4000 up-market passengers expected during 2012/13 winter season
Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka and the FTI Group, one of Germany’s leading tour operators today announced the operation of luxury cruises between Dubai and Colombo calling at Muscat, Mumbai, Goa and Kochi next winter. The FTI BERLIN will thus becomes the first-ever luxury cruise liner of its kind to sail to the Port of Colombo on a regular basis with its 4000 up-market Austrian, British, German and Swiss clientele over a period of four months.
Abbas Esufally, Chairman of Diethelm Travel SL, a subsidiary of Hemas Holdings PLC under whose purview Diethelm is, said that this cruise is unique, especially for Sri Lanka’s buoyant and rapidly growing tourism industry. “This is an exceptional project which will bring in high spending tourists to Sri Lanka. Given the profile of the mainly high-end clientele, a project of this magnitude is a vital shot in the arm for our tourist industry … from the simple batik sellers, mask makers and other simple artisans to Colombo’s restaurants and high-end hotels across the country. The dividends, in the long term, augur well for the local tourist industry. Not only will it boost the industry, but will also act as a viable spring board to showcase Sri Lanka as a multi-faceted and internationally attractive destination”.
MS FTI BERLIN, the 206 cabin flagship luxury cruise liner of the FTI Group will call at and depart Colombo ten times between December 2012 and March 2013. It will cruise from Dubai / Colombo / Dubai (embarkation and disembarkation in Dubai and Colombo) with stops in Muscat and the Indian ports of Mumbai, Goa and Kochi.
The FTI BERLIN will arrive in Colombo for the first time on 05 December 2012. The approximately 400 passengers on each cruise will disembark in Colombo, while another 400 guests will start their cruise back to Dubai on the same route. All passengers disembarking or starting their cruise in Sri Lanka have the option of spending additional holidays in Sri Lanka – on the beaches or on round trips.
Says FTI’s Group CEO Dietmar Gunz, “Colombo is a great port of destination and departure for MS FTI BERLIN in the upcoming winter season. We are assured to be successful with this innovative cruise routing between Dubai and Sri Lanka. It will support the touristic development in Sri Lanka a lot – as past experience has shown, that successful ideas will attract more business”.
Esufally added that given the anticipated success of this venture, FTI Touristik is also exploring the possibility of including the ports of Trincomalee and Hambantota at a future date, thereby giving the project a greater dimension and taking it to a different level. “Past experience has shown that when a project of this nature is successful, other cruise operators follow suit, with the strong possibility of a ‘snowball effect’ in the cruise liner business opening Sri Lanka for rapid growth in the cruise market”, he said.
The FTI BERLIN luxury cruise liner with 206 cabins was built in 1980. Between 1986 and 1998 it played the leading part in the popular German TV-series “Das Traumschiff“ (“The Ship of Dreams”). The vessel accommodates approximately 400 passengers and provides two restaurants, a bar, a lounge and a beer garden. One outdoor pool, one indoor pool and a spa are available to the passengers as well as a fitness centre, sauna, solarium and massages.
FTI Group is one of the largest tour operators in Germany whilst Diethelm Travels is a subsidiary of Hemas Group Sri Lanka.
About the FTI Group : The FTI Group is one of the largest tour operator in Germany, FTI Touristik, as well as the short-term tour operator 5vorFlug, the car rental broker driveFTI, the online portal fly.de, the language travel agency LAL Sprachreisen, the Inbound Company Meeting Point International, the presenter for special offers BigXtra and the cruise-brand FTI Cruises. The Consolidator FTI-Ticket shop is responsible for the sale of scheduled flight tickets. Throughout Germany, about 10,000 partner agencies distribute FTI products. Under the umbrella of the one hundred percent subsidiary Touristik Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH (TVG), the FTI Group has pooled their franchise systems. Another important distribution channel is the company-owned TV travel shopping channel sonnenklar.TV. The FTI Group, headquartered in Munich, employs with its subsidiaries approximately 2,500 people and in the fiscal year of 2010/11 it achieved a turnover of 1.47 billion Euros.
About the Hemas Group : Hemas was formed in 1948. Today Hemas Holdings PLC is one of the leading public quoted companies in Sri Lanka engaged in a diverse set of business activities focused on Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Healthcare, Transportation, Leisure and Power generation.
Caption for PHOTO - Director Operations, FTI Touristik, Germany Lal Wijesinghe addresses the media. Also in the picture (L to R) are Ms Andrea Breher (Resident Manager FTI Touristik Germany), Capt. Ravi A. Jayawickreme (Harbour Master, Sri Lanka Ports Authority), Mr. Abbas Esufally (Chairman, Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka), Dr. Neville Goonewardena (Director General of Customs, Sri Lanka Customs), Mr. W. A. Chulananda Perera (Controller General, Department of Immigration & Emigration) and Mr. Dileep Mudadeniya (Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority)