Category Archives: News

Let The Games Begin! APH.com Paris 2024 Olympic Guide Highlights Where Events Will Take Place in France (and Tahiti)

July 2024 – With the Euros now over, all eyes will be looking to the French Capital for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games starting in a few weeks’ time. However, did you know many of the sporting events will take place outside of Paris and some even as far as Tahiti in the South Pacific? Luckily, award-winning airport parking company APH.com has released a handy guide showing where all the events will take place across France and beyond, and the quickest route to fly from the UK.

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Dive Into a Beach Summer Holiday in
Central America and the Dominican Republic

  • From surfing and kitesurfing to diving and snorkelling in crystal-clear waters.
  • Explore coral reefs, nature reserves and the rich biodiversity of each country.
  • Immerse in the vibrant cultures of local communities, uncover ancient archaeological sites, and embark on adventures in Central America and the Dominican Republic.

July 2024 – With guaranteed sunshine, stunning beaches, spectacular landscapes and an amazing array of wildlife, Central America and the Dominican Republic make the perfect destination for a summer holiday.

From swimming among sea turtles and diving in the famous 123-metre-deep Blue Hole in Belize to exploring some of the best surf spots in the world in El Salvador and discovering the tropical islands of San Blas in Panama, there’s something for everyone.

Explore the Rich Marine Biodiversity of Belize

Caye Caulker is a charming island 33 kilometres off the coast of Belize. With a length of 8 kilometres and a maximum width of one and a half kilometres, travelling by golf cart is essential due to the absence of roads, only sandy paths. Visitors especially appreciate the leisurely pace of life and relaxed atmosphere, as well as exploring the nearby seabed, home to the world’s second-largest coral reef and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, tourists can swim alongside rays and sea turtles and observe moray eels, barracuda, and multicoloured fish.

The famous Blue Hole is a must-visit for any diving enthusiast, an awe-inspiring 123-metre-deep underwater sinkhole. This natural wonder, described by legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 dive sites on the planet, is a symbol of Belize’s rich marine biodiversity.

Beaches with Volcanic Views on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala

Playa Las Cristalinas in Guatemala is located on the shores of Lake Atitlan, between the towns of San Pablo La Laguna and San Juan La Laguna. This fine white gravel beach offers views of the crystal-clear waters of the lake and a unique panorama of the three volcanoes surrounding the lake: Atitlán, San Pedro and Tolimán.

Guatemala also boasts fabulous beaches on the Pacific coast, such as Monterrico, near a nature reserve home to lush mangroves, a refuge for migratory birds and the birthplace of the paslama sea turtle species. There is also El Paredon Beach, considered one of the best surfing spots in Central America.

Surf’s Up in El Salvador

El Salvador, a haven for surfers, is renowned for its thrilling waves that draw enthusiasts from around the globe. It’s a place where international championships, like the ISA World Longboard Championship (WLC), are held annually. The Pacific coast of El Salvador, known as the Balsam Coast, is home to the best surfing beaches, stretching from La Libertad to Sihuapilapa.

The best-known beach is El Tunco, is the main beach tourist destination in El Salvador, with a lively and youthful atmosphere and El Sunzal has the highest and longest waves, ideal for longboarding. El Cuco, on the other hand, is home to Flores Beach, known as Oriente Salvaje, an almost hidden beach popular with surfers for its perfect waves and spectacular sunsets.

Island Castaway on Cayos Cochinos in Honduras

Cayos Cochinos, located in Honduras, is an archipelago declared a Protected Biological Reserve, boasting 13 small atolls and two larger islands, Cayo Mayor and Cayo Menor. Easily accessible by boat from La Ceiba, Cayos Cochinos is a rare, unspoiled gem in the Caribbean, teeming with diverse animal and plant species and home to an exquisite coral reef.

A visit to Cayos Cochinos offers the opportunity to marvel at the natural wonders of these islands and to immerse yourself in the rich culture of the Garifuna, the local people of Honduras. Additionally, Honduras is an ideal destination for birdwatching, rafting, and exploring the Copán Archaeological Park.

Enjoy Beach Adventures on the Cayos Perlas in Nicaragua

The Cayos Perlas in Nicaragua offer the perfect Caribbean getaway with stunning turquoise seas and pristine white sandy beaches dotted with majestic coconut palms. These dozen islands are just a 35-kilometer boat ride from Pearl Lagoon on Nicaragua’s east coast. Whether you are exploring the larger islands with their lush palm groves and lagoons or the smaller ones like Cayo Granate, the Cayos Perlas are a haven for undisturbed turtle nesting sites, all of which are carefully protected by the local administration.

For adventure seekers, these islands are a paradise for snorkelling and scuba diving. Immerse yourself in the local culture by staying overnight in the homes of the friendly locals, descendants of the Miskitos, who hold a deep affection for their islands.

Discover the Tropical Islands of San Blas in Panama

With pristine coastlines and easily accessible islands, Panama offers an ideal destination for surfing, kitesurfing, diving, fishing, and beach relaxation. The San Blas archipelago, consisting of hundreds of tropical islands, is predominantly inhabited by the proud Guna people, the first indigenous group in Central America to gain governmental autonomy and form the Guna Yala comarca.

These islands boast white sandy beaches and turquoise waters with vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Unlike typical resorts, the accommodation here is simple and directly managed by the Guna, providing a unique cultural experience and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the traditions of this indigenous group.

Relax in the Natural Luxury of the Dominican Republic

The unspoiled Bahía de las Águilas in the Dominican Republic beach, located in the Jaragua National Park, is celebrated for its beauty and ecological significance. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, it offers unparalleled opportunities for diving and marine life observation.

The surrounding protected national park preserves local biodiversity, including diverse bird and turtle species. Explore the rich marine life thriving in the bay’s mangroves and coral reefs or relax in the natural luxury of Bahía de las Águilas.

Central America and the Dominican Republic are unrivalled destinations for enjoying water activities, exploring natural wonders and immersing in unique local cultures. From the perfect waves of El Salvador and the pristine islands of Honduras to the paradisiacal cays of Nicaragua and the dreamy beaches of Panama and Guatemala, each country offers an unforgettable experience.

For more on Central America, visit https://www.visitcentroamerica.com/en/.

 ENDS

Image Captions

Media Contact
Sarah Salord / Fiona Anderson
CATA / GEC PR
Email [email protected] or T. 44 (0) 20 3907 6824

The Indian Ocean Resorts Putting the Aaah into Spa Breaks

04 July 2024 – When it comes to spa breaks, the Indian Ocean is undoubtedly a top world destination. Yet with so many resorts to choose from it can be difficult to choose the best spa that will be memorable for all the right reasons. Here are four stand-out Indian Ocean spa options that promise to thrill spa and wellness travellers:

Best Spa Break For The Whole Family To Enjoy: Heritance Aarah
The IASO Medi Spa at Premium All-Inclusive Resort Heritance Aarah designs bespoke experiences for guests using traditional therapies and state-of-the-art western technologies. A jewel in the crown of this resort I the Maldives’ Raa Atoll, the wide array of spa treatment aims to help guests achieve a state of complete wellness – and there is something for every member of the family. Choose the Arrival Package to reveal a holiday glow – combining a body scrub, IV Fluid & B12 infusion, and lower limb drainage massage (from $340 USD), try an Ultimate Man Facial ($160) designed specifically for male skin, enjoy a 90 minute couples massage for precious quality time together (from $280), or treat the children to a Kids Spa Experience, where children can enjoy age-appropriate massage, facial, nail painting or hair braiding (from $130).

To discover more or book, visit: https://www.heritancehotels.com/aarah/

Best Spa Break For Idyllic Tropical Views: Heritance Kandalama
Sri Lanka resort Heritance Kandalama’s divine Coco Spa is located on the sixth floor of the hotel, which gives spa guests one of the most unique spa vistas in the Indian Ocean. Each treatment room offers expansive views of the national park forest, lakes, and mountains, creating a uniquely tranquil spa environment. Enjoy the sight of playful monkeys and the serene sounds of nature as you relax.

Begin your spa journey with a delicious, iced lemon tea and let go in pure harmony and silence, undisturbed by the outside world. Soothing therapies include ancient Ayurvedic traditions and Balinese and Swedish aromatherapy massages. Treatments start from $30 USD.

For more information about Heritance Kandalama, visit www.heritancehotels.com/kandalama/

Best Spa Break For Total Body Indulgence: Adaaran Select Meedhupparu
Nestled on a mature island adorned with ancient trees and its own house reef, Adaaran Select Meedhupparu invites spa lovers to embark on an unforgettable journey of relaxation in the heart of the Maldives. The Ultimate Indulgence spa treatment offers head-to-toe pampering, and includes an aromatherapy foot bath, traditional body scrub, and ELEMIS facial. The treatment lasts 2.5 hours and costs $369 USD.

For more information about Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, visit

https://www.adaaran.com/selectmeedhupparu/

Best Spa Break For Rejuvenating Treatments: Heritance Negombo
For an authentic Sri Lankan spa experience, head to Sentido Heritance Negombo. Enjoy a traditional Sri Lankan herbal therapy using a warm herbal compress, which is a mix of local herbs. The treatment aims to increase energy flow. Relax muscles and improve circulation and flexibility. Choose from 60-90 minute treatments, from $60 USD.

For more information about Sentido Heritance Negombo, visit www.heritancehotels.com/negombo.

ENDS

Notes To Editors:

Image Captions:
Image 1: The IASO Medi Spa at Premium All-Inclusive Resort Heritance Aarah
Image 2: Sri Lanka resort Heritance Kandalama’s divine Coco Spa is located on the sixth floor of the hotel, which gives spa guests one of the most unique spa vistas in the Indian Ocean.
Image 3: For an authentic Sri Lankan spa experience, head to Sentido Heritance Negombo.

For high resolution images, click here.

About Aitken Spence Hotels
Aitken Spence Hotels is part of the Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC. Aitken Spence Hotels owns and operates 17 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India. The Company’s owned hotels are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands, popular around the world for its exceptional service and undisputed product and curated lifestyle experiences. The Company’s Sri Lankan portfolio includes eight hotels and resorts spread across the island of which five are Heritance properties, whilst the Maldives resorts totals to five (with one Heritance resort), three in Oman and one in India.

Media Enquiries: Fiona Anderson, GEC PR | [email protected]

EXPEDITION MICRO CRUISE SPECIALISTS SECRET ATLAS
APPOINTS TRAVEL AND LIFESTYLE AGENCY GEC PR

June 2024 – Secret Atlas, pioneers of the Expedition Micro Cruise, has appointed travel and lifestyle firm GEC PR to drive awareness of its immersive travel experiences in the Polar regions and the benefits of low-impact travel with small ships and group sizes.

Owned by avid high latitude sailor Michele D’Agostino and seasoned Polar Explorer Mariano Curiel, Secret Atlas and its Expedition Micro Cruises were created to fill the gap in an industry which lacked alternatives to the usual 100-250 ship capacity by offering authentic experiences for small groups to remote and captivating destinations in the Polar regions. Offering expeditions to destinations including Svalbard, Greenland, Antarctica and South Georgia, Secret Atlas stands out thanks to its authentic wildlife experiences led by world-class expedition leaders providing flexible itineraries able to make the most of weather and wildlife opportunities.

GEC PR will handle all PR and marketing for Secret Atlas, working alongside the in-house team to raise awareness through press trips, media relations, integrated marketing campaigns and brand partnerships.

Michele D’Agostino, Secret Atlas Co-Founder and Head of Sales and Partnerships said, “We’re looking forward to working with the GEC PR team and were hugely impressed with their experience in the travel and lifestyle sectors. It’s an exciting time for Secret Atlas, with plans to roll out a new brand campaign in the upcoming months and showcase why joining an Expedition Micro Cruise is the best way to explore the polar regions in a private and authentic way, leaving only footprints behind.”

Sarah Salord, Company Director at GEC PR said, “We’re delighted to represent Secret Atlas, which is such a pioneering and authentic brand. Our experience and passion working for outdoor and adventure brands is paramount and we cannot wait to raise awareness amongst media and target audiences that will love the unrivalled, authentic experiences they provide to guests.”

For editorial features and press trip opportunities, contact Sarah Salord on [email protected].

Discover more about Secret Atlas at www.secretatlas.com.
For further details on GEC PR visit www.gecpr.co.uk.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Media Captions

  • Image 1 – Secret Atlas offers expeditions to top wildlife watching destinations such as Svalbard in the Arctic.
  • Image 2 – The newest addition to the Secret Atlas fleet, MV Vikingfjord is a modern expedition vessel offering cruise ship comfort with all ensuite cabins, large viewing lounge and an on deck hot tub and sauna.
  • Image 3 – Secret Atlas Expedition Micro Cruises take the smallest group sizes in the Arctic and Antarctic.

High-res images can be downloaded from https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/yk92cbty9ta1gr94vhg3f/AFDpor0ltGeqWK8Uk759kZs?rlkey=dyxw7zwml03mxjfpr9mua40gp&st=lgfxfmk3&dl=0.

About Secret Atlas
Launched in 2019 and run by Explorers for Explorers, Secret Atlas trips are curated for people that want to enjoy the spirit of exploration and be a part of an intimate experience rather than joining an overcrowded commercial cruise. Secret Atlas pioneering Expedition Micro Cruises take the smallest group sizes in the Arctic (only 12 guests) and Antarctic (only 48 guests) offering guests an authentic, unrivalled experience free from the crowds of larger vessels. To find out more about Secret Atlas, visit www.secretatlas.com.

About GEC PR
GEC PR is an integrated PR and marketing agency, bringing together a passionate team of PRs to create bespoke campaigns for every client we work with. Established by Fiona Anderson and Sarah Salord, GEC PR’s industry expertise spans across lifestyle, travel, corporate, luxury and wellbeing spheres and our collective team cover decades of experience in PR and marketing. Drawing on the team’s decades of experience working for some of the world’s leading and most prestigious travel, lifestyle and business brands, GEC PR provide the marketing and public relations base that clients need, and are dedicated to seeking out fresh ideas, innovative methods and bespoke opportunities to promote their clients. To find out more about GEC PR, visit www.gecpr.co.uk.

Contact Details
For media enquiries, images and press trips contact:
Sarah Salord
GEC PR
020 3907 6824
[email protected]

Media release
13 June 2024

For further information, to visit the Hub or to arrange interviews there, please email [email protected]

The West London Retail Skills Hub launched at Westfield White City on Thursday 6 June, and will be a truly pioneering way to address the retail skills shortage and grow the wider business talent pool in West London. The first of its kind, the Hub is a beacon of hope for the rest of the UK, too.

The West London Retail Skills Hub is a new resource developed by Westfield, the charity Spark! and West London College – supported by Ethos Farm, Inspire ATA and West London Business.

The Hub will support people of all ages to start or grow their career in retail and was inspired by one of the key recommendations arising from the West London Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), which aims to improve skills and opportunities right across West London. It is funded through a blend of investment from the public and private sectors.

Located in the heart of Westfield London, White City, with an entrance next door to John Lewis & Partners, the Hub will develop over the next year to provide world-class retail training – including employment support and specialist retail programmes – for the local community.

Jobseekers looking for careers in retail can email [email protected] to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

Speaking about the launch, Katie Wyle, Head of Shopping Centre Management, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, said: “We are thrilled about the opening of the new Retail Skills Hub at Westfield London, which represents a significant step forward in redefining retail as a dynamic and rewarding career path. Our goal is to not only support our retail tenants by providing well-trained staff but also to inspire job seekers and employees with the diverse opportunities the retail sector offers. Through targeted outreach, recruitment support, and comprehensive training programs, we aim to showcase retail as a viable and exciting career choice.”

Karen Redhead OBE, CEO & Principal, West London College, added: “West London College is proud to be a key partner in the West London Retail Skills Hub. This exciting initiative opens up invaluable opportunities for communities across the seven boroughs of the region to gain essential skills and experience for a thriving career in retail. By collaborating with local businesses from Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow, the Hub empowers us to further inspire and drive economic success in the region through high-quality education and skills development.”

Matt Lent, CEO of Spark! shared: “Spark! is delighted to be a partner in the new Retail Skills Hub, based in the heart of the largest shopping centre in Europe, Westfield London. This resource is a game changer for retailers and young people alike, connecting employers with their future talent and creating the employability skills and pathways into rewarding careers for young people.”

For further information, visit www.retailskillshub.london

ENDS

For further information, to visit the Hub or to arrange interviews there, please email [email protected]

Notes to editors:
Photo 1: L-R: Matt Lent, Spark!, Katie Wyle, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, and Matt Fawcett, West London College, at the launch of the West London Retail Skills Hub.
Photo 2: The West London Retail Skills Hub launched on Thursday 6 June and will support people of all ages to start or grow their career in retail.

Images courtesy of West London Retail Skills Hub.

For a high resolution versions of the images, please click here.

About West London Business:
West London Corporate Leaders’ Action Group (CLAG) operates under the umbrella of West London Business, chaired by Shanker Patel.

West London Business (WLB) ensures West London is a successful, inclusive, environment for responsible business. West London is the UK’s global gateway; a £73billion+ GVA economy underpinned by 120,000+ businesses. We are a business-led leadership forum, with members including Heathrow and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as key regional firms such as Fuller, Smith & Turner and Bigham’s. WLB has 15,000+ supporters and convenes 30+ events per annum, including the West London Business Awards.

Our members work together through WLB to raise West London’s global economic competitiveness and catalyse action for people and planet. Through our work we inform and influence the work of local, regional, and national government policymakers and promote inward investment.

To find out more, visit www.westlondon.com.

Media contact:
Fiona Anderson,
GEC PR, 07931 382773
[email protected]

June 2024 – As electric and hybrid car sales hit a new global record in 2024*­­, the need for increased electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure has become paramount. Whatever your reason to be driving in the Gatwick area, convenient access to charging stations is a top priority and it appears UK airports are stepping up to meet this demand with Gatwick Airport opening a new Gridserve Electric Forecourt in January.

To help drivers plan ahead and travel with peace of mind, award-winning airport parking specialist Airport Parking and Hotels (APH.com) has released a guide comparing the EV charging ports at Gatwick Airport and surrounding area.

Available at www.aph.com/evcharging, the guide features 20 different charging stations and their facilities including distance from Gatwick Airport, range of devices, charging power, valet availability, number of connectors, and costs.

For those crunched for time, the newly opened Gridserve Electric Forecourt at Gatwick Airport offers 32 connectors with power options ranging from 22kW to an impressive 350kW, priced at 79p/kWh. With the ability to accommodate various types of connectors including CCS Combo, it ensures rapid charging and minimal waiting times, making it a top choice for travellers in a hurry.

Looking for low-cost EV charging options? The guide highlights several affordable charge points including Gatwick South Terminal Orange Car Park, featuring 4 connectors, 22kW power, and accessible via the Pod Point app, providing the most cost-effective on-airport charging at 25p/kWh. Whereas the Holiday Inn London Gatwick, located 1.5 miles from the airport, provides a mix of fast and rapid chargers with power up to 50kW, accessible through the BP Pulse app.

Tesla owners, although capable of using any of the 20 charging stations in the area, should take advantage of the London Gatwick Supercharger, conveniently located on airport premises. This Supercharger offers high-speed charging with power up to 250kW, priced at 37p to 47p/kWh depending on the time of day.

The guide also covers off-airport options such as Tesco Extra Gatwick, which provides affordable charging at 44p/kWh – 49p/kWh and up to 69p/kWh for rapid charging.

Or for travellers looking to return from holiday to a fully charged car, the most convenient option is pre-booking airport parking with a reputable service provider such as APH. In addition to offering EV charging, APH provides safe and secure valet parking to ensure a hassle-free experience.

Finally, for EV owners looking for no-cost options, Motorline Gatwick Hyundai Dealership offers free charging at its premises, though drivers must report to reception upon arrival.

Nick Caunter, Managing Director of Airport Parking and Hotels (APH.com), said, “We hope the APH guide provides a one-stop solution so drivers can plan ahead and find reliable EV charging when on the go, making their journey to and from Gatwick airport as easy and stress-free as possible.”

For further information on Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) visit www.aph.com or call 01342 859515.

ENDS

Notes to Editors
* Electric and hybrid car sales to rise to new global record in 2024 published in The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/apr/23/electric-and-hybrid-car-sales-to-rise-to-new-global-record-in-2024#:~:text=The%20Paris%2Dbased%20forecaster%20said,by%202030%20as%20prices%20drop, 2024.

Images

About Airport Parking and Hotels (APH)
Established in 1980, Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) is an award-winning airport parking operator and retailer, winning the ‘Best Airport Parking Company’ award at the British Travel Awards 2023 for the thirteenth year running. In addition to APH’s own car parks serving Gatwick and Manchester Airports, APH also offers parking at all major UK airports as well as airport hotels, airport lounges and via trusted partners other extras such as car hire and travel insurance. APH has worked closely with the World Land Trust since 2005 to help support rainforest conservation by protecting threatened forest habitats.

Media Enquiries
GEC PR
Sarah Salord, Company Director
[email protected]
020 3907 6824

04 June 2024 When it comes to Wedding and Honeymoons, Sri Lanka is a standout destination in the Indian Ocean thanks to its wide appeal for all sizes of wedding parties, and the exceptional value the Indian Ocean island offers British travellers. 

Getting Married in Sri Lanka: Key Information

  • Sri Lankan law requires foreigners to spend at least four days (three nights) in Sri Lanka prior to notifying a marriage registrar of intended marriage.
    A marriage abroad will be legally recognised in the UK providing it was contracted according to the law of the country in which it took place. There is no requirement, or facility, to register the marriage in England afterwards.
  • The legal requirements for Registration of Marriages of Foreign Nationals in Sri Lanka are very straightforward. You are required to produce the documents including passports, birth certificates and tourist visas to the Divisional/District Registrar of the area where your marriage would take place. When booking your tour operator or the wedding resort can ensure you have all required information before you travel.

Aitken Spence Hotels has unique award-winning resorts across Sri Lanka that can cater to a wedding party’s every need, and with over 25 years curating wedding events, would-be brides and grooms can be reassured that their journey from engaged in the UK to married in Sri Lanka will be handled seamlessly by the resort team.

Best for Sri Lanka Beach Weddings – Heritance Negombo

Located only 20 minutes from the International Airport and ten seconds from the Indian Ocean, Heritance Negombo is ‘the’ destination to celebrate love overlooking the beach.

With the options of the lvo ballroom, banquet garden and beach lawn,  the resort can cater to wedding parties of up to 450 guests. Couples can therefore choose from a monsoon wedding on the beach lawn for 20 nearest and dearest, to a banquet for 300-plus friends and family.

Special Wedding Touches: Exquisite wedding cakes by six-time culinary Olympic Champion Chef Dimuthu Kumorosinghe are available upon request. For wedding parties that would like a touch of Sri Lankan tradition there is an opportunity to incorporate the lighting of an oil lamp as part of a Sinhala blessing within the wedding, and have Sri Lankan dancers and drummers as part of the wedding service.

For more information about Sentido Heritance Negombo, visit www.heritancehotels.com/negombo.

Best for Nature Lovers – Heritance Kandalama

Envisioned and created by Deshamanya Geoffrey Bawa, Heritance Kandalama is located in the area known as Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, and is an architectural wonder set amidst a lush conservation forest spanning 224 acres, almost invisible amidst the greenery that surrounds it. Promising panoramic views from wherever you stand, the hotel itself is a unique Sri Lankan tourist destination which doesn’t just sit on the landscape but is naturally a part of it, making it the ideal destination for an enchanting fairytale wedding.

Three sites within the hotel can cater to weddings for 150 – 260 attendee weddings.

Special Wedding Touches: A package of custom wedding cake, Champagne and/ or Sparkling Cider toast, and a four-hour beer or wine bar, is available on request. Weddings menus start from USD 50 net per person.

For more information about Heritance Kandalama, visit www.heritancehotels.com/kandalama/

Best for A Stunning Architectural Backdrop – Heritance Ahungalla

The first-five star beach resort in Sri Lanka, Heritance Ahungalla, was designed by legendary architect Geoffrey Bawa, and is known for its vivid blues reflecting the Indian Ocean, which forms an elegant backdrop that is perfect for the exchange of vows. The inherent amalgamation of comfort and spirit of hospitality that is second to none makes Heritance Ahungalla uniquely suited for wedding celebrations that marry simplicity and charm.

From designing an elegant ceremony under a beautifully decorated altar on the beach where guests can enjoy the breathtaking sunset, to a waterfront wedding in the verdant lawn with a stylish and contemporary setting – the versatile event spaces make the ideal canvas to paint your dream wedding.

The hotel takes pride in providing attentive, personalised service and the extra touch of class, as you celebrate your most important milestone.

Special Wedding Touches: Couples can pick their choice from carefully crafted local and global menu offerings to suit their palate. Resort chefs create the finest cuisine that can cater to various culinary tastes coupled with impeccable service, to offer guests an unforgettable dining experience. Make the most of our eclectic cuisine and unwind after the ceremony with a romantic candle-lit dinner by the shore under the starlit sky.

For more information about Heritance Ahungalla, visit www.heritancehotels.com/ahungalla/

ENDS

For further information, trade partner rates, or press trip requests, contact [email protected]

Notes To Editors:
Image Captions:
Image 1: Heritance Negombo is ‘the’ destination to celebrate love overlooking the beach.
Image 2: The View from the Royal Suite at Heritance Kandalama.
Image 3: Best for A Stunning Architectural Backdrop, Heritance Ahungalla.

For these and other high-resolution resort images, click here.

About Aitken Spence Hotels
Aitken Spence Hotels is part of the Sri Lankan blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC. Aitken Spence Hotels owns and operates 17 hotels and resorts across Sri Lanka, Maldives, Oman and India. The Company’s owned hotels are reflected under the Heritance, Adaaran and Turyaa brands, popular around the world for its exceptional service and undisputed product and curated lifestyle experiences. The Company’s Sri Lankan portfolio includes eight hotels and resorts spread across the island of which five are Heritance properties, whilst the Maldives resorts totals to five (with one Heritance resort), three in Oman and one in India.

Media Enquiries: Fiona Anderson, GEC PR | [email protected]

  • The cultivation and production of excellent coffee, combined with environmentally friendly agricultural practices, are essential to the economy and local communities of Central America and the Dominican Republic.
  • These practices, increasingly adopted by coffee producers in Central America and the Dominican Republic, are capturing the interest of travellers eager to discover how it’s produced and support sustainable and rural tourism.

May 2024 – Central America is infamous for its major coffee producers, with each region offering unique and immersive Coffee Trails showcasing the production process as well as the local history and deep connection between the communities and environment.

Each coffee route offers a unique experience, from the rich history and vibrant coffee economy of Guatemala to the sustainability and biodiversity of Belize. Honduras is the coffee powerhouse of Central America, Nicaragua for its exceptional organic coffees, and Panama for its unique Geisha variety. In El Salvador, the coffee tradition dates to the 15th century and the Dominican Republic merges tradition with sustainable tourism on its coffee trails.

Guatemala: A Journey through the Country’s Coffee Heritage
Coffee is not just a beverage in Guatemala, it is a way of life. It’s vital to the economy and local communities, creating more than 500,000 annual jobs, and contributing between 3% and 3.5% to the national GDP, standing out as the main agro-industrial export product of Guatemala.

Coffee Trails in Guatemala
The Coffee Trails of Guatemala reveal the diversity and richness of Guatemalan coffee, in addition to its traditions and culture. The main coffee producing regions include Acatenango, Antigua, Atitlán, Cobán, Fraijanes, and Huehuetenango, each offering unique characteristics in their beans due to their specific geographical and climatic conditions. Coffee-related activities in the regions include farm tours to Filadelfia, learning about the cultivation and processing of coffee at La Azotea and interactive experiences on the historical tours with Coffee Tour Chicoj.

Belize: Learn about Coffee Sustainability and Quality
Although not known as a major coffee producer, Belize is emerging on the international scene thanks to the high quality and sustainable production practices. Nestled in the heart of the Mayan jungle, the country offers a coffee route that provides a sensory experience and an education in organic agriculture and biodiversity. Here, coffee grows under the canopy of extensive rainforests, facilitating slow growth and natural maturation that enriches its aromatic profile. Moreover, the rich biodiversity of Belize contributes to the fertility of the soil, directly reflecting in the superior quality of the coffee.

Coffee Trails in Belize
Gallon Jug Estate is a shining example of sustainable production. Here, the Arabica variety is grown in the natural shade of the rainforest, allowing a slower maturation process and a more intense aroma. This method not only enhances the quality of the coffee but also preserves the ecosystem, avoiding the use of herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides.

Honduras: Enjoy Coffee Tradition and Flavour in Every Cup
Honduras is the leading coffee exporter of Central America, being a vital part of the country’s economy. Between October 2022 and October 2023, Honduras exported 7.1 million quintals of coffee, a significant increase compared to the previous year.

Coffee Trails in Honduras
The coffee routes in Honduras showcase the rich culture and tradition around its cultivation with the most popular areas including Copán, Opalaca, Montecillos, Comayagua, El Paraíso, and Agalta. Each offers a unique vision of the country’s coffee heritage and conditions that influence the characteristics of the coffee, from altitude and climate to soil composition, resulting in a variety of flavours that are among the best in the world. The route also offers horseback riding and nature walks, adding an adventurous dimension to the coffee experience.

El Salvador: A Journey Through Coffee Culture and Biodiversity
The coffee tradition in El Salvador, dating back to the 15th century, continues to be an essential part of its cultural identity and a pillar of its economy resulting in coffee tourism becoming one of the major attractions of El Salvador. The Coffee Trails are committed to sustainable practices and highlight the lush biodiversity of the Salvadoran coffee forest offering a unique opportunity for travellers to immerse in the local culture, learn about the legacy of coffee, and enjoy activities such as hiking and adventure sports in coffee-growing areas.

Coffee Trails in El Salvador
Nestled in the picturesque Los Naranjos, the Entrecafe Experience is an agrotourism adventure allowing visitors to connect with nature and get to know the vibrant culture of Salvadoran coffee up close. Or the Gourmet Coffee Journey in El Salvador with Montecristo Tours offers the opportunity to taste coffee and learn about its process from the Maya Chorti origin in the city of Metapán, Santa Ana.

Nicaragua: A Journey Through the History, Culture, and Nature of Coffee
From the first commercial plantations near Managua to the coffee boom between 1840 and 1940, coffee has profoundly marked the economy and society of Nicaragua. Nicaraguan coffee is famous for its high quality, highlighting the Arabica, Caturra, and Bourbon varieties, cultivated in 95% organic conditions under the shade of native trees. This method not only improves the quality of the coffee but also contributes to the conservation of local biodiversity.

Coffee Trails in Nicaragua
Jinotega, known as the coffee capital of Nicaragua, is the country’s main producer. The farms in this area take advantage of the altitude and ideal climatic conditions to offer coffees with aromatic profiles ranging from citrus to floral. The Matagalpa region is also famous for its coffee culture, complemented by natural reserves and a rich cultural and historical heritage.

Panama: An Adventure in Unique Coffee Flavours
Panamanian coffee, recognised worldwide for its exceptional quality, has experienced unstoppable growth, consolidating itself as one of the best in the world. The coffee industry in Panama began in the 20th century in Boquete and has prospered notably since then, particularly highlighted by the famous Geisha variety, which has captured international attention thanks to its unique flavour profile.

Coffee Trails in Panama
The Coffee Route in Panama unveils the richness and diversity of Panamanian coffee, all under the imposing shadow of the Barú volcano. Visitors can enjoy farm stays, tastings, and learn about coffee production from plant to cup­­. This itinerary offers the chance to sample local blends and the famous Geisha variety in regions such as Tierras Altas, Boquete and Renacimiento which thanks to its volcanic soil rich in minerals, adds a unique flavour.

The Dominican Republic: A Cultural and Ecological Experience
Introduced in 1790 and consolidated as an economic driver by 1840, coffee is deeply ingrained in the social fabric of the Dominican Republic. Currently, the coffee routes allow visitors to discover organic production methods and enjoy one of the most authentic flavours of the country, demonstrating the commitment to sustainable tourism. These routes offer a unique window into rural Dominican life and its sustainable agricultural practices.

Coffee Trails in the Dominican Republic
Located in the hills of Bonao, the Atabey Coffee Route allows visitors to get up close to the cultivation and processing of coffee, immersing themselves in local cultural traditions and the daily lives of families who depend on this crop. In the community of Los Guasaros, nineteen kilometres from Bonao, El Cafetal stands out for its shade plantations and its agroforestry diversification. Visitors can take a 55-minute tour surrounded by coffee plantations and tropical fruits, enjoying the biodiversity and natural richness of the area.

For more on Central America, visit https://www.visitcentroamerica.com/en/.

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Image Captions

Media Contact
Sarah Salord / Fiona Anderson
CATA / GEC PR
Email [email protected] or T. 44 (0) 20 3907 6824

Great News for Job Seekers: The West London Retail Skills Hub Launches on Thursday 6 June

Media release

23 May 2024

West London retailers, charities and educators have united in a bid to get more young people into local jobs with a new concept, the West London Retail Skills Hub, launching at Westfield White City on Thursday 16 June. 

The West London Retail Skills Hub will be a new resource developed by Westfield, the charity Spark! and West London College – supported by Ethos Farm, Inspire ATA and West London Business.

The Hub will support people of all ages to start or grow their career in retail and was inspired by one of the key recommendations arising from the West London Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP). It is funded through a blend of investment from the public and private sectors.

Located in the heart of Westfield London, White City, with an entrance next door to John Lewis & Partners, the Hub will develop over the next year to provide world-class retail training – including employment support and specialist retail programmes – for the local community.

Jobseekers looking for careers in retail can email [email protected] to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

Speaking about the launch, Katie Wyle, Head of Shopping Centre Management, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, said: “We are thrilled to announce the opening of the new Retail Skills Hub at Westfield London, which represents a significant step forward in redefining retail as a dynamic and rewarding career path. Our goal is to not only support our retail tenants by providing well-trained staff but also to inspire job seekers and employees with the diverse opportunities the retail sector offers. Through targeted outreach, recruitment support, and comprehensive training programs, we aim to showcase retail as a viable and exciting career choice.”

Karen Redhead OBE, CEO & Principal, West London College, added: “West London College is proud to be a key partner in the West London Retail Skills Hub. This exciting initiative opens up invaluable opportunities for the local community to gain essential skills and experience for a thriving career in retail. By collaborating with local businesses, the Hub empowers us to further inspire and drive economic success in the region through high-quality education and skills development.”

Matt Lent, CEO of Spark! shared: “Spark! is delighted to be a partner in the new Retail Skills Hub, based in the heart of the largest shopping centre in Europe, Westfield London. This resource is a game changer for retailers and young people alike, connecting employers with their future talent and creating the employability skills and pathways into rewarding careers for young people.”

For further information or to register interest to attend, visit https://westlondon.com/events/1259-west-london-retail-skills-hub-launch/.

ENDS

For further information, to attend or to arrange interviews, please email [email protected]

 

Notes to editors:
Photos 1 and 2 : The West London Retails Skills Hub, launching Thursday 6 June, will support people of all ages to start or grow their career in retail. Images courtesy of West London Retail Skills Hub.

For a high resolution versions of the images, please click here.

About West London Business:
West London Corporate Leaders’ Action Group (CLAG) operates under the umbrella of West London Business, chaired by Shanker Patel.

West London Business (WLB) ensures West London is a successful, inclusive, environment for responsible business. West London is the UK’s global gateway; a £73billion+ GVA economy underpinned by 120,000+ businesses. We are a business-led leadership forum, with members including Heathrow and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as key regional firms such as Fuller, Smith & Turner and Bigham’s. WLB has 15,000+ supporters and convenes 30+ events per annum, including the West London Business Awards.

Our members work together through WLB to raise West London’s global economic competitiveness and catalyse action for people and planet. Through our work we inform and influence the work of local, regional, and national government policymakers and promote inward investment.

To find out more, visit www.westlondon.com.

Media contact:

Fiona Anderson, GEC PR, 07931 382773

[email protected]