of the following boutique hotels and villas managed and owned by the hospitality partners of this event: Cantaloupe Levels, Cantaloupe Aqua, Cantaloupe House Ahangama, Rukgala Retreat, Gal Oya Lodge, Ashburnham Estate, The Rainforest Ecolodge, Boutique 87, Why House , and Mosvold Villa. All you have to do is follow these three simple steps;

1. Follow Pulse and The Island Story
2. Snap a pic of your delicious meal on your story and tag both accounts and add #DineEscapeRebuild

The Island Story is a new travel company with a fresh take to travel. Follow @theislandstory.lk to discover the untold stories of a small island girl.

If you missed this event, please contact The Island Story at 0728 533 014 or drop an email to ceylon@theislandstory.lk to get hold of the special offers and further discounts sold on the day of the event.