Arab News says that “the exquisite craftsmanship of Sri Lanka’s local jewellers means the country is a paradise for lovers of gems and gem-studded jewellery”.

Known as the ‘jewel box of the Indian Ocean’, Sri Lanka is home to many varieties of precious stones and fine gems, more than anywhere else in the world.

The late Princess Diana’s engagement ring, the rubies in the Queen of England’s crown, and the marine blue gem from the ill-fated necklace ‘Heart of the Ocean,’ (pictured) which featured in the blockbuster movie ‘Titanic,’ all came from “this resplendent island”.

Read more here.

Medical and wellness tourism: a big winner for Sri Lanka?

Orbis Research reports that Asia continues to be the top medical tourism destination, and while Sri Lanka is not figure in the survey, it is beginning to catch up (see following story).

Says the report: “Several hospitals in Asia have carved such outstanding reputations for themselves that medical tourism has become a major money-spinner. In countries such as Singapore and Thailand, government agencies have been set up to help market their expertise globally.”

Special medical travel agencies have sprung up around the world, and top Asian hospitals routinely have special ‘international’ desks and services to assist overseas patients with everything from doctors’ appointments to accommodation.

Read the report here.

Lanka Hospitals first for medical tourism

With medical tourism increasing throughout Asia, Ceylon Today reports that “Lanka Hospitals has become Sri Lanka’s first health care provider to achieve international medical tourism certification from the US-based Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA)”.

Lanka Hospitals underwent an evaluation that included in-depth interviews and a formal review of its operations, processes and procedures against international standards of quality in 10 non-clinical areas that directly influence a medical traveller’s wellbeing and outcomes.

Hospitals, clinics and agencies in more than 20 countries are certified by MTQUA. Fortis Hospital India, Gleneagles Hospital Singapore and Bumrungrad Hospital Thailand are some of the best known international hospitals to have achieved the MTQUA certification.

Read more here.

French couple nabbed for damaging train carriage

The Daily Mirror has sharply reminded foreign visitors to Sri Lanka that unacceptable behavior is exactly that—unacceptable.

It reports that a French couple who allegedly sprayed graffiti on a railway carriage causing Rs.64,440 of damage were arrested by police and detained by Galle magistrates.

The court heard that the suspects, Gousset Gaeten and Leal De Sousa, entered the Galle Railway Station without permission and used indelible paint that could not be removed, and that the entire interior of the compartment had to be repainted.

Read more here.

Chinese tourists ‘to rise to 1 million per year’

NewsIn.Asia reports that Chinese tourists visiting Sri Lanka are expected to number 1 million per year in the next 5 to 10 years

China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang, speaking at the Chinese Cultural Fair held in Colombo, said that last year we welcomed 270,000 Chinese tourists.

He said: “Today we encourage more Chinese tourists to come here as this is a friendly country for China. So I am sure within 5 to 10 years, there will be one million tourists who will visit Sri Lanka each year. So our relations will be strengthened greatly.”

Read more here.

Lonely Planet: still thriving after all these years

Eye For Travel highlights how the ubiquitous travellers’ bible Lonely Planet continues to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Pamela Whitby caught up with Lonely Planet’s chief executive, Daniel Houghton.

Houghton joined Lonely Planet in 2013 after BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the corporation, sold the travel guide business to US media firm NC2 at a loss of close to £80 million.

Now Lonely Planet, which operates in 14 languages, is back on track, and the recent the relaunch of its brand website has seen the number of visits and users soar with social referrals up by 30% in 2014-15.

Read more here.

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