ITC Maurya in collaboration with Aska Beverages Pvt Ltd and Old Reserve organized a party where the who’s who of the sports world and diplomats got together to celebrate the ‘The Spirit of Ceylon’. Mr. John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, Sri Lanka, who was not present on the occasion sent a message to the attendees, saying, “I hope you have an enjoyable evening listening to the history of Spirit of Ceylon. We have a lovely country ranked number one in 2019. My sincere regrets for not being here in person today. Sri Lankan has a lot to offer as a place for visitors, we are proud of our unique food and beverage.”
The Sri Lanka government has taken steps to boost the tourism sector such as giving concessions on air tickets and hotel rates. “For boosting tourism, we are giving concessions on air tickets and hotel rates. It is a matter of correcting the situation as it was earlier. If we have to touch 2 million (mark for tourists visiting Sri Lanka), then we would be satisfied. But if it goes to around 2.5 million then we will be happier,” the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Austin Fernando.
Sumit Law, corporate head, International Distillers Limited, “Sri Lanka was the first Asian nation to have a female ruler in Queen Anjula in 47 BC. So ancient Sri Lanka was primarily a commercially oriented trading nation and not an agriculture one. The country has always had unique food and beverages that has attracted many people and the tradition is still intact. We are happy to collaborate with Aska Beverages Pvt Ltd to promote the unique beverages of Sri Lanka.”
The locally favorite beverages are now the centre of attention as Sri Lanka is trying to take them global. Rajbir Singh, managing director, Aska Beverages Pvt Ltd, said, “We realized the quality of Sri Lanka beverages and decided that India is a good place to launch it. Our Indian culture is very receptive and for centuries we have accepted the best from all around the world. I thank the Sri Lankan government to give their support towards our efforts.”
The envoy stressed the bilateral trade deficit between Sri Lanka and India. “This is a very important event for us because we are having a negative trade balance. Anything which can bring more foreign exchange to the country is fine. This is one item which is sold in Sri Lanka and we want to get into the international market,” he said.
Other dignitaries present on the occasion were Mr. Madan Lal, Former Indian Cricketer, Mr. Gerard Mendis, Olympic Gold Medalist in Culinary, Mr. Austin Fernando, High Commissioner, Sri Lanka, Ms. Upekkha Samarantunga, Minister Councilor, Sri Lanka, Antonio Parlapiano, No, 1 Mixologist in Europe, and Atul Singh former Chairman Coca Cola (India and Pacific) now investing in pubs and fine dining restaurants. Diplomats were also present from Brazil, Peru, Czech Republic, and Romania.