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Diethelm Travels joins Germany's FTI Group to launch cruises to Sri Lanka.

Sweden, May 4 -- Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka and the FTI Group, one of Germany's leading tour operators today announced the operation of cruises between Dubai and Colombo calling at Muscat, Mumbai, Goa and Kochi next winter.

The FTI BERLIN will thus becomes the first-ever cruise liner of its kind to sail to the Port of Colombo on a regular basis with its 4000 up-market Austrian, German and Swiss clientele over a period of four months.

Abbas Esufally, Chairman of Diethelm Travel SL, a subsidiary of Hemas Holdings PLC under whose purview Diethelm said that this cruise is unique, especially for Sri Lanka's buoyant and rapidly growing tourism industry. "This is an exceptional project which will bring in high spending tourists to Sri Lanka. Given the profile of the mainly high-end clientele, a project of this magnitude is a vital shot in the arm for our tourist industry . from the simple batik sellers, mask makers and other simple artisans to Colombo's restaurants and high-end hotels across the country.

The dividends, in the long term, augur well for the local tourist industry. Not only will it boost the industry, but will also act as a viable spring board to showcase Sri Lanka as a multi-faceted and internationally attractive destination".

FTI BERLIN, the 206 cabin flagship cruise liner of the FTI Group will call at and depart Colombo ten times between December 2012 and March 2013. It will cruise from Dubai / Colombo / Dubai (embarkation and disembarkation in Dubai and Colombo) with stops in Muscat and the Indian ports of Mumbai, Goa and Kochi.

The FTI BERLIN will arrive in Colombo for the first time on 05 December 2012. The approximately 400 passengers on each cruise will disembark in Colombo, while another 400 guests will start their cruise back to Dubai on the same route. All passengers disembarking or starting their cruise in Sri Lanka have the option of spending additional holidays in Sri Lanka - on the beaches or on round trips.

Says FTI's Group CEO Dietmar Gunz, "Colombo is a great port of destination and departure for the FTI BERLIN in the upcoming winter season. We are assured to be successful with this innovative cruise routing between Dubai and Sri Lanka. It will support the touristic development in Sri Lanka a lot - as past experience has shown that successful ideas will attract more business".

Esufally added that given the anticipated success of this venture, FTI Touristik is also exploring the possibility of including the ports of Trincomalee and Hambantota at a future date, thereby giving the project a greater dimension and taking it to a different level. "Past experience has shown that when a project of this nature is successful, other cruise operators follow suit, with the strong possibility of a 'snowball effect' in the cruise liner business opening Sri Lanka for rapid growth in the cruise market", he said.

The FTI BERLIN with 206 cabins was built in 1980. Between 1986 and 1998 it played the leading part in the popular German TV-series "Das Traumschiff" ("The Ship of Dreams"). The vessel accommodates approximately 400 passengers and provides two restaurants, a bar, a lounge and a beer garden. One outdoor pool, one indoor pool and a spa are available to the passengers as well as a fitness centre, sauna, solarium and massages.

FTI Group is one of the largest tour operators in Germany while Diethelm Travels is a subsidiary of the Hemas Group, Sri Lanka.

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Publication:Asian Tribune (India)
Geographic Code:9SRIL
Date:May 4, 2012
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