Cinnamon Clinches the Prestigious PATA Gold Award for Heritage and Culture


Marks consecutive PATA Gold win to power Sri Lanka’s tourism revival

22nd July 2019, Colombo: Cinnamon was recognized by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) for a PATA Gold Award for the significant cultural impact made together with the Chitrasena Kalayathanaya and in partnership with the John Keells Foundation for the Guru Gedara Festival. Cinnamon will be presented with the Gold Award for Culture at the gala awards ceremony set to take place in Kazakhstan during the highly anticipated PATA Travel Mart 2019 in September this year.

Taken up as a non-commercial venture under the social connect vertical of Cinnamon comprehensive sustainability approach – the Guru Gedara Festival was Sri Lanka’s first immersive traditional performing arts experience. Realized through the collaboration with John Keells Foundation and the long-established Chitrasena Vajira Dance Foundation (CVDF), the 4-day festival was held at the Chitrasena Kalayathanaya – Colombo from 30th August – 2nd September 2018, and mirrored the ancient village concept of community spaces dedicated to the learning and teaching of various traditional performing arts.

“We are grateful for playing our part in the efforts to conserve and promote a founding pillar of Sri Lanka’s unique experiential tourism offering,” commented Nadija Tambiah, Head of CSR and Executive Vice President John Keells Group. “We understand that community engagement and community commitment is critical to the conservation and promotion of Sri Lanka’s culture. We are confident that this recognition, along with the results and awareness generated through the Guru Gedara Festival sets precedent for local tourism industry leaders to take action in preserving Sri Lanka’s cultural identity, uncompromising in the face of global tourism demands.”

Speaking on this award, Heshma Wignaraja, Director of CVDF and conceiver of the Guru Gedera Festival stated “We are delighted that our partner Cinnamon has won this prestigious award from PATA, in recognition of their support for the traditional arts and artistes in Sri Lanka, and for their efforts to bring the Guru Gedera Festival to life.  With this type of global recognition, we hope the Guru Gedera Festival will continue to be a vibrant platform to preserve and showcase our cultural identity to both our own countrymen and to visitors from abroad.”

The PATA Awards 2019 attracted 198 entries from 78 organizations and individuals worldwide. An independent judging committee consisting of 15 senior executives from the global travel, tourism and hospitality sectors selected the winners. In an official announcement released by PATA, CEO of PATA, Dr. Mario Hardy added “I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to all the 2019 Grand and Gold Award winners, as well as all of this year’s participants for their submissions. I look forward to celebrating the accomplishment of this year’s winners who truly represent the values of the Association in working towards a more responsible travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region.

As most destinations experience a waning of links to cultural roots, it was imperative to support the revival of origins pertaining to perfoming arts and create deeper awareness. With the objective of preserving Sri Lanka’s cultural identity, and with the potential for local art forms to be upheld within the experiential tourism offering, the festival paid homage to over 30 masters (gurus) of indigenous arts across the island. An entire day of the festival was dedicated to teachers and students of traditional art forms across schools and universities in Sri Lanka, with the opportunity of a lifetime to engage with gurus for more in-depth knowledge and insight.

Through initiatives such as the Guru Gedara Festival, Cinnamon continues to promote Sri Lanka as a high-value tourism destination by fostering more local engagement in tourism development. Post-festival endorsements and patronage by participants are hinting at a promising revival of Sri Lanka’s traditional performing arts.


About Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the first premier real estate development of its kind in Sri Lanka. A “city within a city”, this iconic project will redefine Colombo’s skyline and deliver a vibrant lifestyle experience at every touch point. Set to be the heartbeat of the city whilst making its mark as Colombo’s lifestyle capital, the property will feature an 800-roomed luxury “Cinnamon” hotel, an array of entertainment facilities, premium residential apartments, retail and entertainment mall, state-of-the-art office spaces, and many other attractions to set stage as the entertainment hotspot in the Indian Subcontinent. The development’s iconic design by Cecil Balmond will span across 4.5 million square feet and is envisioned to be the epicenter of modern South Asia., Cinnamon will be the city’s ultimate lifestyle and entertainment hub. The pricing for the residential apartments starts from USD 400,000. For further information contact +94-112-152152 or email


About PATA

Founded in 1951, PATA is a not-for-profit membership association that acts as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organisations, comprising 98 government, state and city tourism bodies, 19 international airlines and airports, 91 hospitality organisations and 70 educational institutions, as well as over a hundred young tourism professional (YTP) members across the world. The PATA network also embraces the grassroots activism our 36 Chapters and 20 Student Chapters across the world. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 36 local PATA chapters worldwide, while hundreds of students are members of the 20 PATA student chapters globally. Visit for more information.