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Sri Lanka tourism in top gear

Sri Lanka will be forecasting a return to double digit growth in tourism arrivals…

Sri Lanka will be forecasting a return to double digit growth in tourism arrivals when it makes its presence felt at London`s World Travel Market in November.

Recent refurbishments, the opening of new coastal properties, keen investment interest from big players in the international hospitality industry and a positive tourism outlook are all strong indicators that Sri Lanka is back in business.

We are delighted to hear that Sri Lanka is back on top form, said Fiona Jeffery, Group Exhibition Director for World Travel Market. I understand that the return to a positive trend has been gathering pace throughout 2005.

Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) Chairman, Mr Udaya Nanayakkara, said: It was a tragic year for us in 2004, but tourism is an extremely resilient industry and we are working hard to ensure that the buoyancy experienced up until the final days of last year will return in the shortest time possible.

World Travel Market will play a strategic part in our turnaround.

Only 48 of Sri Lanka`s 248 star-class hotels were damaged by the tsunami. Of these, 31 have already been repaired and are fully operational and a further 10 are being totally refurbished, and will be ready by the beginning of the winter season in November 2005.

The most recent high-end property scheduled to re-open for business is Apa Villa at Thalpe Beach, which will reopen on October 1 following an extensive makeover.

A brand-new, luxury four-suite villa, called Saffrons Beach Villa, is scheduled to open on December 1 this year. Situated just metres from the Indian Ocean at Habaradua , the villa will provide a stunning private retreat for up to eight people.

Construction has begun on the Hyatt Regency Colombo, the latest international hotel chain to invest in Sri Lanka`s future as an up-market tourist destination. The project is scheduled for completion by December 2008, at a cost of about US$100 million.

The 43-storey Hyatt Regency building, set on prime land on Galle Road, in the heart of Colombo, will house both the Hyatt Regency and luxury apartments.

Sheraton, part of the giant Starwood Hotels and Resorts Group, is also moving ahead with its plans to establish its luxury brand name in Sri Lanka. The Colombo property will be constructed on three acres of land – near the International Cricket Stadium – with an initial investment of more than US$25 million. It will be a fully-fledged business hotel with 300 rooms and modern conference facilities.

Luxury international hospitality brand, Banyan Tree, will develop a new lifestyle concept in the capital, Colombo. Developed under the company`s Angsana brand – The Angsana City Club & Spa – and located at the up-market Crescat City mall in the centre of Colombo, the luxury spa is scheduled to open later this year.

Banyan Tree currently operates the 77-room Deer Park Hotel in Giritale in the Cultural Triangle, and the company is actively seeking other investment opportunities on the island.

New boutique hotel developments opened in 2005

  • Amanwella – Tangalle
  • Amangalla – Galle

Extensively refurbished properties to re-open in 2005

  • The Kandalama Hotel, located within the island`s Cultural Triangle, near Sigiriya Rock Fortress will re-open on December 1, 2005.
  • Apa Villa Thalpe

New developments scheduled to open in 2005

  • The Fortress – The Per Aquum Resort & Spa venture, located on the southern coast near Galle, is scheduled to open later this year.
  • Galle Face Hotel – The Regency – will be open for business on August 15, with the official opening in November 2005
  • Saffrons Beach Villa

Refurbishments/re-opening in 2006

  • Triton Hotel, Ahungalle, on Sri Lanka`s south coast is scheduled to re-open on January 15, 2006
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