The Sunday Leader

JKH Sweeps Board

Left to right: Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo General Manager Neroy Marso and Cinnamon Grand General Manager Rohan Karr, John Keells Holdings Executive Vice President Vasantha Leelananda (6th from left), Walkers Tours CEO Michael Elias, Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardhana (4th from left) and Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Nalaka Godahewa and others of John Keells Leisure Group.

John Keells Leisure Group (JKLG) led the pack by winning six top awards at the Sri Lanka Tourism Awards (SLTA) 2010. The Group’s inbound tour operator (ITO) Walkers Tours (WT) swept the travel awards with three awards including “best inbound tour operator” award
The final tally included the following awards: Best Tourism Website (travel)-WT, Best Charter Airline – WT/Condor, Best City Hotel-Cinnamon Lakeside(CL), Best Spa- CL’s Azmaara Spa (AS) and Best Host Hotel Culture – Nuga Gama, Cinnamon Grand.
John Keells Holdings (JKH) Executive Vice President and Destination Management Sector Head Vasantha Leelananda said, “We are delighted that WT was recognized with three prestigious awards including best ITO award.  This is an endorsement of the consistent efforts we put in to raise the bar in marketing and communications, excellence in service standards and creating trend setting initiatives whilst maintaining our commitment to the community at large, and ensuring the sustainability of our product.” WT CEO Michael Elias said, “This is the result of a brilliant team effort with all market segments performing well. In a year in which the industry faced inventory shortages-both hotel rooms and vehicles- my team’s efforts, their commitment and passion to service clients stood out among the rest.  Additionally our two pronged strategy of actively driving new markets and niches while strongly continuing to support the traditional markets which have stood by the destination in adverse times has paid off.”
CL General Manager (GM) Neroy Marso said:  “We are humbled by our triumph in winning the Best Five Star City Hotel award (BFSCHA) at SLTA 2010. It was heartening to share the victory of our partner spa operator AS which emerged as the Best Host Hotel Spa. While the award represents the ‘labour of love’ and our associates’ work ethic, we are thrilled by the fact that we were able to retain the BFSCHA within the John Keells Group ever since the awards began four years ago.
A highlight of SLT 2010 Awards was the naming of JKH former Chairman and WT Managing Director Ken Balendra as a “Tourism Legend”. This was a tribute to the person who not only guided WT’s fortunes to dizzy heights, but also that of JK Group’s leisure portfolio. For JKLG’s people and companies, SLTA 2010 was a night to remember..

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