By Cheranka Mendis
Celebrating the season of good cheer and festivities, Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake will launch the BIA Christmas Shopping Festival on 1 December, following the highly successful Christmas festival last year.
|From left: AASL Assistant Airport Manager Sena Nandiweera, Actg. Head of Marketing Kaushali Munasinghe, Autogrill Lanka Director Nanda Nair, AASL Chairman Prasanna Wickramasuriya, Autogrill CEO Dimantha Kinigama, Siedles Ltd Managing Director Nimesh Udeshi, AASL Head of Commercial & Properties Geeth Karunaratne, AMW Automotive Director Shivantha De Zoysa, AASL Vice Chairman Kamal Ratwatte, R.S. Leisure Ltd Director Sujan Kapilasena. Pic by Upul Abayasekara.
Held for the second time, the festival will offer monetary and material rewards for passengers passing through the arrival and departure lounges at the airport. The ‘mega Shopping Festival,’ as Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) Chairman Prasanna Wickramasuriya puts it, aims at building the image of Sri Lanka as a shopping destination on top of being a highly popular tourist destination.
Wickramasuriya said: “For any airport in the world, this is an important season. We believe the festival we have organised which is in line with the season’s festivities will enliven the airport and benefit the passengers.”
The festival activities will carried out in all 90 shopping outlets at BIA and will run until end January.
As part of the festival, a passenger making a purchase of US$ 10 or more at any of the shopping outlets at the Arrival Duty Free and Departure/Transit shops will be eligible to take part in the raffle draw organised by the AASL. The grand prize of the raffle draw will be a Zen Estilo motor car sponsored by Associated Motorways, while four others will be rewarded cash prizes of Rs. 500,000, Rs. 250,000, Rs. 150,000 and Rs. 100,000.
Additionally if the sales transaction is made with the use of a MasterCard and Maestro Card or if the purchases exceed US$ 50 at any of the shops, the passengers are entitled to a turn at the ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ which will enable them to win various merchandises on a daily basis.
Addressing the media, Wickramasuriya stated that the festival was a landmark event for BIA and that it would be continued as an annual event from now on. He added that come December 2012, the festival will also open at the Hambantota International Airport along with its launch and opening.
“Based on the great response we received last year, the AASL has decided to hold the Shopping Festival again this year. We are enthusiastic about the event as we anticipate commuters who travel via BIA to maximise on the opportunity to engage in Christmas shopping and walk away with valuable prizes.”
“The underlying objective is to promote Sri Lanka as a shopping destination. We are confident that this event will add colour to BIA and HIA as well from next year,” Wickramasuriya said.
Siedles Managing Director Nimesh Udeshi also speaking at the event stated that the airport, which acts as the face of the country, where first impressions are formed, must look its best. “The Government is trying to bring in foreign investors and attract more tourists. Where better to start than at the airport? We as the private sector must give our time and experience in helping this cause,” Udeshi noted. He added that next year’s festival would be much bigger than 2011 and 2010.