Acorn Travels emerges as new aviation and travel conglomerate

Recently-established Acorn Group has emerged as the new aviation and travel conglomerate in Sri Lanka following the acquisition of Hemas Holdings’ outbound travel, destination management and aviation services businesses via management buyout.

Acorn Group encompasses multiple businesses and leading international brands in the travel and aviation industry. The group is headed by an experienced team of professionals focused on providing unparalleled service excellence to complement the evolving travel and tourism landscape.

Aspiring to reach new heights in the travel and aviation industry, Acorn offers a range of products and services under three verticals – Aviation Services, Destination Management and Outbound Travel. 

The dynamic group of industry professionals leading the Acorn Group into the future comprises Malinga Arsakularatne, Darshana Perera, Harith Perera, Dushy Jayaweera, Suranjith De Fonseka and Hussain Habeeb.

Commenting on the birth of the organisation, Acorn Group CEO Malinga Arsakularatne said: “The senior management invested in an 80% stake in the organisation in March this year. Until then we have been a subsidiary of the Hemas Group. We liken Hemas to a mighty oak tree which symbolises strength, longevity and goodness. We represent the Acorn seed which separates from the oak tree and develops its roots to embark on a bold new journey of growth fuelled by travel and aviation expertise, business expansion and diversification. In pursuing our growth, we rely on a well-grounded work culture that continually aspires to keep learning, think boldly and lead change in order to stay relevant to our environment and evolve with our customers.”

Acorn Aviation is in the forefront of airline representation with several international airlines from different parts of the globe having both an online or offline presence in Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives.

“With a reputation for providing outstanding services to our Principals in Passenger and Cargo Sales and Airport Supervision, we are a key player in the General Sales Agency landscape. This sector comprises a multitude of leading international airlines and with our experience in Sri Lanka it has enabled us to grow regionally with a network of partnerships in Thailand and the Maldives,” Arsakularatne added. 

Acorn Travels (formerly Hemas Travels), an IATA-accredited travel agency, is trusted for its distinctive capacity in creating experiences around the globe, offering packaged and customised travel solutions in both leisure and corporate travel. As a pioneer in the travel industry, Acorn Travels prides itself in providing comprehensive travel solutions including both global and domestic airlines, cruise lines, coach tours, Euro Rail, visa consultations and lounge bookings. 

“Most notably, we represent Royal Caribbean Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity X Cruises and Globus Family of Brands which includes Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon Waterways,” said Arsakularatne.

Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka, formerly known as ‘Hemtours,’ is the destination management arm of Acorn Group and is a pioneer in the industry. The company changed its brand name from ‘Hemtours’ to ‘Diethelm Travel Sri Lanka’ in 2008, subsequent to forming a strategic alliance with Diethelm Travel Group. Today, Diethelm has paved its way as one of the premier destination management companies in Sri Lanka.

“Focused on serving a diverse array of tour operators across the globe, by providing quality driven, personalised travel experiences to individuals, groups, corporate and the MICE sector; we also manage Diethelm Travel the Maldives operation, a leading inbound operator in Maldives” he added.

“As we expand our footprint regionally and move into new territories, we pledge our commitment towards curating seamless experiences for our clients, while leading the industry forward towards the new age of travel. We understand that our biggest resource as a business is our employees who come from diverse backgrounds. We believe that a passionately engaged team will deliver memorable personalised experiences to our customers,” Arsakularatne said.

With an experienced, diverse and skilful team, Acorn is in the process of diversifying into several new business areas.

As the first step, Acorn Group recently acquired a 40% stake in Asia International Academy Holdings Ltd. (AIA), a leading provider of education and education-related services in Sri Lanka.

AIA’s portfolio includes ACCA, CFA, CPA and exclusivity in providing education for Sri Lanka Institute of Credit Management in Sri Lanka. AIA is also the exclusive agent for the Canadian University Application Centre in Sri Lanka and Maldives and makes university placements across the world with over 2,000 universities and colleges. AIA is also a Becker Professional Education Global partner for Sri Lanka and Maldives. 

In addition, Acorn Group plans to leverage its core competencies by offering villa owners sales and marketing services, which include a spectrum of activities from online and offline sales support to social media management and branding.