07th April 2011, www.island.lk, By Harischandra Gunaratna
For the first time in history, the Federal Government of Germany has seconded and appointed Sri Lankan-born Nihal Samarasinghe for the position of Consul for Sri Lanka in Rheinland Platinate. Samarasinghe is a successful businessman in the hospitality industry in Europe and has been living in Germany for the past four decades.
He is the Chairman and the Managing Director of four hospitality related companies based in Frankfurt. He recently took control over a boutique hotel by the name of City Plaza in the metropolitan area of Frankfurt which will be branded as a Clarian Collection Hotel.
He is a product of St Joseph’s College, Colombo, and after migrating to Germany, he graduated from the famous Heidelburg Hotel School.
He is a proven financial wizard and has held senior management positions in institutions such as the Holiday Inn World Wide (Europe) and the Canadian Pacific Hotels (EMEA).
Prior to embarking on his own ventures in Hotel Management and Ownership and Consulting Services, he held the position of Vice President of Finance and Internal Audit for Europe, Middle East and Africa for Ramada International, and was instrumental in bringing the Ramada brand back to Sri Lanka. Today there are three Ramada hotels in Sri Lanka, located in Colombo, Kalutara and Katunayake.
Samarasinghe speaking to The Island Financial Review said, "With the boom of tourism, the peace dividend, and the vision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ramada International has already started to evaluate a few projects in Sri Lanka as the environment is quite conducive for investment".
With his new appointment as Honorary Consul for Rheinland Platinate, and tourism being close to his heart, he has taken on the challenge to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination within the German market.
With the government’s decision to do away with PR Agencies and handle tourism promotional activities through the Sri Lanka Missions, Samarasinghe expressed confidence that he could make a greater contribution to the cause and sees a golden opportunity to stimulate the German markets.
Prior to this, he has held the position of Honorary Ambassador of Tourism Promotions for Sri Lanka in Germany and in addition to his current involvement, he is also committed to future enhancement of bi-lateral relations between the two countries. Rheinland Platinet being one of the most affluent states with it’s seven regions in Germany, is home to the manufacture of Opel to mention a few, well known for its finest quality wines, Metal and Ceramic, Pharmaceutical industry etc., and there are ample opportunities for bilateral promotion of trade.
Furthermore, he is a popular figure amongst the Sri Lankan community in Germany and has been instrumental in organising a number of cultural and community based activities to bring harmony between the three Diaspora communities in Germany. The most recent such event he organised was the "Sri Lankan Dinner Dance" at the Intercontinental Hotel, Frankfurt, which was a resounding success, attended by over 350 Sri Lankans and Germans.
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