News

“Raid Amazones” The world’s biggest Female Adventure Challenge to be held around Passikudah bay and the jungles of Thoppigala.

‘Raid Amazones’ (www.raidamazones.com), the world’s biggest female adventure challenge is to be held in Sri Lanka in two legs in 2018/19. The first leg will be held from the 11th to 19th of October 2018 and again in 2019 from the 23rd to 31st of March. The event will be held in the East coast of Sri Lanka in and around Passikudha, Thoppigala and Kalkudah. The event launch held at the Ceylon Hotel School, Monara Restaurant, was organized by Connaissance De Ceylan in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism.

This international event is held once a year in a different country with around 500 to 600 participants competing in a week long multi-sport adventure challenge. In teams of two or three, the participants will compete in challenges such as: Orienteering; Cycling; Canoeing; Running; and Archery. All the activities designed to test the skill, determination and teamwork of the contestants.

This 100% female event provides an opportunity for women to test their mental and physical endurance all whilst enjoying the beautiful environment and enthralling culture of the host country. The increasing popularity of fitness and wellbeing coupled with a growing desire for adventure makes this the perfect event for women who want to push themselves out of their comfort zone and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. The challenging nature of the Raid Amazones helps empower and develop a spirit of intense bonding, cooperation and support between all the women taking part.

The 18th edition of the Raid Amazones will return to Sri Lanka in 2018/19 for the third time. Previous editions being held in 2004 and 2009 with the participation of 225 and 138 female adventurers, respectively. However, this edition stands out as it showcases the less travelled East coast of the country. The events will be spread around the east coast, providing much needed exposure to the relatively newer east coast tourism sector as well as showcasing the beauty, potential and viability of the formerly war-torn region. Locations, such as Thoppigala, have been seldom visited by tourist and will provide the ideal backdrop for events. Raid Amazon is likely to play a key role in promoting and incentivizing more adventure-based tourism events to come to Sri Lanka and the east coast.

In addition, the Raid Amazones comes with immense international media coverage for the event via print, television, radio, internet and social media providing excellent exposure for Sri Lanka as a country and tourism destination. This coverage will create international publicity and awareness for the host destination estimated to be worth around $10 Million. Showcasing Sri Lanka as a diversified, eco-friendly and compact destination that future travelers should include in their holidays plans. Furthermore, the coverage will help Sri Lanka brand itself as a top adventure tourism destination, a sector which has not yet met its full potential within the country.

The event will be organized by French based ZBO and their local partner Connaissance de Ceylan, which have 35 years of experience within the tourism sector. Connaissance is a company whose aim is to pursue emerging trends whilst preserving the true essence of holidays in relation to Sri Lanka’s rich and long eco-cultural heritage. Today, their major subsidiaries that include Theme Resorts & Spas Pvt. Ltd. and CDC Events & Travels Pvt. Ltd. play a major role in the hospitality industry. Among other contributions, they re-pioneered tourism in the East coast, after the conflict that devastated tourism in the region, by building Maalu Maalu Resort & Spa in Passikudha. By hosting Raid Amazones in the East Coast, Connaissance hopes to give a boost to tourism and the economy.


“Ayurvie Weligama”; Luxury Ayurveda & Yoga Resort to Opened Its Doors

Theme Resorts & Spas’ proudly launched ‘Ayurvie Weligama’ as the latest addition to its collection of experiences. The resort opened its doors to guests on 15th March 2018, after the ceremonial opening held with the presence of Honorable Minister John Amarathunga, Minister of Tourism & Christian Affairs, H. E. Jean-Marin Schuh, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives & other dignitaries.
Situated in the Southern coast of Sri Lanka, renowned for its tranquil atmosphere and magnificent beaches, “Ayurvie Weligama” overlooks the Indian Ocean & is surrounded by beautiful mangroves and marsh land with a breathtaking view of the famous Jungle beach of Weligama Bay. The brainchild of Chandra Wickramasinghe, a veteran in the Sri Lankan leisure industry, Ayurvie is a 600 Million (LKR) investment which focuses on providing authentic experiences, to those seeking to explore, the best kept secrets of the ancient South Asian healing system of Ayurveda combined with yoga which asserts the delicate balance of the mind, body and spirit for wellness and good health.
This luxury boutique resort which offers guests specialized Ayurveda & Yoga retreats is designed to accentuate the indigenous Sri Lankan culture as inspired by the traditional and eco-friendly architectural style of Sri Lanka. With each room facing the Indian Ocean and the surrounding natural greenery of the resort, guests are to be transcended into an atmosphere of complete relaxation and serendipity. The spacious interior of the resort is designed according to ancient Ayurvedic concepts, focusing on physical vital factors known as dosa, dhatna mala systems and energy channels known as Prana and Chakra systems. Some of the resort’s unique attractions include its spacious spa, individual therapy rooms for its visitors and the specially designed areas known as Anitya; for relaxation, yoga and Buddhist meditation.
All Ayurvedic programs at “Ayurvie Weligama” would be carried out according to well-established Ayurveda practices of South Asia dating back more than 3000 years, under the supervision and consultation of well renowned and qualified professionals in Ayurvedic and Complementary Medicine. Colour and Music Therapy would be a vital part of the wellness treatment offered at the resort and each visitor would be individually advised on their nutrition according to the observations made by an in-house doctor. Sunrise & sunset yoga will be practiced daily with the professional in-house yoga instructor & visitors will have the unique opportunity of taking part in traditional dancing lessons within the resort premises.
While promoting the wellness and the good health of visitors, the Resort also focuses on eco friendly & sustainable practices in its daily operations. Ayurvie is specially designed to produce its own electricity with solar panels, generating up to 85KV monthly. The resort also maintains an organic vegetable garden to fulfil a portion of its daily vegetable requirement. As the resorts CSR initiative, the resort will be donating 01 USD from each room night sold to “Reconstruire et Vivre” R.e.V (Rebuild & Live), a nonprofit association managed by the Director Board of the resort which conducts preschools & computer centers for the needy children of the area.
“Ayurvie Weligama” would be one of the very few luxury hotels which specializes in Ayurveda / Yoga in Sri Lanka. The resort offers guests a unique opportunity to experience a part of the ancient, South Asian heritage well preserved in Sri Lanka while exploring the secrets of Ayurveda, as they rejuvenate their mind, body and spirit.
Ayurvie Weligama will be the first Ayurvedha & Yoga Resort to join the Theme Resorts & Spas portfolio. The group already takes pride in its collection of Maalu Maalu Resort & Spa Passikudah, Aliya Resort & Spa Sigiriya, Mountbatten Bungalow Kandy, Scottish Planter Glendevon Bungalow Nuwaraeliya & Kithala Resort Tissamaharama.


Mr. Chandra Wickramasinghe has been recognized by Business Today in their ‘Passionate 2017’



With great pleasure we inform you, that Mr. Chandra Wickramasinghe has been recognized by Business Today in their ‘Passionate 2017’ segment for his exceptional contribution to Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.
As the founder chairman of Connaissance de Ceylan | Theme Resorts & Spas | Travel Design by CDC & CDC Events, he has guided the company to become an internationally renowed brand for maintaining the distinctive Sri Lankan identity and introducing novel concepts to the industry.


Three and A Half Decades of Winning Hearts Internationally

The Embassy of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives has the honour to bestow the honorary distinction of Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, onto M. Chandra Wickramasinghe. The ceremony was held at the Résidence de France, on Thursday 16th November 2017.

L’Ordre National du Mérite is a French order of merit with membership awarded by the President of the French Republic, founded on 3rd December 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle. The National Order of Merit is one of the highest national Honor in France. Its purpose is to reward “distinguished merit” and encourage the lifeblood of the country.

M. Chandra Wickramasinghe’s expertise in the field of tourism make him one of the most eminent personalities in the sector. He has three & a half decades of experience in the tourism industry and his concepts of eco-cultural tourism and Ayurveda have gained much popularity in Sri Lanka. Being one of the leading inbound operators on the French market, he contributed to strengthen the economic and cultural ties, as well as mutual understanding between France and Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, he has done a remarkable work by including sustainable development matters and environment protection in his hospitality activities.

He also contributed to charity actions, by helping local communities after the 2004 tsunami, and by contributing to local education.

In 1982 he formed the travel agency Connaissance de Ceylan to fulfil a much-felt need in the industry. Knowing French language was an advantage and he had a significant opening into the French market. Despite instability during the latter part of the 1980s and early 1990s, he managed with success to develop his activity. He now runs a dozen hotels in Sri lanka, created the group Theme Resorts & Spas and still owns the agency Connaissance de Ceylan.

Beyond his tourism activities in Sri Lanka focused on French and Francophone audience for 30 years, he also is a founder of the Alliance Française de Kotte in Colombo and he has been its President from the beginning in 2010 till 2017. His commitment with the Alliance, this flagship institution of French Education and Culture, has been significant and contributed to its recent development. Furthermore he has been a sponsor of French cultural events.

M. Chandra Wickramasinghe, has won many awards: in 1999, he was Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year, he won the National Silver Award presented by Sri Lankan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and he received several awards for hotels. He has been selected for the ‘Business Today Passionate 2017’ segment for his exceptional contribution to Sri Lanka Tourism.

L’Ambassade de France à Sri Lanka et aux Maldives a l’honneur de remettre la distinction honorifique d’Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite à M. Chandra Wickramasinghe. La cérémonie aura lieu à la Résidence de France, le jeudi 16 novembre 2017.

L’expertise de M. Chandra Wickramasinghe dans le domaine du tourisme fait de lui l’une des personnalités les plus éminentes du secteur. Il a trois décennies et demie d’expérience dans l’industrie du tourisme et ses concepts de tourisme éco culturel et ayurvedique ont gagné beaucoup de popularité à Sri Lanka. Étant l’un des principaux opérateurs entrants sur le marché français, il a contribué à renforcer les liens économiques et culturels, ainsi que la compréhension mutuelle entre la France et Sri Lanka.

De plus, il a fait un travail remarquable en incluant les questions de développement durable et de protection de l’environnement dans ses activités hôtelières.

Il a également contribué à des actions caritatives, en aidant les communautés locales après le tsunami de 2004, et en contribuant à l’éducation locale.

En 1982, il a fondé l’agence de voyages Connaissance de Ceylan pour répondre à un besoin très ressenti dans l’industrie. Connaître la langue française était un atout et une ouverture significative sur le marché français. Malgré l’instabilité de la fin des années 1980 et du début des années 1990, il a réussi à développer son activité. Il dirige aujourd’hui une douzaine d’hôtels à Sri Lanka, a créé le groupe Thème Resorts & Spas et possède toujours l’agence Connaissance de Ceylan.

Au-delà de ses activités touristiques à Sri Lanka axées sur le public français et francophone depuis 30 ans, il est également fondateur de l’Alliance Française de Kotte à Colombo et en a été le Président dès le début en 2010 jusqu’en 2017. Son engagement auprès de l’Alliance, ce fleuron de l’éducation et de la culture françaises, a été important et a contribué à son développement récent. De plus, il a sponsorisé des événements culturels français.

M. Chandra Wickramasinghe a remporté de nombreux prix: en 1999, il était Entrepreneur Sri Lankais de l’année, il a remporté le National Silver Award décerné par la Fédération Sri-lankaise des Chambres de Commerce et d’Industrie et il a reçu plusieurs prix pour ses hôtels. Il a été sélectionné dans la catégorie «Business Today Passionate 2017» pour sa contribution exceptionnelle au tourisme à Sri Lanka.


BUSINESS TODAY PASSIONATE 2017

With the establishment of Connaissance de Ceylan in 1982, Chandra Wickramasinghe began a journey to redefine the hospitality sector in Sri Lanka. Forging ahead through a difficult period in the 1980s and 90s, with the aim of making a difference, a new concept was introduced by him in the form of Culture Club in Kandalama. This was his first hotel. Chandra Wickramasinghe is a pioneer in eco-cultural tourism where he showcased novel nature-based tourism that was unique to Sri Lanka.

Drawing on his experience as an inbound travel agent focusing on the French market, Chandra Wickramasinghe had identified the requirements of the traveller. It is this knowledge that ensured the operations of his business during challenging times. He was appointed as the agent for Air France as well and has received recognition from the French market.

Chandra Wickramasinghe was Sri Lanka’s first hotelier to build a hotel in Kandalama. Culture Club with its unique concept and spatial arrangement set the standard for new hotels, to create luxurious properties that reflected Sri Lankan heritage and culture. While Culture Club is no longer owned by Chandra Wickramasinghe, his impact is still greatly visible.

The concept of eco-buildings, though existent, was not entirely encompassed in eco-tourism in the 1990s. It was, in fact, Chandra Wickramasinghe who really introduced this idea to Sri Lanka. Culture Club entails a space of 8,000 sq ft that is naturally ventilated, without air conditioning or even a fan. Furthermore, he thought about reducing carbon emissions before it became a hype and introduced bullock carts for transportation in the property. In this way Chandra Wickramasinghe was a pioneer in the eco-tourism sector of Sri Lanka.

The conflict years were difficult, where the business was operated on personal funding. Many challenges had to be faced overseas as well. However, due to the strong relationship with tour operators, tourists were attracted to the country by highlighting the many interesting features in non-conflict areas. Following the end of the conflict, Chandra Wickramasinghe recognised the importance of economic reconciliation in the areas that were affected; as a result, he was the first to venture into Passikudah in the East Coast with his landmark property Maalu Maalu. He paved the way for others to make ‘that move’ confidently, while he undertook great risks. Maalu Maalu, similar to Culture Club, at the time made waves in the tourism sector and it has become a must-visit location in the East Coast.

Aliya Resort and Spa in Sigiriya reflects the novel concept and branding that is characteristic of Chandra Wickramasinghe. The guests are provided with a truly Sri Lankan experience. And, as with all his properties, staff and their service have been exceptional. Prior to making an investment three points are deliberated upon; the property must be eco friendly – protect the environment, protect the culture and give the maximum to the village or area. These aspects are clearly visible in all his endeavours.

Chandra Wickramasinghe was also one of the pioneers of introducing Ayurveda spas in hotels in Sri Lanka. He asserted the importance of promoting Ayurveda and showcasing the heritage of the country through this traditional treatment.

Chandra Wickramasinghe strongly believes that Sri Lanka will face an economic boom in the future and Sri Lankan companies will face the biggest challenge of competing with international players in the industry.

Business Today recognises hotelier Chandra Wickramasinghe for his passion and determination in striving forward in a very challenging industry, while introducing novel concepts that reflect the identity of Sri Lanka. His depth of experience in the hospitality and tourism sector has enabled new thinking in the hotel industry. He is a hotelier that truly represents Sri Lankan hospitality and is an example for the sector.


 Special Events

  • The Hotel Show Sri Lanka
  • The Annual Vehicle Inspection
  • Aliya Resort & Spa
  • Sri Lanka won the “Most Popular Tourism Destination Award”
  • Allaiance Francaise

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Restaurants

  • Miriss Eya Beach Restaurant- Mirissa
  • Dutchmans’ Street- Matara Fort

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Hotel Updates

  • Fox Resort Kandy
  • Villa Cassandra Nuwara Eliya
  • Araliya City Nuwara Eliya
  • Elephant Stables Weligama Bay
  • Manor House Kandy
  • Soul Resorts Dickwella
  • New Hotel in Weligama
  • Dynasty Residence – Kandy
  • Bahirawakanda Holiday Bungalow ,Kandy
  • Portofino Matara
  • Amari Galle – Galle
  • Hibiscus Hotel – Wadduwa
  • Shangri la Hotel – Colombo
  • Ahaspokuna – Belihuloya
  • Marriott Weligama
  • Cassandra Culture Resort Sigiriya
  • Arugambay Roccos – Arugambay
  • Joes Habarana village and Ella Gap
  • Ruins Chaaya – Polonnaruwa
  • Bar Reef Kalpitiya

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Excursions

  • Bird park Kandy
  • Archaeological Museum of Puttalam
  • Excursion to Wilpattu by Boat / Jeep from Kalpitiya
  • Cycle tours / Village tours / Galle City walk

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Lanka Challenge 2017 (20-29 April ’17) : The Tuk Tuk Rally flags off…

The 1st Edition of ‘Lanka Challenge 2017’ was flagged off today at the Tamarind Tree, Minuwangoda. The Tuk tuk rally Organized for the 9th consecutive time by Large Minority & Connaissance De Ceylan in sponsorship with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau & Sri Lankan Airlines, will give participants the opportunity to enjoy Sri Lanka as they have never done before. The 1st Edition of the Challenge will take participants from Minuwangoda to Jaffna via Kalpitiya & Mannar, from Jaffna to Trinco & from there back to Negombo via Sigiriya & Kandy.