Today (17th October) marks the return of the prestigious, signature corporate sports event of SriLankan Airlines ¨Cthe SriLankan Airlines Golf Classic.
The Golf Classic presents three days of exciting golf for international and local players, who stand to bag grand prizes including air tickets to destinations around the world. Winners will be determined through points allocated over two rounds in categories Gents¡¯ and Ladies¡¯ Gross and Nett Stableford Scores; Junior Division; Nearest to the pin; Longest Drive; Hole in One and Overall Winner of the Tournament.
The tournament will start at the Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC) with a practice session, and will conclude on Friday, 19th October followed by an awards ceremony & celebration.
Many Asian countries have found profitable niches beyond sun, sea and sand in sports tourism, a phenomenon that rakes in USD 600 billion every year globally.
Chairman SriLankan Airlines, Nishantha Wickramasinghe said, ¡°Many countries in the Far East and South Asia have identified the potential in Sports Tourism, Golf in particular as a means to attract high-end tourists, and have made vast investments to develop supporting facilities. Although, Sri Lanka is still in its infancy as a Golfing destination, events such as the SriLankan Golf Classic will help market and position the country in the international Golf community.¡±
Moreover, Sri Lanka is positioning itself to become the most preferred tourist destination in South Asia. The country is an amazing discovery of natural beauty, wildlife and ocean life, ancient history, rich cultural heritage and sizzling Asian cuisine. As the national carrier, SriLankan has a key role to play in promoting the country for all its colourful diversities and in bringing tourists, especially leisure travellers and holiday makers to experience the destination. The airline has sponsored many international sporting events, like golf, surfing and rugby football.
¡°The SriLankan Golf Classic has been one of our most successful events in the past, attended by many international golfers and we are excited to relaunch it. We will continue to develop it further in the coming years attracting more numbers, with the aim to contribute to the national goal of increasing high end tourism,¡± added CEO of SriLankan Airlines, Kapila Chandrasena.
Around 130 Golfers are participating from the airline¡¯s network of countries in Europe, Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent and the Far East.
The event is backed by a number of top organisations, with the Principal Sponsor being Rolls-Royce. President, Rolls-Royce South Asia, Kishore Jayaraman said, ¡°Rolls-Royce has a history of supporting SriLankan sporting events and we are delighted to be associated with this event, particularly this year, as we celebrate 50 years of providing engines to power aircraft operated by SriLankan Airlines and its predecessors Air Ceylon and Air Lanka . This long-standing relationship continues to flourish today and Rolls-Royce looks forward to supporting both Sri Lanka and SriLankan Airlines into the future.¡±
Chief Officer of Dialog Enterprise, Jeremy Huxtable said ¡°We are pleased to partner SriLankan Airlines in this event which will see golfers from around the globe and Sri Lanka teeing off and vying for honors. The association of the brand with the exacting disciplines and precision of the game are key synergies for us and mirror our continuous endeavors to provide best in class to our enterprise customers. We take this opportunity to wish all parties involved including the players and organizers all the very best for the tournament and beyond.¡±
Other event sponsors include, Lufthansa Technik, Dialog Axiata PLC, Premadasa Gem & Jewellery Pvt. Ltd, Lanka Sportreizen (LSR) and Gold FM.
RCGC, is an 18-hole golf course bestowed with the prefix, ¡®Royal¡¯ by King George V in the 1920¡¯s, and is the oldest golf club in Sri Lanka, and the second oldest Royal Golf Club outside United Kingdom. Players can enjoy the lush landscaping, tranquil atmosphere, a colonial club house with an extensive display of historic golf memorabilia, restaurant, coffee shop and bar in the country¡¯s busiest city.
Recently, the airline introduced two events to its golfing calendar. The Touch¨¦ Golf League held in December 2011, brought in veteran golfers from all parts of India and the SriLankan Airlines¡¯ Asia Pacific Senior Masters Championship held in February this year was the country¡¯s first Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour. The event drew 60 senior golfers, including professionals such as Mike Harwood, former USA PGA Tour cardholder and Thailand¡¯s Jamnian Chitprasong.