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Enthusiastic response to tourism promotion event held at SL embassy in China

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The Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing, China recently hosted a very successful tourism promotion event at the Embassy premises, attended by approximately 100 tour operators, agencies, service providers, media and government representatives.

Sri Lanka Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona, Minister Counselor Nalika Kodikara, Chairman of the Tourism Promotion Bureau Chalaka Gajabahu, President of SLAITO Nishad Wijethunga, President of the Hotels Association M. Shanthikumar and the Managing Director of Spring Travel Yang Yang addressed the gathering. They highlighted the unique tourist attractions of Sri Lanka and encouraged the tour operators and the media to assist in promoting visits to Sri Lanka.  This was followed by a question and answer session.

Dr. Palitha Kohona stated that “Today we are seeking to promote Chinese tourism to Sri Lanka. Your enthusiastic presence here itself is an indication of the widespread interest in Sri Lanka. We are particularly grateful to the Chinese government for having included Sri Lanka in the pilot group of countries identified for group travel. We are gushing with enthusiasm to welcome our Chinese friends.”

He further stated, Sri Lanka has been identified as a “must visit” tourist destination for a long time. Ibn Batuta, the 13th century traveller from Tangier wrote that it was the most beautiful island on earth and that it was only forty leagues from paradise. More recently, the Lonely Planet travel guide identified Sri Lanka as a top “must visit” destination.”  He gave an descriptive account of the miles of clean golden beaches, warm seas that are home to many species of  whales and dolphins,  dense jungles where wild elephants roam, . the mist-covered mountains which produce Sri Lanka’s fabled black teas with their splendid flavors, and the coveted Ceylon blue sapphire –  the gem of choice of royalty. “It is also the country visited for thousands of years by faithful Chinese monks and traders to pay homage to the sites sacred to Buddhists,” the Ambassador said.

Minister Counselor Nalika Kodikara explained in detail the technical requirements for visitors to enter Sri Lanka which have been streamlined.  President of Spring Travels Yang Yang, explained the experiences of his pre-Covid-19 tour groups in Sri Lanka and expressed confidence that travelers will start to flow into the country again.

Representatives of CITS Beijing, CAISSA Travel,  Spring Travel, China Cruise & Yacht Industry Development Association,  Sri Lankan Airlines in Beijing,  China Art Association, World Tourism Cities Federation, Tour Travel, Zhonghe Travel and CZK Group were among the many tour operators at the event.

Media representatives from the China General Association Commercial Newspaper, Xinhua News Agency, Tianmu News, Souhu News, South China Morning Post, Ifeng.com, Haiwai News, Luxury Times, Beijing Trading Newspaper, Diplomat Magazine, Home and Abroad News, CGTN Radio, China Business Daily, China Trade News, China Network, Global Network, Voice of Diplomacy, Global Times, and CCTV-4 also attended.

Sponsors of the event included Lion Beer, Spring Travel, Century-old Qianmen store in Beijing, Moving Province Technology Group and Hong Kong Thai Wah Airlines with China Association for the Promotion of UN Procurement.
Detailed inquiries about sending visitors to Sri Lanka were made by the General Manager, China Cruise and Yacht Industry, the Gem & Jewellery Trade, the Nanjing Art Association and the Golfing Group. 

The participants were treated to Ceylon Tea and Lion Beer along with other refreshments.

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Presidential poll will be held first as scheduled: President affirms

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe affirmed that the Presidential election will be held as scheduled with the General Elections anticipated to be held early next year, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The President gave this assurance during a meeting with the representatives of the United Republic Front headed by by its leader Parliamentarian Patali Champika Ranawaka at Sirikotha today.

The United Republic Front presented a proposal titled “A United Step for the Country” to President Ranil Wickremesinghe this morning (24), at ‘Srikotha’, the United National Party headquarters in Colombo.

After engaging in discussions with the President, the leader of the United Republic Front, Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka, along with his delegation, presented this proposal to the President.

Speaking at the event, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, highlighted the government’s concerted efforts over the past two years to stabilize the country’s economy, which had faced significant challenges. 

Stressing the government’s commitment to steering the economy towards recovery through strategic reforms, the President expressed his determination to continue these initiatives with the collective support of everyone.

Recalling his open invitation to all political parties to unite under a common agenda on behalf of the country, regardless of political differences, the President reiterated his willingness to embrace constructive proposals from all political parties as part of the nation-building efforts.

The President responded positively to the request made by MP Patali Champika Ranawaka to allow other political parties to participate in the upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month concerning the restructuring of foreign debts.

United National Party Deputy Leader and President’s Senior Adviser on Climate Change, Ruwan Wijewardena, along with Secretary General of the United National Party Palitha Range Bandara were also in attendance at the event. 

Representing the United Republic Front were Karu Paranavithana, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe and Attorney-at-Law, Shiral Lakthilaka.

(dailymirror.lk)

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Dedicated SLBFE office to be established in Kegalle district

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In response to a joint request from the Kegalle Migrant Workers Committee and the Kegalle District political authority, Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara has assured the establishment of a dedicated Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) office in Kegalle District.

The request was presented during the Jayagamu Sri Lanka program organized by the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment in Kegalle. 

The Committee emphasized the need for an SLBFE office in the district, which has the highest number of migrant workers in Sabaragamuwa Province.

Commending the Minister for his prompt action in establishing a new SLBFE office in Nuwara Eliya District following a similar request, the Committee expressed confidence in his swift response to their current appeal. 

Minister Nanayakkara pledged immediate steps to open an SLBFE office in Kegalle and instructed officials from the Ministry and SLBFE to take the necessary actions for its swift establishment. 

This move aims to enhance support and services for migrant workers in the district.

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Parliamentary committee demands CBSL report on salary hike amid criticism

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Amidst growing criticism over the substantial salary hike for Central Bank employees, a key parliamentary committee has taken action, demanding a report from the Central Bank regarding the legal basis for such an increment without parliamentary approval.

Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Alleviating the Impact of the Economic Crisis, MP Gamini Waleboda, disclosed that the issue was raised during a committee meeting where Central Bank officials were present.

The Central Bank is now expected to submit a comprehensive report on the salary increment in the coming week. Following the submission, the Sectoral Oversight Committee intends to summon the Central Bank and its Monetary Board for further examination.

MP Waleboda highlighted that the committee expressed strong criticism of the 70% salary increase for Central Bank employees, especially given the ongoing economic crisis, deeming it an immoral act.

“We instructed the Central Bank to provide a report by next week to justify the salary increase. They will need to provide the legal provisions that empower them to effect such an increment. We will summon the Central Bank and its Monetary Board after receiving the report,” stated MP Waleboda.

Both government and opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have voiced objections to the Central Bank’s decision to raise the salary scales by 70%, with Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella asserting that the Central Bank Act lacks provisions for such salary increases without parliamentary approval, deeming it illegal.

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