Free at last of civil war, Sri Lanka is aiming to triple tourism numbers over the next five years to 2.5m, it was revealed at HICAP Update in Singapore. A big focus will be the European market. “For us one European is as good as 3 to 4 Indians due to the length of stay,” said Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing Hotels, who added that Jetwing will open six new hotels over the next three years – part of a looming room boom for the island nation.
Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotel Group, said the Sri Lankan government has given approval for 153 hotels with 9385 rooms to be built over the next 3-4 years. This is a massive increase considering total total stock currently sits at 14,714, concentrated in Colombo City, Greater Colombo and the southern coastal regions.
He said the Sri Lankan hotel market is dominated by regional operators. The two largest are John Keells and Aitken Spence. International brands such as Anantara, Shangri-La, Four Seasons, Movenpick and Mariott are starting to take an interest. Minor has two Avani Hotels in Sri Lanak at Bentotya and Kalutara.