On 26 November 2010, Aitken Spence Hotels conducted a grand finale to award prizes and certificates to the overall winners of the Aitken Spence Hotels art competition.
The prize giving was held as the final event of the art competition commenced by Aitken Spence Hotels to commemorate ‘World Tourism Day,’ which was held on 27 September 2010.
The participants of the art competition were from the schools situated within close proximity to the Aitken Spence Hotels. The winners of the competition along with their parents and teachers were in attendance at the ceremony held at the Aitken Spence Head Office.
The objective of the competition was to raise awareness in regards to the close relationship that tourism shares with biodiversity and conservation. The Art Competition which was held in several stages not only coincided with the ‘World Tourism Day’ but also with ‘Universal Children’s Day,’ which was on 20 November 2010.
Through this initiative one hopes that the moral guidelines for the responsible promotion of tourism will bond with the youngsters as they set foot on the path to taking our country forward.
The art competition was organised for the school children in two age categories, above 12 and below 12 years of age. All of the schools located near the Aitken Spence Hotels were heavily involved as participation was encouraged by General Managers and the staff of Heritance Kandalama, Heritance Tea Factory, Heritance Ahungalla, Earl’s Regency, Bandarawela Hotel, Hotel Hill Top and Ramada Resort.
The hotels conducted local competitions, with over 700 youngsters participating. Bandarawela Hotel submitted the largest number of entries.
The honour of judging the competition was bestowed upon Sybil Wettasinghe, who in her own right is a renowned artist and has illustrated several books for children. Wettasinghe applauded the creativity of the paintings on display and the exceptional talents of the youngsters as well as their ability to connect with the theme of tourism.
Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Hotels, stated: “It was a very pleasant experience to meet the little children who emerged as the overall winners of the art competition and it is heartening to see their impressions of tourism’s positive contribution to bio diversity. The tourism industry can play a major role in raising awareness and promoting positive behaviour by tourists and the locals towards biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity is a key asset for tourism and most developing countries and in the case of Sri Lanka it plays a vital role.”
The winning paintings and their respective school children were awarded certificates and cash prizes. First place was awarded to 11-year-old A.G. Sandeepani Tathsarani, a Year 6 student of Kalutara Balika National School and the second and third places were awarded to H.M.D. Himali Jayaratne, a Year 7 student from Mahawatte Maha Vidyalaya, Kundasale and M. Himasha Sandeepani Mendis, a Year 10 student from Tissa Central College, Mahawaskaduwa.
The children received exciting cash prizes all in the aid of their future development. Twelve year old Sandeepani who won the first place from Kalutara said that she would be opening a savings account with her prize money of Rs. 25,000.
In addition to recognising the individual accomplishments with prizes and certificates to overall winners, at each Aitken Spence Hotel, six finalists were selected with awarding of certificates and prizes and the respective schools of the winners were also awarded with funds towards the supply of school equipment.
It is through the combination of sustainability and enhancement of tourism that Sri Lanka will move forward. It is hoped that the memories of this day will be imprinted in our youngsters mind, and they too will embrace the idea of biodiversity, and be a part of the evolution of our country as it moves into fifth gear in promoting tourism.
Aitken Spence Hotels is a rapidly growing regional player with a portfolio of hotels under the brands of ‘Heritance Hotels & Resorts’, ‘Aitken Spence Hotels & Resorts’ and ‘Adaaran Resorts’ in Sri Lanka , India, Maldives and Oman.