Sri Lanka Spence to put US$78mn in hotels

12 Jul

July 12, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Aitken Spence group is planning to put 78 million US dollars in to the leisure sector after a war ended in Sri Lanka with new hotels in the south western coast being started first, an official said.

“We envisage a post-war investment around 9.0 billion rupees (78 million US dollars) given the opportunities that we have,” Aitken Spence director Gehan Perera told a forum organized by Acuity, an investment bank.

A 30-year war which had hamstrung tourism ended in May 2009, and arrivals are up over 40 percent this year.

Aiken Spence owns or operates 27 hotels with 2,020 rooms in Sri Lanka, Maldives, India and Oman.

The firm will refurbish and expand a 94-room hotel in Kalutara, formerly known as Golden Sun which it only managed at first but has since taken full control after a Singapore based shareholder sold out.

A hotel in Beruwala is being done up and will be relaunched as Heritance Mahagedera in early 2011 positioned as a 64-room specialized Ayurveda (a traditional South Asian healthcare system) resort.

Its premium hotels, branded Heritance, includes a 5-star resort next to a lake in Kandalama in central Sri Lanka, a former tea factory in the central hills and a beach resort in Ahungalle in the south western coast.

Perera said a 10 acre land next to Heritance Ahungalle was slated for development. Earlier reports have said the group was planning a venture there with the Six Senses leisure group.
“We have another seven acres next to Heritance Mahagedera in Beruwala. This is also under discussion,” Perera said.

“In Nilaweli (in north eastern Sri Lanka) we have a little over 100 acres. It is also on the drawing board. We are looking at a fairly integrated development there.”

Perera said the group was looking at Yala in the deep south of the country, where a popular national park is located and was also scouting for more opportunities in the north. In addition to Nilaweli it was also looking at more projects in eastern Sri Lanka.

The government recently gave land to developers in Pasikuda and another tourism zone in Kuchchaveli has also been opened.

As seen on Lanka Business Online on 12 July 2010. Click – http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/fullstory.php?nid=169865000

Media Release – 22 July 2010

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