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Second Shangri-La Hotel in Hambantota

4 October 2011 05:38 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A second five-star Shangri-La Hotel is coming up in Hambantota at a cost of US$120 million or Rs.13 billion in a chain of hotel projects that have been approved by the government, Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakashman Yapa Abeywardana said today.

The project comprising 50 villas will be constructed in addition to the 500 room five-star hotel project at the Galle Face Green in Colombo. The Shangri-La Hotel chain in Hong Kong will thus invest a total of US$ 470 million in Sri Lanka on just two hotel projects.

The Deputy Minister said the lands for the hotel projects are either state land obtained on 90 or 30-year lease or outright purchase from private land owners. For example the Shangri-La Hambantota Project is coming up on leased out state lands and on private lands purchased outright from owners.

The Deputy Minister said the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) had given the green light to 18 new hotel projects comprising 3,598 rooms to be constructed at a total investment of US$1,110.35 million or some Rs.116 billion in the next two to three years.

He said 11 out of the 18 projects are five-star, two four-star and the rest are three-star projects. The hotel projects are widely spread out to benefit people in all districts.

“In addition to these major projects comprising three-star to five-star class rooms, hotel construction in the tourism sector is in progress in earnest countrywide. By August 31 this year we have approved a total of 153 hotel projects in 17 districts at an investment of US$ 1,464.85 million or Rs.151 billion. The number of star class rooms will be increased by 9,385 after the completion of these projects,” in the next few years,” Mr. Abeywardana stressed.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka Tourism Project Manager Nimalka Morahela said if Sri Lanka was to exploit the full benefits in the tourism sector following the dawn of peace the number of hotel rooms had to be increased to a minimum 35,000 from the present 15,000.

“The number of rooms available at the moment is sufficient only to cater to about 700,000 tourists. The government aims to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016 and if we are to meet that target we need another 20,000 rooms by then,” Ms. Morahela emphasised.

She said the tourism sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country at 35 percent a year. Tourist arrival stood at 537,787 in the first nine months of this year recording a 35 percent growth over that of last year. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)
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